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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Title: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


1
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland
Where Big Ben is the only thing marking forward
progress
2
(No Transcript)
3
Summary of Britains Significance
  • First country with a limited monarchy
  • Early 20th century, undoubtedly the worlds
    greatest superpower
  • Empire is lost, but still retains global
    significance and influence
  • Part of EU, yet not fully embracing being
    European

4
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
  • Sources
  • Long, very gradual tradition
  • Original belief in Divine Right of a family to
    rule gave monarchs power over people
  • Constitutionalism
  • No written constitution, but a long series of
    compacts and acts of Parliament has formed an
    understood Constitution of the Crown

5
Components of British Constitution
  • Rational-Legal Authority
  • Magna Carta (1215) limited power of the
    monarch, guaranteed trial by jury, consent of
    Parliament to raise taxes
  • The Bill of Rights (1688) expanded policymaking
    power of Parliament relative to the crown
  • Common Law (opposite of code law) customs and
    precedent have strong bearing on the law in
    addition to written rules

6
Historical Evolution of Political Traditions
  • The monarchy once powerful, then limited, now
    powerless and ceremonial

7
Oh, woe is me!
8
Historical Evolution of Political Traditions
  • The monarchy once powerful, then limited, now
    powerless and ceremonial
  • The Parliament
  • English Civil War (1640)
  • Glorious Revolution (1688)
  • Prime Minister becomes firm Chief Executive in
    the 18th Century
  • Challenges of the Industrial Revolution (18th and
    19th Century)
  • Diminishing Empire in the 20th and 21st Century
  • Strong welfare state became a burden, led to
    backlash of Thatcherism

9
Political Culture
  • Geography
  • Island
  • Small - Little fertile soil and short growing
    seasons
  • Temperate climate, but cold, chilly, and rainy
  • No major geographical barriers
  • Nationalism great deal of pride in being
    English, or Scottish, or Welsh
  • Insularity feeling of separation from the rest
    of Europe

10
Political Culture
  • Cleavages
  • Social Class
  • Not as strong as in the past, but still very
    significant

11
This photo was taken outside of Lords cricket
grounds in 1937, and came to symbolize the class
divide in England
12
Political Culture
  • Cleavages
  • Social Class
  • Not as strong as in the past, but still very
    significant
  • Noblesse Oblige a term for the upper classes
    willingness to embrace the welfare state and
    support the poor
  • Formerly duty of lords to care for serfs
  • Multi-Nationalism
  • Lots of cultural homogeneity, but there are
    Scots, English, Welsh, Irish, Protestant, and
    Catholic living together and insisting on some
    local sovereignty

13
Political Culture
  • Cleavages
  • Ethnic Minorities (comprise less than 10 of
    British population)
  • Largely young, increasingly Muslim
  • Tight restrictions on immigration imposed by
    Thatcher kept in place by Labour Party
  • Many reports of unequal treatment by police, most
    minorities are disaffected and unemployed
  • Poorly integrated into British society

14
Institutions
  • Linkage Institutions provide people with a
    connection to government and the political
    process
  • Political Parties
  • Originally Liberal (Whigs) vs. Conservative
    (Tories)
  • Emergence of voting rights for commoners gave
    rise to Labour vs. Conservative (still Tories)
  • Liberal Democrats emerged as a third party to
    compromise between Thatcher Conservatives on the
    right and Labour on the Left
  • Undermined by Blairs New Labour movement

15
Ed Miliband
David Cameron
Nick Clegg
16
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17
Institutions
  • Linkage Institutions provide people with a
    connection to government and the political
    process
  • Elections
  • 646 constituencies each elect an MP (Member of
    Parliament)
  • Party leaders run in safe constituencies, MPs
    often arent from their district
  • Winner-take-all, First-Past-The-Post only
    winner gets to take office
  • Plurality no majority necessary
  • Party with Parliamentary majority chooses the
    Prime Minister, who forms a government

18
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19
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20
Institutions
  • Linkage Institutions provide people with a
    connection to government and the political
    process
  • Regional Elections
  • Devolution Blair policy under Good Friday
    Agreement allowing regional parliaments to
    exercise some local authority
  • Proportional representation in Northern Ireland,
    Scotland, and Wales respective parliaments
  • Mayor of London is now directly elected for the
    first time

21
Institutions
  • Linkage Institutions provide people with a
    connection to government and the political
    process
  • Interest Groups
  • Pluralist system with some patterns of
    neo-corporatism
  • Quangos gov. agencies act as interest advocates
    and policy advisors in many cases, fusing the
    relationship between interest group and state

22
Institutions
  • Linkage Institutions provide people with a
    connection to government and the political
    process
  • Media
  • Available media outlets reflect social class
    divisions in readership/viewership
  • BBC was created during the collectivist era to
    educate citizens on politics
  • Heavily regulated by government (ex. no ads can
    be purchased for parties or candidates)

23
Institutions
  • State Institutions
  • Unitary state, power concentrated in London
  • No separation of powers

24
Institutions
  • Cabinet and Prime Minister, The Executive
  • Cabinet members are MPs chosen by Prime Minister,
    who is first among equals
  • Collective responsibility cabinet members all
    share policy responsibility, and members resign
    if they do not support decisions of the PM

25
Institutions
  • Parliament, The Legislature
  • House of Commons, the Lower House
  • Holds all meaningful power in Britain
  • Majority party chooses PM, makes all policy
  • Minority becomes loyal opposition, sitting
    directly across the aisle during debate
  • Shadow Cabinet group of minority party MPs who
    would be in cabinet if they were the majority
  • Backbenchers MPs who are less influential sit
    further back in Parliament

26
Speaker of the House
Backbenchers
Backbenchers
Prime Minister and Cabinet
Shadow Cabinet
Other minority parties
27
And now Question Time for the Prime Minister!
28
Institutions
  • Parliament, The Legislature
  • House of Commons, the Lower House
  • Vote of Confidence
  • If a key issue is brought up for a vote and the
    PM and cabinet lose, they resign and call for new
    elections immediately by tradition
  • The House of Lords, the Upper House
  • The original parliament, now nearly meaningless
  • Can delay legislation, debate technicalities, and
    add amendments
  • Amendments may be deleted in Commons by a
    majority vote

29
Institutions
  • Parliament, The Legislature
  • House of Commons, the Lower House
  • Vote of Confidence
  • If a key issue is brought up for a vote and the
    PM and cabinet lose, they resign and call for new
    elections immediately by tradition
  • The House of Lords, the Upper House
  • 567 life peers, appointed by PM for achievement
    and service to Britain
  • 92 hereditary peers, whose seats were passed
    down through family connections
  • Blair and Labour substantially reduced number of
    hereditary peerages

30
The Sovereign
Supporters of the Opposition Party
Neutral Members
Supporters of the government
31
Institutions
  • The Bureaucracy
  • Powerful force in policy formation,
    implementation
  • Bureaucrats are experts, ministers are likely
    not, so ministers take direction from top
    bureaucrats informally
  • Bureaucrats stay in place from government to
    government

32
Institutions
  • The Judiciary
  • Limited in authority compared to U.S.
  • Parliamentary sovereignty principle that
    Parliament has the final say
  • Courts can strike acts of government that violate
    common law or previous acts of Parliament, but
    rule very narrowly
  • May not impose judicial review on Parliament,
    PM, or cabinet
  • Judges are usually independent, apolitical
  • Expected to resign at age 75
  • Highest court formerly the Law Lords, but a new
    Supreme Court has been created (2009)

33
3 Major Steps in the British Judiciary
Supreme Court
Appeals
High Courts
Appeals
District Courts
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