Friday, April 23, 2010

The Scottish, Welsh and Irish Nations, 1

The term 'Great Britain' is geographical expression and refers to the island off the coast of Western Europe. When many people say 'Britain', they usually mean the political unit, the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, the principality of Wales and the province of Northern Ireland. Some people mistakenly call this political unit 'England' and in so doing displease the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish who do not want to be mistaken for being English. In fact, the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish have very strong national feelings themselves and some of them object to being ruled from London.

The head of the United Kingdom is Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second. However, her role is mainly ceremonial and she does not take part in the day-to-day running of the country. The real power lies in the hands of the Prime Minister, the government and parliament. The parliament consists of the democratically elected House of Commons, and the House of Lords. Anybody over the age of 21, who is not a lord (an aristocrat), can be elected to the House of Commons (the commoen people are called commoners). The House of Lords is not elected, but draws its members from the aristocracy; if you are the eldest son of a lord, you will inherit the title and membership of the House of Lords. The parliament sits in the House of Parliament in London.

England. England has the largest area and the English are the largest nationality within the United Kingdom. They are so numerous that many people often forget that there are other nationalities as well.

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