The difference between the UK, England and Great Britain explained

January 31, 2011

After my last encounter with the “UK Border Agency” at London’s Heathrow Airport I wrote a heartfelt post “Why I cant’t go home to England anymore“. Here’s a definitive and much more entertaining explanation of the accumulated complexities and differences between the UK, Britain and England.



Gwyneth Paltrow’s curious connection in Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting

January 9, 2011

This story hardly needs dramatizing, but leave it to the British press to find an angle.

The US was seized over the weekend by a fierce debate over whether inflammatory rightwing rhetoric was to blame for a shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, that targeted congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Six people were killed, including a nine-year-old child who was born on September 11, 2001.

Giffords, 40, remains critically ill in hospital after being shot through the head but is expected to live. Last year she criticized Sarah Palin for putting her and 19 other Democrats on a hitlist of districts, each shown as being in rifle crosshairs.

Britain’s Daily Mail thought this was far too mundane a news story for its celebrity-addled readers.  It managed to find a much better news angle that connected the incident through six degrees of separation to…Gwyneth Paltrow, an American movie actress of questionable talent.

What’s the British connection? She is married to a member of Coldplay, who is British. Scoop!

It reminds me of my stint in Britain’s provinces as a newspaper reporter. A traveling circus came to town and a trapeze artist fell to her death during a performance. The local newspaper managed to skew local interest with the immortal headline: “Local Crowd Fallen Into”.

Nothing has changed.


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