Let's get the name straight first. United Kingdom is okay. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the proper name, and they are all about proper. First little surprise, Great Britain or Britain are both wrong. Great Britain is actually the main island. Not the nation.
It's a constitutional monarchy, with a queen, but actually ruled by the Parliament, much like our House of Representatives and Senate, and the Prime Minister. Sixty million people live there, and the G-D-P per person is just over $25,000.
Making considerably more than that, Prime Minister Tony Blair. He's been in power about seven years now. Born in the mid-1950's in Edinburgh, Scotland, his father was a politician, but had to leave public life after a stroke. Some say that motivated Blair to excel in government.
The hot topic in the old country, no surprise, is the war in Iraq. Blair strongly supported President George Bush, and caught a lot of flack during the fighting. It's not over. He's now caught between the Bush Administration's hard line on rebuilding, and the European try for a piece of the rebuilding pie.
There's also a little bad blood between the President and Prime Minister. Blair wanted to visit British troops over Christmas, but sources say the American Administration didn't want that trip to steal any thunder from President Bush's visit to Baghdad.