Today, we will have a brief geography lesson about the United Kingdom (UK). The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The capital is London, which is in the South East of England.
Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales. Great Britain and Northern Ireland make up the United Kingdom. The British Isles are made up of the above but also include Ireland (not a part of GB or the UK), the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, etc.) and the Isle of Man.
Today we are going to talk about the UK General Election. Voters will go to the polls on Thursday 7th May 2015. On the same day local elections will also take place in many, but not all parts, of the UK.
There are 650 parliamentary seats up for grabs. Each seat is created from 650 constituencies. These are spread right across the UK. Their size varies, as each constituency is based on a certain number of people. Thus in London there are many MPs while in Scotland the areas for each MP in the countryside is huge, due to people not living near each other.
I love London! - That’s what the T-shirt says in the souvenir shop in Oxford Street. It’s what the tourists like to buy when they visit London.
People from all around the world love to visit London. It’s a great city. Many like to go on a red double decker bus or ride in a black London taxi. Others use the London Underground.
A majestic sea of red poppies now surrounds the Tower of London in London. The display called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ is in the Tower of London moat. It marks the First World War centenary.
Thousands and thousands of people have visited the display, by artist Paul Cummins, with huge queues forming; such has been the popularity of it. All four sides of the dry moat surrounding the fortress are now blanketed in a sea of scarlet red.
London / Tower of London / Poppy Display
In the old days right across Britain there was the end of term or Christmas school disco. Today, thousands of schools in Great Britain put on the High School Prom for year 11 students as a reward for completing their GCSE’s. These 16 year old students will then go on to take their A levels, leave school to go to college or start work.
The High School Prom idea is based on the American-style High School Prom, which is actually geared for older 18 year old students. In Central Europe 18 year old students do a similar such thing in February by attending a Vienna style Ball.
Category: School / High School Prom / Teenagers
Today, let’s talk about the world famous Notting Hill Carnival in London. Traditionally it is held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The annual event attracts more than one million visitors and has over 40,000 volunteers.
The huge street carnival has been running since 1964. It allows London’s Afro-Caribbean community to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. The carnival is an amazing array of sounds, colourful sights and social solidarity.
The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest celebration of its kind in Europe. Visitors can see the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street carnival. They can also see the many vibrant costumes the dancers will wear.
Category: London / Notting Hill Carnival / Tourism
Want a mortgage in Britain? If you apply for one now you are likely to be asked some new bizarre questions! This is because the UK property market is overheating. There is a ‘super bubble’ in the London area.
The tsunami like effect is rippling outwards, right across the South East of Britain. Its effect is pushing property prices up. London has seen prices increase in the last year by approximately 17%. Year-on-year prices rose across the UK by an average of 8%. Prices are expected to increase another 10%.
Category: Economic / House Prices / Mortgages
May Day traditions in Britain include Morris dancing, the crowning of the May Queen and Maypole dancing.
Morris dancers normally perform on May Day. These are men wearing folk costumes and bell pads on their shins. They use sticks, swords and handkerchiefs that maybe wielded by the dancers during their dance.
Category: May Day / Tradition / Britain
The writing is on the wall in the UK for free-if-incredit banking. Several banks have recently mulled the idea of gradually ending this idea. The reason being they need to refinance themselves.
The Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Ross McEwan said recently it was only a matter of time before “free banking” ended. The chairman of Barclays said two years ago that he agreed “in principle” with ending the practice.
Category: Business / Banking / Free-if-in-Credit Banking
British banks are to cut thousands of jobs and close hundreds of bank branches. The huge shake up is a result of them being allowed to get too big. The devastating 2008 financial crisis saw two of the biggest UK banks taken over by the government because of the losses they incurred.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), that is 81% owned by the government, is expected to axe 30,000 jobs this year. The bank will withdraw from risky business and severely cut its international division. Its new Chief Executive Ross McEwan aims to decrease the RBS Group headcount by a quarter over the next 3-5 years.
Category: Business / Economics / Banking