World Country United Kingdom Great Britain

About the world country United Kingdom or Great Britain, its location, size, population, and who is in power.

NATIONS OF THE WORLD

UNITED KINGDOM (OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND)

Location: An island off the northwestern coast of Europe. Great Britain comprises England, Scotland, and Wales. Size: 94,226 sq. mi. (244,046 sq. km.). Population: 55,717,000 (85% English, 10% Scottish, 5% Welsh).

Who Really Rules: The United Kingdom, which includes Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has a mixed economy in which the government provides extensive social and health services as well as welfare grants. There is government ownership of major industries that have proven unprofitable, and England remains home to multinational corporations with investments throughout the world, particularly in the former British Empire. In the elective parliamentary system, power has alternated between the Conservatives (Tories), who favor lower taxes and reduced government economic activity, and the Labour party, which is backed by the active Trade Unions Congress.

In 1979 referendums, proponents of greater autonomy in Scotland won a slight majority of those voting, but "lost" because that represented only a third of the electorate. In Wales, supporters of autonomy won about one fifth of the votes. In Northern Ireland, British military and government funds are being used to defuse the ongoing civil war between the minority Catholics, most of whom prefer association with Ireland, and majority Protestants.

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