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UK Politics

The Northern Ireland Assembly has 108 elected members known as MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly ). The UK government kept the power to suspend the Northern Ireland Assembly if the political leaders no longer agreed to work together or if the Assembly was not working in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland. This has happened several times.

Towns, cities and rural areas in the UK are governed by democratically elected councils, often called local authorities. Many councils representing towns and cities appoint a mayor who is the ceremonial leader of the council but in some towns a mayor is appointed to be the effective leader of the administration.

Most of the money for the local authority services comes from the government through taxes. Only about 20% is funded through 'council tax'. It applies to all domestic properties, including houses, bungalows, flats, maisonettes, mobile homes or houseboats, whether owned or rented.

It's the task of judges (who are together called 'the judiciary') to interpret the law, and the government may not interfere with their role. Often the actions of the government are claimed to be illegal and, if the judges agree, then the government must either change its policies or ask Parliament to change the law. Judges cannot, however, decide whether people are guilty or innocent of serious crimes. When someone is accused of a serious crime, a jury will decide whether he or she is innocent or guilty and if guilty, the judge will decide on the penalty. For less important crimes, a magistrate will decide on guilt and on any penalty.

The police have 'operational independence', which means that the government cannot instruct them on what to do in any particular case. But the powers of the police are limited by the law and their finances are controlled by the government and by police authorities made up of councillors and magistrates.

Quango is short for QUAsi Non-Governmental Organization. Quasi (the 1913 Webster's Dictionary):
As if; as though; as it were; in a manner sense or degree; having some resemblance to; qualified; -- used as an adjective, or a prefix with a noun or an adjective; as, a quasi contract, an implied contract, an obligation which has arisen from some act, as if from a contract; a quasi corporation, a body that has some, but not all, of the peculiar attributes of a corporation; a quasi argument, that which resembles, or is used as, an argument; quasi historical, apparently historical, seeming to be historical.
Citizens of the UK, the Commonwealth and the Irish Republic ( if resident in the UK) can vote in all public elections. Citizens of EU states who are resident in the UK can vote in all elections except national parliamentary (general) elections.

The public can listen to debates in the Palace of Westminster from public galleries in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. You can either write to your local MP in advance to ask for tickets or you can queue on the day at the public entrance. Entrance is free. Sometimes there are long queues for the House of Commons and you may have to wait for at least one or two hours.

The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth, which currently has 53 member states. Most of the Commonwealth members are once part of the British Empire. Across the world, many former U.K. colonies use English as a major language, and their standard resembles the British standard , so called 'Commonwealth English'. Commonwealth English is not the official or most widely used language in some of the Commonwealth members, but it's extremely important in commerce and government — as is the case in Nigeria, Pakistan, and India. which is the second-most-populated country in the world.


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Panic or panick

There is only one spelling for panic; the verb is inflected 'panic, panics, panicked, and panicking’. The form panick is used for progressive tense, past tense and past participle. We don't write panick today, though English speakers from a few hundred years ago might have (in the same way they might have written musick).

When the alternate spelling “panick” is used for the past participle: "I panicked last night at the disco." When it’s use for progressive tense: “Invariably, when markets are panicking, they sell the stocks quickly.”

It's the rule for root words ending in "c" is that you have to add “k”, so the spelling is related with the pronunciation. If we don't add the <k>, it looks as if the <c> has to be pronounced /s/. If the "k" was not there, “panicing” would look like the word which is supposed to be pronounced as if it is ended in "sing," while “paniced” would be pronounced like “panised”.

The same would …

Penny Hang

In Victorian times, many people flocked into the city, the cheap houses were badly built, cold and damp. In London, as many as forty people could have been found living in a tiny terraced house, with ten, or more, people in a single room.

Unable to find rooms, many lived in cellars, under bridges, or even in sewers. Homeless people or drunks out on the street could hire a 'penny hang'. This was a space on a thick rope. Two hooks fixed in the walls,  ropes strung in parallel from one side to another at about shoulder height. You would enter the penny hang, after paying a penny. There was no room to lie down. You hung across it. In the morning, the proprietor could come down and untie one end of the ropes, so that the clientele who had not managed to wake up and stagger out already would collapse together in a heap on the floor.


"PEMDAS" - parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, is the "order of operation" in a single math expression.