Jo Cox 1974–2016
From the Labour party website
Mrs Cox, 41, is the first sitting MP to be killed since 1990, when Ian Gow was the last in
a string of politicians to die at the hands of Northern Irish terror groups.
The man taken into custody was arrested in Market Street, not far from Birstall Library where Mrs Cox was holding a constituency surgery.
I touched on surgery back in the post about physician's titles, but I didn't cover all its uses. Oxford Dictionaries Online gives the relevant British senses. (This is sense 2, after the general-English 'invasive medical procedure' sense.)
2. British A place where a doctor, dentist, or other medical practitioner treats or advises patients.
a surgery on a bus as it goes about its normal route.
By extension, surgery is used for many kinds of meetings where someone offers expertise to someone else. Schools and universities have writing surgeries, there are knitting surgeries and bicycle surgeries, events where you can drop in and have a problem diagnosed and get help in fixing it.
In US news, I've seen surgery translated into meeting. In the back of my mind, I have a recollection that there are similar things to MP's surgeries sometimes in the US, but I can't for the life of me think of (or find) the terminology. Can anyone help?
I've translated constituency above to district, but let's be clear that AmE does have the word constituency, it's just more likely to refer to the people than the place, in my experience. In the GloWBE corpus, there are nearly four times more British uses of the word constituency than American ones.
I tweeted this on Thursday:
Americans reading abt Jo Cox have asked "what's meant by 'MP's surgery'?" It's a scheduled time when constituents can talk w/their MP.— Lynne Murphy (@lynneguist) 16 June 2016
And, of course, the response was requests for translation of MP, which is more familiarly Military Police in AmE. (I think I --and maybe others of my generation-- just know that because of M*A*S*H.) It stands for Member of Parliament, which is kind of like AmE congressperson, or member of Congress. I should say: it's not straightforward to translate parliamentary terminology into American terminology. This one isn't too bad, but when Americans call the Prime Minister the President it's a bit of a sin. The PM is the head of government. The President is the head of state. (So some countries have both.) In the UK, the reigning monarch is the head of state, but the powers of the monarchy are severely restricted--so, as I say, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to translate the terminology. The president isn't like the queen, but neither is the office the same as the office of Prime Minister. So, simple translations don't get you very far if you want to understand the context of news stories.
I only first heard of Jo Cox this week, but, wow, she was something special. I can't say anything more about the subject without dissolving into a state of abject despair.