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View Full Version : 'Sight-seeing' is not a good enough reason to visit the UK?


BoyBach
Jun 20, 2007, 07:36 AM
'Ridiculous' visa rulings set out

UK tourist visas are often denied to would-be visitors because they "plan a holiday for no particular purpose other than sightseeing", a report says.

Others were turned down because they had never previously taken any foreign travel or could not speak English.

The "ridiculous reasons" for rejecting visas were set out in a report by the independent monitor of UK visas.

Linda Costelloe Baker's report said that despite such flaws there had been "significant improvement in quality."

But she said entry clearance officers could use "some ridiculous reasons when refusing visa for tourist visits".

She said a common reason for refusal was "you wish to go to the UK for a holiday. You have never previously undertaken any foreign travel before and I can see little reason for this trip".

In her report she says "this is a common reason for refusal but there was a first time for everyone who has gone abroad on a holiday and not having done it before is an acceptable reason for travel".

Another reason to reject a tourist visa was "you plan a holiday for no particular purpose other than sightseeing".

On the use of that reason, she says: "But that's what the UK is famous for, sights worth seeing."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6768405.stm


The travel industry spends a small fortune advertising the UK as a travel destination and this is the 'help' that they get.

The UK really is the home of the 'jobsworth'.

elfin buddy
Jun 20, 2007, 10:08 AM
That is a shame, but not entirely unexpected with rampant terrorism and whatnot :rolleyes: :(

srobert
Jun 20, 2007, 10:22 AM
I wonder when we can say we're at a point when terrorism prevention efforts cause more damage (economically, socially, culturally) than terrorism itself. Slippy terrain.

CortexRock
Jun 20, 2007, 10:35 AM
The UK really is the home of the 'jobsworth'.

I *think* you'll find that's Belgium, actually ;)

nbs2
Jun 20, 2007, 10:40 AM
Once Scotland gets the freedom it demands and so richly deserves, the UK won't be worth much more than a 12 hour layover...

elfin buddy
Jun 20, 2007, 10:43 AM
I wonder when we can say we're at a point when terrorism prevention efforts cause more damage (economically, socially, culturally) than terrorism itself. Slippy terrain.

I would argue that we reached that point long ago.

P.S. What part of Montréal are you from?

edesignuk
Jun 20, 2007, 11:01 AM
Once Scotland gets the freedom it demands and so richly deserves, the UK won't be worth much more than a 12 hour layover...What? :confused:

killerrobot
Jun 20, 2007, 11:08 AM
It sounds like some hate going on by the customs people. Much like what would happen between US and Brazil or Venezuela or ESPECIALLY Cuba. Probably just thought their "sightseeing" was going to lead to immigration.
I hope "visiting friends" will get me in okay next visit. ;)

nbs2
Jun 20, 2007, 11:09 AM
What? :confused:

Sorry - I just haven't been too impressed with England. I suppose an arguement could be made for the Lake District, but elsewhere just didn't call to me. Some of the people there are great, no doubt, but flying somewhere to sight-see just the people is kind of creepy.:)

Now Scotland....that's the place to be.

CortexRock
Jun 20, 2007, 11:09 AM
It always makes me laugh that so many Scots hate the English... whereas the English couldn't care less!

And to think, people said Mel Gibson couldn't do the role of William Wallace justice in Braveheart - looking at his recent antics, he's got it down to a tee - he's a drunk, violent, racist.

Back on topic: I have worked in the UK civil service and nothing, but nothing surprises me anymore. That said, I suspect there are quite a high number of people who apply for a temporary visa, then 'forget' to go home - so maybe coupled with the inability to speak English, this is a good way of preventing illegal immigrants draining the country's resources.

mkrishnan
Jun 20, 2007, 11:11 AM
It always makes me laugh that so many Scots hate the English... whereas the English couldn't care less!

Isn't that like saying Black people hate White America, but White America could care less? There's a definite oppressed-oppressor directionality here.... Of course it's the Scots who hate the English.

Anyway, back on topic redux, that's interesting. Britain is a popular tourist destination for Americans. I know I would like to spend more time there. But I suppose, not if I'm not wanted. :p

srobert
Jun 20, 2007, 11:16 AM
I would argue that we reached that point long ago.

P.S. What part of Montréal are you from?

I agree we migth have gone too far but it's kind of a controversial opinion.

Always nice to meet a fellow Montrealer on the forums. I live about 600 m. from this thing (http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=45.558505,-73.552244&spn=0.004733,0.012134&t=k&z=17&om=1).

skunk
Jun 20, 2007, 11:25 AM
Once Scotland gets the freedom it demands and so richly deserves, the UK won't be worth much more than a 12 hour layover...I expect you could "do" Paris in an hour, too. I mean, once you've seen the Eiffel tower, what else is there? Might as well get a postcard and save on the flight.

CortexRock
Jun 20, 2007, 11:27 AM
Isn't that like saying Black people hate White America, but White America could care less? There's a definite oppressed-oppressor directionality here.... Of course it's the Scots who hate the English.

Anyway, back on topic redux, that's interesting. Britain is a popular tourist destination for Americans. I know I would like to spend more time there. But I suppose, not if I'm not wanted. :p

One could argue that 'real' oppression of the Scots by the English stopped several hundred years ago, so not really a fair comparison.

As a born-bred Englishman, I have no axe to grind with the Scots - if independence is their goal, then I say good luck to them.

nbs2
Jun 20, 2007, 11:29 AM
I expect you could "do" Paris in an hour, too. I mean, once you've seen the Eiffel tower, what else is there? Might as well get a postcard and save on the flight.

Paris takes a day and a bit - one for the Louvre and the rest to see the rest of the city.

Now that Brits are pushing back on my comment, I have to admit that I have a special place in my heart for Scotland and Scottish independence. I'm sure that I will enjoy the UK more after Holyrood gets full and autonomous control and the Queen leaves the Stone of Destiny alone.

BoyBach
Jun 20, 2007, 11:46 AM
I'm sure that I will enjoy the UK more after Holyrood gets full and autonomous control and the Queen leaves the Stone of Destiny alone.


Isn't that the title of the new Harry Potter book?

:p

killerrobot
Jun 20, 2007, 03:18 PM
I'm pretty sure the comment about Paris in an hour was somewhat sarcastic (my sarcasm meter has been going nuts since I've been reading threads on macrumors--I'm not sure what's wrong with it) but I think you could see "the essential touristy thing" of any city in an hour. As mentioned,Pairs-Eiffel tower. Others not mentioned London -- of course Big Ben. NYC -- Empire State Building. Madrid -- the Prado.
I can totally see why they would reject visas for sight seeing. They just didn't want them wasting their time. I'm sure they sent them back home with a picture of Big Ben at least.

Sun Baked
Jun 20, 2007, 03:21 PM
Yes, non-english speaking people walking around the UK taking pictures of spots tourists flock to and spend money on, can be frightening. :p

Tanglewood
Jun 20, 2007, 03:22 PM
Anyway, back on topic redux, that's interesting. Britain is a popular tourist destination for Americans. I know I would like to spend more time there. But I suppose, not if I'm not wanted. :p

I don't think a visa is required if you are traveling from the US to UK. All you need is a passport, though I may be wrong.

CortexRock
Jun 20, 2007, 04:09 PM
Signage is important on a visit to any strange new land... here's one that will definitely be useful to anyone coming to the UK:

Clicky. (http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41057000/jpg/_41057388_disapointingruins.jpg)

Courtesy of the good ol' BBC and a book called Signs of Life.

notjustjay
Jun 20, 2007, 11:49 PM
Something like that happened to my family a few years ago. We drove from Toronto to Niagara Falls (Ontario) and then crossed the border near the falls into New York State. When the customs official asked what was the purpose of our trip, my dad answered, truthfully, "sightseeing". But the way the customs guard reacted, he might as well have said "we're planning to bomb the bridge ahead". We had to open all our doors, he checked inside the vehicle, etc, etc.

After a little bit of driving around in Niagara Falls (NY), we realized why he got suspicious. :P We then proceeded to our real reason for entering the US: shopping.

noaccess
Jun 21, 2007, 07:10 AM
This may seem ignorant of me, but the kind of attitude officials displayed in this case seems kind of arrogant.

I, myself haven't had as bad a experience getting visas as what's described in the article. I was at the Düsseldorf British.. Council? was it... 4 years ago... waited 6 hours in a crummy room with 40 other people during the summer without any kind of air conditioning until being interrogated, and then finally getting the visa stamped... but I went to the UK for English summer courses and what matters is that I got through.

The other issue was landing in Stansted and the border official giving me the most disgusted look when he saw I had a Romanian passport. Of course, I looked back at him, raised an eyebrow, and then I could see on his face a small hint of... [uh oh]. Luckily, the people I met after arriving were really cool.

mkrishnan
Jun 21, 2007, 09:13 AM
I don't think a visa is required if you are traveling from the US to UK. All you need is a passport, though I may be wrong.

Ahhh, benefits of supposedly not being on the axis of evil? :D

Trowaman
Jun 21, 2007, 09:32 AM
Did a May-mester class there and 3 weeks of pretty much just sightseeing the class was a bit much. Seeing Big Ben and Parliament kinda wasn't as impressive after the first week of seeing it nearly every day. Nice town though, too expensive, however great food.

Jumping into the Scottish bit, I was there for a political class and got to meet with Angus Robertson (guy who ran election for SNP in Scottish parlaiment) and Johnathan McTurland (guy who ran the Labour party campaign in Scottish parliament election). Between the two of them and everyone else of political authority I met along the way I can walk away convinced that the general concesus among the higher ups is Scotland should be an independent country now in about 10 years. However, Labour is highly against this move because it will take seats away from their party almost exclusively, specifically that of Gordon Brown. But, after hearing the whys and reasonings from both sides on whether Scotland should seceed, I can say I support it.

But what do I know, I'm just some stupid poly sci majoring Texan looking in on the situation.

garybUK
Jun 21, 2007, 09:37 AM
There's not even that much to see here, why would they bother?

Queso
Jun 21, 2007, 09:40 AM
Now that Brits are pushing back on my comment, I have to admit that I have a special place in my heart for Scotland and Scottish independence. I'm sure that I will enjoy the UK more after Holyrood gets full and autonomous control and the Queen leaves the Stone of Destiny alone.
I don't think you understand. If Scotland goes independent, they keep Brenda ;)

I'm quite looking forward to Scottish independence actually. I like the idea of England and Wales keeping the £22bn a year we're currently forced to give them.

guifa
Jun 21, 2007, 09:47 AM
Isn't that like saying Black people hate White America, but White America could care less?
What America are you living in? I see people of both sides hating the other side, and even within their own side. Thankfully it's the minority but still.

Honestly though, I wonder what the point is of denying those people their visas if people from the US can just buy a ticket on a whim and fly over there thanks to the visa waiver. Or anyone else from Europe who with the exception of the Irish don't speak English and may or may not be fluent in it, but of course are just as allowed in.

Silencio
Jun 21, 2007, 11:28 AM
After a little bit of driving around in Niagara Falls (NY), we realized why he got suspicious. :P We then proceeded to our real reason for entering the US: shopping.

I suspect that anyone that says "shopping" instead of "sightseeing" as their reason for visiting a country would be welcomed much more warmly. After all, shopping is good for the local economy and helps shore up the tax base, and most governments are all for taking in extra revenue.

miloblithe
Jun 21, 2007, 11:33 AM
Paris takes a day and a bit - one for the Louvre and the rest to see the rest of the city.

The idea that any city, let alone Paris, takes a day and a bit is a reflection of your lack of interest, not anything within Paris itself.

PlaceofDis
Jun 21, 2007, 11:35 AM
wow. this is a bit surprising imo.

i'll be going across the pond later this year. i guess i'll need a better reason than sight seeing. :p

Eraserhead
Jun 21, 2007, 12:55 PM
I don't think you understand. If Scotland goes independent, they keep Brenda ;)

I'm quite looking forward to Scottish independence actually. I like the idea of England and Wales keeping the £22bn a year we're currently forced to give them.

Scotland gaining independence in the days of the EU is practically irrelevant, but it will make them poorer as they won't get as much money from the English. I'm not totally convinced of their viability as a country as they have almost as much land as England but only 5% of the people. If they gain independence I think it'll reduce British power as a whole, but given our latest forage in Iraq that's probably a net positive.

Though they certainly aren't a "repressed minority", pretty much every other possible group is considerably worse treated that the Scots in the UK.

Ugg
Jun 21, 2007, 01:09 PM
Scotland gaining independence in the days of the EU is practically irrelevant, but it will make them poorer as they won't get as much money from the English. I'm not totally convinced of their viability as a country as they have almost as much land as England but only 5% of the people. If they gain independence I think it'll reduce British power as a whole, but given our latest forage in Iraq that's probably a net positive.
.

Uh, Scotland is a net contributor to the UK treasury, England is not. Admittedly, it's the oil revenue that makes the difference but if that were to stay in Scotland, it would make a huge difference.

Eraserhead
Jun 21, 2007, 01:19 PM
Uh, Scotland is a net contributor to the UK treasury, England is not. Admittedly, it's the oil revenue that makes the difference but if that were to stay in Scotland, it would make a huge difference.

I'm not hot on the oil revenues, but if you assume Dynamicv's figure of Scotland, Wales (and I assume) Northern Ireland getting £22 billion from England. Seeing as Scotland is a lot bigger than Wales and Northern Ireland I'd expect Scotland to get at least 50% of that which is around £11-£12 billion which is coincidentally the same amount of money as England gets from the oil revenues, so the Scots are hardly being conned out of any money at all ;).

Also the oil will run out in the next 30 years or so, so then Scotland wouldn't then have any income at all from the oil.

Queso
Jun 21, 2007, 02:25 PM
Uh, Scotland is a net contributor to the UK treasury, England is not. Admittedly, it's the oil revenue that makes the difference but if that were to stay in Scotland, it would make a huge difference.
Not any more. The estimated £13bn 2006 receipts from North Sea oil stated by Gordon Brown in the 2005 budget was later confirmed by the Treasury as only £10.5bn. This despite the rising price of crude. North Sea oil output is down 35% from its 1999 peak and expect to fall another 10% off that peak by 2010. Basically the large fields are drying up and all the new finds are much smaller.

Scotland's budget is currently dependent on subsidy from the rest of the UK, a situation that would take major economic growth to reverse. If the Scots want independence then fair enough, but they should know it's going to cost them.

FleurDuMal
Jun 21, 2007, 02:29 PM
Uh, Scotland is a net contributor to the UK treasury, England is not. Admittedly, it's the oil revenue that makes the difference but if that were to stay in Scotland, it would make a huge difference.

Well, even if that is still true (though I doubt it), what happens if, sorry, when, the oil runs out?

weckart
Jun 21, 2007, 05:27 PM
Another complication would be continued membership of the EU.

Spain (Basque Country and lesser still Catalonia) and France (Corsica) would be opposed to the break up lest it encourage similar events within their boundaries. At the very least, they would almost certainly place great obstacles towards an independent Scotland's application to join the EU. That means no regional aid, either, for the more depressed areas.

nbs2
Jun 21, 2007, 07:59 PM
Another complication would be continued membership of the EU.

Spain (Basque Country and lesser still Catalonia) and France (Corsica) would be opposed to the break up lest it encourage similar events within their boundaries. At the very least, they would almost certainly place great obstacles towards an independent Scotland's application to join the EU. That means no regional aid, either, for the more depressed areas.

Perhaps, but Scotland is a good bit more Euro-friendly than the UK/England has been. Holyrood's willingness to work with the EU is more akin to Dublin than Westminster.

Abstract
Jun 21, 2007, 09:14 PM
The idea that any city, let alone Paris, takes a day and a bit is a reflection of your lack of interest, not anything within Paris itself.

Or ignorance.

England is great. It's interesting and great. Scotland is wonderful too, but lets not get carried away and say Scotland is worth seeing, while England isn't.

Others were turned down because they had never previously taken any foreign travel or could not speak English.

That is truly, honestly retarded. Imagine if other countries had the same attitude towards English tourists. After all, what languages do people generally speak in England: English and......chav? ned?

How are you going to get into Japan if you only speak chav?

guifa
Jun 21, 2007, 09:37 PM
Another complication would be continued membership of the EU.

Spain (Basque Country and lesser still Catalonia) and France (Corsica) would be opposed to the break up lest it encourage similar events within their boundaries. At the very least, they would almost certainly place great obstacles towards an independent Scotland's application to join the EU. That means no regional aid, either, for the more depressed areas.

Spain's primary profitting regions are CA Madrid, Cataluña, and the Basque Country. The regions who would be most hurt would be places like Extremadura or the Castillas, which are funded more by the three aforementioned regions. If Cataluña and the Basque Country broke off (which honestly, wouldn't make a huge social division, given the existing single currency, autonomous education and police systems, autonomous this and that, etc) then it would be left to places like Madrid and maybe to some extent A Coruña and the Islas to bring in money. Industry is building in Valencia but at the moment it wouldn't be enough to offset the loss of Cataluña or the Basque Country.

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 03:36 AM
Cataluña
That's bizarre. I'm so not used to seeing that spelling I actually had to check whether it was right. Even the Castillian speakers in the region spell it Catalunya after how it's spelt in Catalan. It makes complete sense that it would be spelled that way in Castillian though. I just never thought about it.

Aprendo algo nuevo cada dia :)

weckart
Jun 22, 2007, 04:12 AM
Perhaps, but Scotland is a good bit more Euro-friendly than the UK/England has been. Holyrood's willingness to work with the EU is more akin to Dublin than Westminster.

Please don't kid yourself with the "regions=good, England=bad" myth with regard to Europe. At the very least remember that Westminster incarnate, Tony Blair, and his very Eurosceptic successor, Gordon Brown, are Scottish and that the Scots have often shaped and run the affairs of the UK over the centuries. This fact is dawning on the more romantically minded Scots as they see that Holyrood is every bit as incompetent and unrepresentative as Westminster. Garbage in, garbage out.

The Anti-EU-As-Superstate mindset is very much entrenched throughout the UK. Some parts of the UK benefit through regional aid and programmes, others suffer. Try asking the Scottish fishermen what they think of the EU fisheries policy, for instance.

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 04:24 AM
Even the Castillian speakers in the region spell it Catalunya after how it's spelt in Catalan.

All the Spanish speakers in the region would be 90 native born catalanes and would mostly likely spell it catalunya -- except for the fact that until 2006, catalán wasn't recognized by the government as an official language and therefore couldn't be taught in schools, used on official signs etc. Good news, both variations of the spelling sound exactly the same.

Not trying to troll or hate... just find it fascinating that you learned it as catalunya. It doesn't even show up as a word in official Spanish dictionaries. Props to you for knowing the catalán spelling though. :)

EDIT: Be careful with the word Castilian as well, as it "technically" refers to anyone born in either the castilla la mancha or castilla y león provinces and the dialect of Spanish they speak there. And in this particular case, the catalanes would probably not like you calling them castellanos.:)

And back to all the Autonomy being sought by everyone. Sure they want more freedoms (like being able to teach in catalán) but succession would never happen because they'd lose too much. It's only hardcore zealots that want complete independence.

And back to the OP, I'm sure UK isn't the only country that does this frequently. Spanish customs hassles anyone 1st, not speaking Spanish and 2nd even more so if you're not from a EU country or the US and 3rd even more so if you're not white. I hate to say it, but its true.

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 04:47 AM
Not trying to troll or hate... just find it fascinating that you learned it as catalunya. It doesn't even show up as a word in official Spanish dictionaries. Props to you for knowing the catalán spelling though. :)
I only learned to speak the language through spending so much time in Catalunya (Cataluña ;)), so I'm sure my Castellano is peppered with all sorts of little dialectic traits picked up along the way. I'm grateful for the correction :)

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 05:13 AM
I only learned to speak the language through spending so much time in Catalunya (Cataluña ;)), so I'm sure my Castellano is peppered with all sorts of little dialectic traits picked up along the way. I'm grateful for the correction :)

I figured that had to be the reason.

And dialects are the linguistic spices for languages. You can appreciate it more when you know about them. So once again, props to you. :)

yetanotherdave
Jun 22, 2007, 05:23 AM
Ahhh, benefits of supposedly not being on the axis of evil? :D

But going UK to US you need VISA's biomatric passports, the works.[1]
I guess that ass licking Blair did over the past 10 years just made the US government look down on UK citizens even more.

[1] does that mean all brits are considered a terrorist threat by the US gov??

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 05:28 AM
[1] does that mean all brits are considered a terrorist threat by the US gov??

Come on get real. Even if you're an US citizen and you've don't got your lips on Bush's buttocks you could be considered a terrorist.;) It's nothing against the Brits.

CortexRock
Jun 22, 2007, 05:53 AM
[1] does that mean all brits are considered a terrorist threat by the US gov??

It's the Hollywood thing - anyone with an English accent is automatically considered to be a mustache-twiddling, bowler-hat-wearing villain. :D

yetanotherdave
Jun 22, 2007, 06:49 AM
It's the Hollywood thing - anyone with an English accent is automatically considered to be a mustache-twiddling, bowler-hat-wearing villain. :D

Am I still a terrorist if I wear my flat cap and courdoury's instead?

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 07:06 AM
Am I still a terrorist if I wear my flat cap and courdoury's instead?

Please refer to my previous post...I think being an oil sheik or something helps disregard the "terrorist" label.:o

They're never going to let me back into the States again if they read this post.:rolleyes:

guifa
Jun 22, 2007, 08:27 AM
All the Spanish speakers in the region would be 90 native born catalanes and would mostly likely spell it catalunya -- except for the fact that until 2006, catalán wasn't recognized by the government as an official language and therefore couldn't be taught in schools, used on official signs etc. Good news, both variations of the spelling sound exactly the same.
[...]
And back to the OP, I'm sure UK isn't the only country that does this frequently. Spanish customs hassles anyone 1st, not speaking Spanish and 2nd even more so if you're not from a EU country or the US and 3rd even more so if you're not white. I hate to say it, but its true.
I'm pretty sure Catalan was made official before 2006? The Constitution of 1978 recognises Castilian Spanish as the official language of Spain, but also allows for co-official languages if the autonomous communities so designate them. I'm not sure of the year, but I'm pretty sure Cataluña would have very quickly afforded itself Catalan as a co-official language. Even disregarding that, Spain submited its translations of the European Constitution in Castilian, Galician, Basque, Catalan, and Valencian, the lattermost of which was identical to the penultimate, but only because the constitutions of Cataluña and Islas Baleares called the language Català but of Valencia called it Valencià. That was in 2004.

Anyways, I'm moving to Spain for work in September, and let me tell you, the Consulate General in New Orleans is AWFUL. They hardly ever respond to e-mails, and if you call, the person you need to talk to is always "busy at the moment" so we should call back again later. On top of it, they wanted us to make two separate trips to New Orleans (which is either a 6 hour drive, a $200 dollar 5.5 hour flight, a $600 2.5 hour flight, or a $100 12-hour bus-ride away from me), once to simply drop off my application in person, and once to pick up my visa, in person, which is ridiculous. Not even the US is that Draconian. It got so bad the other people who had been hired in my job got so frustrated that the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencias had to step in on our behalf and get the New Orleans Consulate General to play nicely like the rest of the other Consulates. Thankfully the Consejería de Educación in the Comunidad de Madrid and the MEC have been far more helpful. Now if I can just find my passport so I can actually apply for this visa...

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 08:50 AM
I'm pretty sure Catalan was made official before 2006? The Constitution of 1978 recognises Castilian Spanish as the official language of Spain, but also allows for co-official languages if the autonomous communities so designate them. I'm not sure of the year, but I'm pretty sure Cataluña would have very quickly afforded itself Catalan as a co-official language.

The problem with your claim is that the Spanish government didn't count catalán as a language. It wasn't even really considered a full dialect until recently. The co-official language of Cataluña was English. Also, to further the problems, valenciano is a whole other entire dialect that is barely getting its due recognition at the moment. It is not the same as catalán. You would severely get an earful from either region claiming they are the same.

I've lived in Spain for many years and in fact I was in Barcelona during the elections last year, so I'm sure catalán was NOT an official language. This year was also the first year there was an option for those that wanted to to take university entrance exams and exit exams in catalán, because it was finally made official last year.

Sure many people speak it, but it doesn't make it official. Spanish in the US is only an official language in Florida I believe, even though there's up to 80% hispanic population in several border states and where Spanish is a dominate language over English in many cities.

Good luck with your visa application and all that stuff. It will be a long and painful process, but just have lots of patience. You'll get use to it all sooner or later. Just don't stress out about it. The Spanish don't.:)

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 09:10 AM
The Estatut of last year was the first time Catala was given preference to Castellano as the language for Government business. In all other areas of life the two languages were given equivalence, as in the 1979 version.


1. Catalonia's own language is Catalan. As such, Catalan is the language of normal and preferential use in Public Administration bodies and in the public media of Catalonia, and is also the language of normal use for teaching and learning in the education system.

1. The language of Catalonia is Catalan.
2. The Catalan language is official in Catalonia, as also is Spanish, which is official throughout the Spanish State.
3. The Government of Catalonia will ensure the normal and official use of both languages, will take the measures necessary in order to ensure knowledge of them, and will create the conditions making it possible for them to achieve full equality in terms of the rights and duties of citizens of Catalonia.

Source (http://www.gencat.net/generalitat/cat/estatut/titol_preliminar.htm)

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 09:27 AM
Great find dyna -- I'm all straightened out now about the elections.:) However the "equivalence" of the two before that is still questionable. I guess I'm looking at officialness at more a linguistic approach than political. Got to hit the history books some more.

Back to the OP - it's funny people were rejected a visa because they didn't speak English when the UK doesn't have an "official" language -- nothing written into law I believe about English as the official national language?

guifa
Jun 22, 2007, 10:53 AM
The problem with your claim is that the Spanish government didn't count catalán as a language. It wasn't even really considered a full dialect until recently. The co-official language of Cataluña was English. Also, to further the problems, valenciano is a whole other entire dialect that is barely getting its due recognition at the moment. It is not the same as catalán. You would severely get an earful from either region claiming they are the same.

I've lived in Spain for many years and in fact I was in Barcelona during the elections last year, so I'm sure catalán was NOT an official language. This year was also the first year there was an option for those that wanted to to take university entrance exams and exit exams in catalán, because it was finally made official last year.

Sure many people speak it, but it doesn't make it official. Spanish in the US is only an official language in Florida I believe, even though there's up to 80% hispanic population in several border states and where Spanish is a dominate language over English in many cities.

California only just recently became a state with a majority minority population but it still doesn't remotely reach 80% Hispanic (Texas is 35% Hispanic, Arizona 26%, New Mexico 43%, California 35%, Florida 20%). Florida's only official language is English. There are only two parts of the US where Spanish is official (Puerto Rico and New Mexico), and even one of them is still debated as to whether it really is official (New Mexico). I find it hard to believe though that Catalán was never used in Schools (and even more unbelievable that English was coöficial in Cataluña??), since I've talked to numerous people my age who grew up being taught in Catalán, although this was in the Islas Baleares. Also it seems dynamicv has quoted the constitution for me re Catalán's status. Also in Cataluña is Aranés, which was made official in 1991 (Ley 16/1990 de 13 de julio, título I, artículo 2 §1, "1. El aranés, variedad de la lengua occitana y propia de Arán, es oficial en el Valle de Arán. También lo son el catalán y el castellano, de acuerdo con el artículo 3 del Estatuto de Autonomía de Cataluña.")

Whilst the Valencian/Catalonian peoples might disagree about the languages, their respective academies do not. The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua has stated that Valencian is the same language as Catalan, with simply a different historical name (thus equatable with about half the Spanish-speaking world calling their language "castellano" and the other half "español").

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 01:11 PM
California only just recently became a state with a majority minority population but it still doesn't remotely reach 80% Hispanic (Texas is 35% Hispanic, Arizona 26%, New Mexico 43%, California 35%, Florida 20%). Florida's only official language is English. There are only two parts of the US where Spanish is official (Puerto Rico and New Mexico), and even one of them is still debated as to whether it really is official (New Mexico).

Awesome info. thanks. I must have read that Florida was wanting to pass it, and assumed it passed. Stupid me. Also, I meant cities with 80% hispanic population, not states (sorry-I know you can't read my mind.):o

I also have lots of friends from Cataluña, my age who where educated in English. I believe this started because Spanish, according to my friends, although there was "equality" among languages, was being pushed more than catalán within schools. So schools rebelled, completely against Spanish and taught English, and made it an official language -word of mouth from my friends, guess they meant official for the school. As you can see, co-official (guess I over stepped on the English assumption, my bad) really meant nothing until more recently when the government could finally practice and write laws in catalán.

The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua has stated that Valencian is the same language as Catalan, with simply a different historical name (thus equatable with about half the Spanish-speaking world calling their language "castellano" and the other half "español").

According to the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, "Els diferents parlars de tots estos territoris constituïxen una mateixa llengua o sistema lingüístic." (page 15 in the gramática normativa valenciana) My valenciano isn't the best, but I'm sure that says the different speakers of the various regions your mention, form a linguistic system -- meaning they have similiar origins and therefore many similarities. It doesn't say they are the same. In fact it elaborates the differences on page 115, 137, 255, 357, and 366. Also, there is a complete other dialect in the Balearic Islands -- el dialecto balear, which is not the same as catalán.

There is also difference between castellano and español. Look up the definitions on DRAE (http://rae.es). It's not totally a "historical" concern. There's also a huge difference between calling something a dialect and a language. Something that even the best websites often confuse.

Also, Spain has a population of 40 million - basically the only country that would call it castellano (although not everyone does), leaving about 400 million calling it español (also not everyone does, seeing as how now hispano-american countries are now trying to give it their own names --Chile is trying to make it officially chileno. Of course I read that in the news as well so who knows whether to believe it or not. So all in all, I wouldn't exactly say half and half.

PS --I wasn't ever trying jump down anyone's throat or sound superior. Sorry if I came of that way. :)

Dagless
Jun 22, 2007, 02:57 PM
There's not even that much to see here, why would they bother?

You cannot say that and live around Manchester :eek: it's one of the best cities I've been in for diverse culture, varied architecture, great university and shopping. Then you have Wales less than an hours drive away, the Peak District (I live just on the edge of it), Lake District a bit further, the moors and the wilderness around it. It's fantastic up here. Makes me sad to leave it.

Not keen on the south though. I like the forests, but I'm a hill fan :D

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 03:10 PM
You cannot say that and live around Manchester :eek: it's one of the best cities I've been in for diverse culture, varied architecture, great university and shopping. Then you have Wales less than an hours drive away, the Peak District (I live just on the edge of it), Lake District a bit further, the moors and the wilderness around it.
Not to mention it's only six miles from Edgeley Park :)

Yeah, Manchester has a lot going for it. To be honest I'd rather be living there than London.

Dagless
Jun 22, 2007, 03:15 PM
And Lime (Lyme?) Park and all the rest. Chatsworth House melts me everytime I see it :)

What I like about Manchester opposed to anywhere else I've been is the huge number of landmarks and beauty spots with a population not too big to feel "full".

And another! Last time I went up to Saddleworth Moors, I descended into a little valley and just sat on a rock overlooking a brook. It's only about 15 miles from Manchester but it's utter silent and void of human touch. Soon as you ascend you can see the towers of the city down below. Beautiful.

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 03:18 PM
And Lime (Lyme?) Park and all the rest. Chatsworth House melts me everytime I see it :)
Lyme Park!!! Excellent!!! I suppose they no longer have the pulley slide. That thing was so cool back when I was younger. Like being on The Krypton Factor, only without that bloke from North West Tonight :D

Dagless
Jun 22, 2007, 03:21 PM
Speaking of which, I just googled Lyme Park and lolled at

http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~rd-mid/ppcomp.gif

Oh, and of course the town of Hadfield. When I first went there I was just in shock at seeing one of my fave comedies in the flesh and bone.

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 03:28 PM
Oh, and of course the town of Hadfield. When I first went there I was just in shock at seeing one of my fave comedies in the flesh and bone.
Were you.....local?

killerrobot
Jun 22, 2007, 03:34 PM
Yeah, Manchester has a lot going for it.

Yeah, like Manchester United. I'd die to see them play -- I mean if there were a riot and all at the game;) And I'm sure this is blasphemous, but I'd settle to see a game with Manchester City as well if I had to.

SMM
Jun 22, 2007, 03:42 PM
Sorry - I just haven't been too impressed with England. I suppose an arguement could be made for the Lake District, but elsewhere just didn't call to me. Some of the people there are great, no doubt, but flying somewhere to sight-see just the people is kind of creepy.:)

Now Scotland....that's the place to be.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but yours really pushes the limit. There are so many incredible places throughout the U.K. You must have been in one of those tour buses.

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 03:53 PM
Yeah, like Manchester United. I'd die to see them play -- I mean if there were a riot and all at the game;) And I'm sure this is blasphemous, but I'd settle to see a game with Manchester City as well if I had to.
You'd be the only one there if you went to see City. The news here is full of fans saying they've had enough and are staying away in future :)

Come to Edgeley Park. That's the real Temple of English Football.

Jaffa Cake
Jun 22, 2007, 03:55 PM
Come to Edgeley Park. That's the real Temple of English Football.He's right, you know – every other weekend it's full of wretched souls praying for salvation. :p

Queso
Jun 22, 2007, 04:06 PM
He's right, you know – every other weekend it's full of wretched souls praying for salvation. :p
I don't really have to say a word in response, do I? :D

Dagless
Jun 22, 2007, 06:15 PM
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but yours really pushes the limit. There are so many incredible places throughout the U.K. You must have been in one of those tour buses.

Or too young? I never cared for "sights" until I was 16 and went to the Isle of Mull with my aunt and uncle for a few days. It opened my eyes and I realised I had taken all my previously UK-based holidays for granted :o

psychofreak
Jun 22, 2007, 06:20 PM
Who cares about castles and stuff...we have the MacRumors picnic!

guifa
Jun 22, 2007, 07:45 PM
According to the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, "Els diferents parlars de tots estos territoris constituïxen una mateixa llengua o sistema lingüístic." (page 15 in the gramática normativa valenciana) My valenciano isn't the best, but I'm sure that says the different speakers of the various regions your mention, form a linguistic system -- meaning they have similiar origins and therefore many similarities. It doesn't say they are the same.
Actually it does. Mateixa means "same": "The different speeches of all these territories constitute a single language [Spanish: "una misma lengua", lit a same language] or linguistic system."

In fact it elaborates the differences on page 115, 137, 255, 357, and 366. Also, there is a complete other dialect in the Balearic Islands -- el dialecto balear, which is not the same as catalán.

There is also difference between castellano and español. Look up the definitions on DRAE (http://rae.es). It's not totally a "historical" concern. There's also a huge difference between calling something a dialect and a language. Something that even the best websites often confuse.
Exactly, Valencian/Catalan/Balearic = dialects of a single language whose name happens to be different in all regions, although Balearics, or rather the Ibizans as I've not spent much time in Menorca or Mallorca, have always told me they speak the Ibithenco dialect of Catalan.

Also, Spain has a population of 40 million - basically the only country that would call it castellano (although not everyone does), leaving about 400 million calling it español (also not everyone does, seeing as how now hispano-american countries are now trying to give it their own names --Chile is trying to make it officially chileno. Of course I read that in the news as well so who knows whether to believe it or not. So all in all, I wouldn't exactly say half and half.
Except that according to the Spanish Wikipedia http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagen:Castellano-Espa%C3%B1ol.png, in Latin America, Venezuela, Equador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina also use castellano as the name of their language. This of course isn't 100%, but neither is it for Mexicans called theirs "español". Based on the 2005 population estimates of each of the Spanish speaking nations, I totalled up 189.6 million calling it castellano, and 206.5 calling it español. That's close enough to half and half for me.

Anyways, back on top. Wouldn't a better reason for the British immigration folks to turn people down be because it's so expensive? I read that a tube ticket costs three quid? That's ridiculous, round trip anywhere would be roughly 12 bucks. Unless a tube ticket is good for say, like three hours for all forms of public transit, commuter train, metro, and bus. When I was in Edinbourgh they were charging about 22 pound for the quicky tour of the castle. Food wasn't as bad price wise, certainly not Parisian prices, but still not as low as German or Spanish. It's not just that the exchange rate is terrible, it's that there's no semblance of price parity.

SMM
Jun 22, 2007, 08:30 PM
Or too young? I never cared for "sights" until I was 16 and went to the Isle of Mull with my aunt and uncle for a few days. It opened my eyes and I realised I had taken all my previously UK-based holidays for granted :o

Many American visitors to the U.K. miss the experience. They go to the tourist attractions, and miss the wonder that is before them.

I have a sure-fire way to see the U.K. and really appreciate it.

1) Do your homework well in advance. Send away for an Ordinance Map so you can locate the places you wish to see, and plot the driving time, and distances between them. Allow yourself at least 1-2 days at each location.

2) Get a copy of "The Best bed and Breakfasts In The World" for the U.K. Find B & B's near each place you intend to go. B & B's allow you to actually meet people and learn about the local history and meet fellow travelers. From them you will receive a wealth of helpful information; the best local ale, marvelous places to visit, the best places to eat, etc. You may also meet future life-long friends, as I have done. Make your reservations before you leave!

3) Stay away from cities, except for day excursions. Spend your time in small rural towns. VISIT THE LOCAL CHURCHES. This is where much of the history is maintained. They are always open and I have never felt a visit was wasted.

4) Plan for, and take a few walks through the countryside. England has over 50,000 miles of walking trails. They were established before property ownership was established. The trails cross through private property, but the public has free right-of-way. Landowners must provide gates and maintain the trails. They are not allowed to discourage walkers in any way (dogs, bulls, etc).

5) Learn the customs before you go. Many Americans have a stereotype view of the English. They believe them to be distant, snobbish and cold. That is the exact opposite of the truth. They have what few Americans possess, good manners. There is an old saying, "The sun never sets on the British Empire". I have a newer version, "The sun never sets on an English friendship".

Some of my favorite places:

1) The small towns and villages of Hertsfordshire.
2) Northumbria - the beautiful rolling hills, small valleys, Hadian's Wall..
3) Cornwall - even with development, it is like stepping into a time-warp
4) North Sea Coast - take a long beach-walk from Sea Houses to Holy Island
5) York - you can spend days just walking the streets
6) Yorkshire Moors - an incredible place where history and fiction have become inseparable over the ages
7) Wye River Valley - beautiful and steeped in history. It is the boundary of the Forrest of Dean and Wales.
8) The Channel Coast - so many places to see - I spent an entire day at Hastings, walking the the battlefield of 1066
9) Coswolds - you could spend your entire vacation here
10) Bath - many tourists, yet it should not be overlooked.
11) Salisbury - an incredible place, especially for those who have done some homework

I could go on for a long time. The U.K. has so much to offer. Those who are planning a holiday there, do some research before you go.

Queso
Jun 23, 2007, 03:07 AM
Wouldn't a better reason for the British immigration folks to turn people down be because it's so expensive? I read that a tube ticket costs three quid? That's ridiculous, round trip anywhere would be roughly 12 bucks.
Although a zone 1 single ticket on the Tube now costs £4, you're missing an important point. England is far more that just London. London is a world city as well as the UK capital, therefore it's ridiculously overcrowded and priced accordingly. To see England you need to get outside of the M25.

As a comparison you can cross the whole of Greater Manchester from Trafford to Oldham for £3 on the Metrolink. Food and drink is also way cheaper than in the capital.

killerrobot
Jun 23, 2007, 04:17 AM
@guifa -- to stop hijacking this thread, I started a new one here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=3800973#post3800973)

Once again, my apologies to everyone that wants to talk about England for the previous interruptions. Should´ve done this sooner.:rolleyes:

Dagless
Jun 23, 2007, 05:07 AM
As a comparison you can cross the whole of Greater Manchester from Trafford to Oldham for £3 on the Metrolink. Food and drink is also way cheaper than in the capital.

Are you from Oldham? :eek:

Anyways - if you buy a DaySaver bus ticket you can even get from Woodford way up to Shuttleworth and Whitworth. People mock public transport in Britain, but at least it's fairly cheap and you can get pretty much anywhere.

guifa
Jun 23, 2007, 05:51 PM
Although a zone 1 single ticket on the Tube now costs £4, you're missing an important point. England is far more that just London. London is a world city as well as the UK capital, therefore it's ridiculously overcrowded and priced accordingly. To see England you need to get outside of the M25.

As a comparison you can cross the whole of Greater Manchester from Trafford to Oldham for £3 on the Metrolink. Food and drink is also way cheaper than in the capital.
Oh, I know England is more than London, in fact of the cities I've not yet been to in the Isles, London is at the bottom of my list. (Much like Paris was at the bottom of my France list until I unfortunately got stuck there on a layover. Four days of my life I want back) It's more that with the terrible exchange rate and lack of PPP, things are still quite expensive. But it is good to know that elsewhere the public transit rates aren't quite as high. I couldn't imagine paying £8 roundtrip, although I'm certain there are discounts for en masse tickets (Metro Madrid gives almost 40% off for buying 10 in advance, as such 0,60-0,65 € per trip, which makes it around a pound per round trip IIR my exchange rates correctly).

I much more of a small town person and if it weren't that it'd feel like a waste of going to places near big cities without going to certain places (the castles, museums, cathedrals, etc) I'd spend most all of my time much farther away from them. That's why I'm really looking forward to my job in Spain, since I'll be in a much smaller town and a good distance away from the city of Madrid (the job is in the CA de Madrid tho).

Southerner
Jun 23, 2007, 06:00 PM
raggedjimmi,

You've said you weren't keen on the South. I understand about London, it's kinda hellish there. But what about Gloucestershire's Cotswolds, Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Hampshire's New Forest - all beautiful to see!

I would have to say the South tends to get far better weather than up North anyway. I remembered having to travel up to Blackpool by train from Bournemouth all in a day which it was warm and sunny in Bournemouth then to arrive in Blackpool that it was bucketing down with rain and felt chilly!

I wouldn't call Saddleworth as beautiful as it's an infamous murder scene after all plus Manchester can get a tad grimy in the dark winter months anyway.

Queso
Jun 24, 2007, 03:40 AM
Are you from Oldham? :eek:
Wash your mouth out with soap!

Stockport :)

Dagless
Jun 24, 2007, 06:20 AM
raggedjimmi,

You've said you weren't keen on the South. I understand about London, it's kinda hellish there. But what about Gloucestershire's Cotswolds, Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Hampshire's New Forest - all beautiful to see!

I would have to say the South tends to get far better weather than up North anyway. I remembered having to travel up to Blackpool by train from Bournemouth all in a day which it was warm and sunny in Bournemouth then to arrive in Blackpool that it was bucketing down with rain and felt chilly!

I wouldn't call Saddleworth as beautiful as it's an infamous murder scene after all plus Manchester can get a tad grimy in the dark winter months anyway.

What I like about the south are the forests, which you don't seem to get much up here. We stayed in a campsite near London once (though that's a bit loose, it was way in the countryside), I forget exactly where, and it was really beautiful. Went on a walk and just got lost in this giant forest, when I got home there was a story about an old woman who saw a big cat in the area :D
And of course the extreme south, Cornwall and Devon with their lovely sparse villages. Haven't been there for many years though.
About the weather, I find the weather is just a little more dynamic up here because of the pennines. Some days we get hotter weather than the south, some days we don't. Earlier this year we had several days that had hot sun mixed with snow storms in the afternoon.
You're taking marks off Saddleworth because of the Moors Murderers? Regardless of what they did it's an astonishingly beautiful parish, seeped in history both good and bad.

Wash your mouth out with soap!

Stockport :)

Awesome :D