You might have heard...

that the date of the next general election in Britain is tomorrow, 7 May 2015.

Who do the British want to see in Downing Street? David Cameron who became Prime Minister in May 2010, leading a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government or Labour’s presidental candidate Ed Miliband?

Thursday has become the traditional day for general elections. In Britain they are normally held on the first Thursday in May every five years.

In a general election people can only vote to elect their local MP (member of parliament). 

That means there is normally a choice of several candidates in each constituency who will represent their local area or constituency in the House of Commons for up to five years.

Usually the political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons at a general election forms the new government and its leader becomes Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen, who is guided by constitutional conventions.

Election results are widely reported in the local and national media with many television and radio stations providing rolling coverage of the results as they are announced.

So, be all ears on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday to catch the latest results. Let us know what you think about the outcome of the general election.


General election – Bundestagswahlen

elect – wählen

vote – dafür sprechen,

choice of – Wahl von

constituency – Wahlkreis

be appointed by – ernannt werden

constitutional convention – Grundgesetz

rolling coverage – ununterbrochene Berichterstattung

be all ears – ganz Ohr sein


Would you like to become as remarkable ...

as Charles Darwin in your professional career?

Charles Darwin’s start in life was maybe not quite what you imagined. You might think he knew exactly how to begin his professional career and was a person who followed his parents’ educational recommendations and advice. No, not at all!

Darwin was the second youngest of six children and came from a long line of scientists. His father, Dr. R.W. Darwin, was a medical doctor, and his grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, was a renowned botanist. Darwin’s mother, Susanna, died when he was only eight years old.

It is safe to say that the young Darwin was a slow learner and was not inspired by his schooling. When Darwin was nine years old his father sent him to Revd. Samuel Butler's school, a boys’ boarding establishment, in Shrewsbury. When Darwin was sixteen (in 1825) his father, Robert, took him out of the school due to him not paying attention to his studies, getting poor grades and his excessive laziness.

Darwin left Butler's school as an entirely unremarkable student and none of his instructors acknowledged him as possessing any noteworthy abilities.

His father then sent him to a medical school. However, it became apparent that Darwin was (once again!) not taking his studies seriously.

The rest of his story we all know. In 1831, the HMS Beagle launched its voyage around the world with Darwin in tow. Over the course of the trip, Darwin collected a huge variety of natural specimens, including birds, plants and fossils. Through hands-on research and experimentation, he had the unique opportunity to closely observe principles of botany, geology and zoology. He began to develop a revolutionary theory about the origin and evolution of living beings that was contrary to the popular views of other naturalists. His new theories also conflicted strongly with the beliefs and teachings of the church.

So, to answer the lead-in question, one might really have to figure out or to "feel" what one is passionate about. What would you like to invest most time in? How would you like to spend your life? This true awareness will lead to your own personal satisfaction and will additionally inspire and benefit the environment and the people who surround you. So make it happen in your daily work!


remarkable - bemerkenswert

Scientist – Wissenschaftler

Botanist – Botaniker

by schooling – durch die schulische Ausbildung

poor grades – schlechte Noten

excessive laziness – ausgesprochen faul

unremarkable – unbeachtlich

acknowledged, to acknowledge – anerkennen, bestätigen

noteworthy – nennenswert

become apparent – offensichtlich sein

in tow – im Schlepp

hands-on research  – praktische Studien

unique opportunity – einzigartige Gelegenheit

conflict strongly with – standen stark im Konflikt mit

environment – Umgebung

surround - umgeben


Did you know that ...

the tartan has a long tradition?

 „Unter dem Schottenrock ist gar nichts, da ist nichts und da war nichts“, this is a song known by most Germans.

The song doesn’t only mention the Scottish tartan, it also refers to the clothing and appearances of people living in Bavaria, Bagdad or China. In fact, the first tartan patterns appeared in China and were found on the body of an ancient mummy dating from 3000 BC.

From the third century AD tartans have gained popularity in northern Europe. In Scotland tartans often had political significance, for example, following the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 when the Stuarts, who lived in exile, wanted to ascend the English throne. At this time George II (the English King) formed six "watch" companies to patrol the Highlands of Scotland. These Scottish soldiers were enrolled from the Campbell, Fraser, Munro and Grant Clans and wore the dark "Black Watch tartan" as a uniform; it was their job to control and police the rebellious Highlanders.

The international craze for tartan and the revival of many old tartans took place during the reign of King George IV and continued whilst Queen Victoria was on the throne.

Famous Scottish clans such as Douglas, Forbes, Mackenzie, McDougall and McDonald all have their own individual tartan patterns and it is estimated that over 2700 tartans exist worldwide today.

In the seventies punks picked up on the tartan trend and wore the cloth as a sign of rebellion, just as the Scottish Highland warriors had once done. Today, Scottish tartan symbolizes people, cities and events. It has never lost its popularity and still attracts lots of tourists from all over the world to Scotland.

So, if you happen to meet a Scotsman and ask him what is under his kilt, he will certainly give you the proud and traditional answer: "The future of Scotland".


 tartan pattern – Karomuster

mummy – Mumie

BC (Before Christ) – bevor Christus

AD (Anno Domini) - nach Christus

Gain popularity – an Beliebtheit gewinnen

Ascend the throne – den Thron besteigen

Be enrolled – eingesetzt sein

The craze for sth – der Hype für etwas

Warrior – Krieger

Under the kilt – unter dem Schottenrock