Yesterday, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland received news that, by tomorrow, the nation will have a new prime minister: Home Secretary Theresa May, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The new prime minister is expected to take office sometime Wednesday, after meeting with Queen Elizabeth and being invited to govern.
It has been noted that after E.U. Referendum polls closed in the U.K. in June, searches for “What is the EU?” continued to climb, as reported by NPR.
“But if you judge a country’s interests only by prevalent Google searches, it was after the polls closed when British voters started to think seriously about the implications of their choice,” NPR wrote.
Interesting then were the patterns of traffic that emerged as news spread that Theresa May would become the new prime minister of “England.” At the height of interest in the topic, searches asking who the “new prime minister of England” was topped those asking who the “new prime minister of UK” was almost eight to one, as reported by Google Trends.
It has been noted that referring to the prime minister of England or the prime minister of Great Britain is incorrect. England is a country within the U.K. Great Britain is made up of the island that includes Wales, Scotland, and England. The U.K. includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales, as reported by the Oxford Dictionary.
So, correctly, Theresa May should be referred to as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Why is it then that the majority of people, both in the U.K. and globally, search for “new prime minister of England?”
The Oxford Dictionary notes that Great Britain is sometimes “used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom.” As England is the largest country in the U.K., both by population, which it claims 86 percent of, or 58 million people, and geographic area, which it claims 57 percent of, 50,301 square miles in total, as reported by Brilliant Maps, this may be the cause of what appears to be a majority of people in the U.K. searching to find out who the next prime minister of England is, when technically, such a person does not exist.
The reason that people in the U.K. search for “England” over “UK” may be related to the fact that they are such a dominant force within the kingdom. London is reported to be the home of the majority of searches asking for the new prime minister of “England,” which may suggest something about how the English themselves perceive their role within the U.K.
Further, each of Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland have first ministers, while England does not. Referring to the prime minister of Scotland would likely prompt a demand for further explanation from many listeners, while the intent of a speaker referring to the prime minister of England would be readily understood. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon leads Scotland, First Minister Carwyn Jones leads Wales, and First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness lead Northern Ireland.
The new prime minister of the U.K., Theresa May, certainly faces many challenges in guiding the nation’s economy into its split with the European Union. Going into the E.U. Referendum vote, May sat firmly in the “remain” camp. Observers have made light of the fact that she has been nominated to carry out a plan that she did not support in the first place.
May spoke about entering office during “difficult and uncertain economic and political times” and the “need to negotiate the best deal” for the people of the U.K. as they prepare to leave the European Union.
[Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images]