A cacophony of noise, crazy history, strange accents, words that are spelled differently from how they are pronounced, castles, palaces, narrow roads, rain lots of rain, 60 million people, over 150 languages being spoken, a monarchy, invaded by Danes, Norsemen, Irish, Normans, Romans et al…..this rather small geographic nation with a significant influence within the modern world is actually very confusing from the outset for a visitor to these shores.
So here are some basic basics for the beginner to this island in Europe, known affectionately as Old Blighty.
England is a country, so is Scotland, so is Wales and these three countries form what is known as Great Britain, adding Northern Ireland into the mix forms The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, often shortened to The United Kingdom or the UK. Now adding Ireland, (The Republic of Ireland or Southern Ireland or Eire) along with various territorial islands close to the coast of this island off the coast of mainland Europe forms The British Isles, although Ireland and the Irish do not always like the association with the word ‘British’, but that’s another story.
There it is in a nutshell, now don’t ask me why and how the monarchy works and who rules what, just know that will be explained in another blog post, but suffice to say that The Crown, an entity, which has Queen Elizabeth II as the sovereign head lacks real powers within the UK but does ‘ratify’ new Acts of Parliament which have been approved and put forward by the House of Lords and the House of Commons and kind of shares the Head of State with the Prime Minister, oh and the Crown does not rule over Ireland which is independent for almost 100 years and which is governed by its own parliament and with a President as the Head of State and which is remains part of the EU. The Prime Minister is the leader of the ruling party in the House of Commons.
London is the capital city of England and of Great Britain and of The United Kingdom.
You may think this is crazy and this is just the first blog post for the UK and complicated complexity will no doubt follow in future attempted explanations of my beloved birthplace, but it does somehow all make sense if you can connect the dots.