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Perching here and gathering my thoughts ...

England versus the UK versus Great Britain

18 May 2007 ~ 12:00

I thought I might write an entry just to clarify as some people always seem to always get confused with this.

BRITAIN = England (capital London), Scotland (capital Edinburgh) and Wales (capital Cardiff).

UNITED KINGDOM (which is short for "UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND" as it says on our passports) consists of England, Scotland & Wales plus Northern Ireland (capital Belfast).

Think of these four as countries but not nations. It's a bit like the US states. They're different but all under one national government and one passport. Scotland has a different legal system, prints its own paper money (but it is legal tender in the rest of the UK) and its education system is different. Northern Ireland also has some different laws. In Wales a lot of people speak Welsh rather than English as their native tongue, and in Wales you will see bilingual signs in Welsh and English.

The provinces of the UK also now have their own regional assemblies/parliaments. They can decide how to spend their money. For example, prescriptions cost 6.85 per item here (about $12), but Wales recently decided to make prescriptions free for everyone. And Scotland has made eye tests free. The only country of the UK that does not have its own regional assembly is England. There is one for London, but of course London is not the only city in England. Many English people think this is unfair.

I hope this helps to explain where I come from a little more clearly.



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