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 The United Kingdom

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AreYouAwake
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PostSubject: The United Kingdom   Wed 21 Apr 2010 - 16:16

Well, as you know, I live in Germany but I am originally from the United Kingdom.

Actually, I'm from Scotland. And being from Scotland, the most annoying thing is when people say England or the English and mean the UK. It drives us up the wall!!

So, let me me explain...

Great Britain = England, Scotland, Wales
United Kingdom (full name = The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) = England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The queen is the queen of the whole country and our government is based in London and rules the whole of the UK. However, there are local parliaments which decide over some issues such as education. In some sports, we compete as one country, in others, we are separate. The Union Jack is the flag of the United Kingdom but there are also four individual flags for the four countries that make up the UK. The capital of the UK is London. London is also the capital of England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own capital cities (Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast).

I come from Edinburgh and I think it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is so full of history and stunning buildings as well as being a great place to shop and go out. We have some of the best pubs in the UK. Plus we have our own dormant volcano called Arthur's Seat.

Some other favourite places of mine in the UK are:
London
The Lake District
St. Andrews
Loch Lomand
Oxford and Cambridge (the university buildings are really impressive)
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tetepion
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Wed 21 Apr 2010 - 16:59

Aaah thank you!
I really learned about the united kingdom
I would love to get there.
This would, in my opinion, a very nice experience!

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expatriatelover
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Wed 21 Apr 2010 - 17:28

Thanks a lot for letting us know more about your original country yay You're absolutely right to make it clearier in our mind about GB and UK 'cause it's always a bit confused for strangers we are.
As fas as I'm concerned, I've been in England with school 15 years ago and I have happy memories of that stay althought my host family wasn't terrible... sad2 But I confess my level of English wasn't that good aswell! grin Anyway, it's been great going in London, visiting Cambridge Universtity and eating Fish and Ships on Brighton's sea shore! smile

I am also a great lover of celtic cultures so that's why I would love going in Scotland! Hope you can tell us more about that!
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AshJ
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Wed 21 Apr 2010 - 17:45

Thanks for this thread Areyouawake it's indeed a really good idea to make things clearer about UK's situation :)

I've travelled three times to Scotland and have some friends there, and i know how much they hate when people mix everything up and call them "english" x) they even told me once "you're not speaking English here, you'll speak Scotish" because they wanted me to learn they're accent. What i have to say about Scotland is that it's the place where i've met the nicest people i've ever met so far ! Plus you're right Edinburgh is one the most beautiful cities i've ever seen too !
(well you should definetely make a Thread about Scotland ^^ in order to not mix everything !)

I just LOVE london too. My favourite place ever, everything feels so "right" in this city. You know like, you can do anything you want to, at anytime. Hmmm might sound stupid to say that but London is like Neverland for me, i really love the atmosphere of it. And you get to see so many different things, like Camden town, and then Brick Lane, which are poles apart. Well i love this city :)
i've been to Birmingham but i might say i was there only for a week and i don't keep a good memory. But i didn't know so much the place, there might be nice places to see when you know it.
i'd love to see Ireland now :)

And (i was thinking i would not say it but i can't control myself !) the only problem i have towards the UK, is (sometimes) the way of thinking. Let me make my statement clearer. I'm talking about Europe clearly. Well we all know that the UK doesn't want to adopt Euro. And i've been talking with a lot of English and Scotish people. First all Scotich people i know told me they wanted Euro because the pound for them was more an English symbol than a british one (so even less a Scotish one). But all the English people i know are really conservative about their currency. I mean i totally understand it, it's such annoying to change currency, and i liked our dear old Franc too, but i just think that when you "sign the contract" (you see what i'm meaning ?) to enter a supranational community as the European Union, we have to make concessions, it's the "bad part" about "living together" but it's the way to make it work, and make it right.
Anyway i don't want to be like too political about this, just wanted to say this :) it's only my point of view (and points of view i heard of british people i know) and i totally get people who thinks the contrary.
(hope i'm not too annoying with this sorryyyyy)

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AreYouAwake
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Thu 22 Apr 2010 - 7:31

I totally agree with you. Scotland is definitely more embracing of the euro and Europe than the English. I personally love the euro. It's so practical. To the extent that I often forget that some countries don't have it! This happens most frequently when I travel to Switzerland because it's just over the border.

The problem is, I think, that the UK is very proud of their history and culture and I think that there is still a lot of memories about the "British Empire". Also, the UK has very close ties to the US and I sometimes think that many people there would prefer to be the 51st state of the US than part of Europe!

Also, and this is something that also drives me mad, how many times do you see the UK listed separately to the rest of Europe? And I don't just mean by the Brits. Very often you see "UK and Europe" or "UK" and "Europe" separately (for example when selecting where you come from on forums, or surveys or whatever). I mean, come on, UK is part of Europe even if it's separated from the mainland by the channel.

Anyway, I shall start a new Scotland thread as suggested.
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songbird
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Thu 22 Apr 2010 - 15:24

And another thank you, AreYouAwake, for this post!

I've been to England and Wales several times and for a very long time it was the country I thought I was going to live in some day. Things have changed but the UK for me is still a wonderful place for holidays.
I just love English football (sorry, AreYouAwake!) and of course the music (I try to avoid the term "brit pop") - the fact, that the NME hypes a new band as "the best band of the century" every year really entertains me. cool
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AreYouAwake
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Thu 22 Apr 2010 - 15:32

songbird wrote:
And another thank you, AreYouAwake, for this post!

I've been to England and Wales several times and for a very long time it was the country I thought I was going to live in some day. Things have changed but the UK for me is still a wonderful place for holidays.
I just love English football (sorry, AreYouAwake!) and of course the music (I try to avoid the term "brit pop") - the fact, that the NME hypes a new band as "the best band of the century" every year really entertains me. cool

Oh, I love English football too. Scottish football is terrible. I mean, yes, I support the national team (which is pretty depressing) and I support Glasgow Rangers, but I take much more of an interest in the English league. "My" team Newcastle United just got promoted back to the Premier League (yay!). I just don't support the English national team but I do support some of the clubs when they play in Europe. It depends which club and who they're playing. And, as I say, I'm a huge Newcastle United fan grin
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songbird
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Thu 22 Apr 2010 - 16:16

Believe it or not but I'm also a huge supporter of Newcastle! That they've managed to get back to the Premier League is great but I've never had a doubt... :) Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to see the best goal getter ever (yes, I'm talking bout Alan Shearer) make a match but maybe I'll see him as coach some time in the near future.
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AreYouAwake
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Thu 22 Apr 2010 - 16:31

songbird wrote:
Believe it or not but I'm also a huge supporter of Newcastle! That they've managed to get back to the Premier League is great but I've never had a doubt... :) Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to see the best goal getter ever (yes, I'm talking bout Alan Shearer) make a match but maybe I'll see him as coach some time in the near future.

No way! You're starting to scare me... so many similarities jumping
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AreYouAwake
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PostSubject: Re: The United Kingdom   Mon 10 May 2010 - 8:22

Okay, so you may have picked up on the fact that the UK had a general election this week. And it's resulted in the first so-called "hung parliament" since 1974. This basically means that no party has won enough seats to have a clear majority.

And I'd now like to rant about the British voting system.

There are two main parties - the Conservatives (also nicknamed "The Tories") and Labour.
The third biggest party is the Liberal Democrats (LibDems)
We also have The Green Party and a few other smaller parties.

Now, the LibDems were growing in popularity over the course of the campaign and were expected to get over 25% of the vote. However, as the UK does not have proportional representation, that percentage means nothing really. The country is divided into "constituencies" and if, for example, Labour gets 15,000 votes in a constituency and the LibDems get 14,999, Labour wins that constituency and all the votes for the LibDems get lost. They count for nothing! Same obviously for all other parties.

So, the final constituency count for the three main parties looked like this:
Conservative - 306
Labour - 258
LibDem - 57

326 is needed for an overall majority.

But in percentage of votes in total throughout the country:
Conservative - 36%
Labour - 29%
LibDem - 23%

The irony is that the LibDems got more votes than last election but ended up with less seats.
Crazy system.
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