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The UK. Why study the UK?  It is the world's oldest democracy –  13th century limitations to women's suffrage  It has no date  Main political views.

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Presentation on theme: "The UK. Why study the UK?  It is the world's oldest democracy –  13th century limitations to women's suffrage  It has no date  Main political views."— Presentation transcript:

1 The UK

2 Why study the UK?  It is the world's oldest democracy –  13th century limitations to women's suffrage  It has no date  Main political views have not been radically altered  Traditional legitimacy with rational legal  The empire and its legacy Birthplace of the industrial revolution  First to experience economic decline after WWII  Thatcher’s neo-liberal reforms/policies of the 80s - the third way

3 Geography and demography  UK-  England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland  Great Britain –  England, Scotland, and Wales  Commonwealth – a voluntary association of 53 sovereign states  three are in Europe, twelve in North America, one in South America, nineteen in Africa, eight in Asia, and eleven in Oceania





8  UK is relatively homogeneous with most immigrants coming from Caribbean and former colonies  Historically, many invasions from the Celts to the Romans, Angles and Saxons, Danes, and Normans –  but not so much Wales and Scotland

9  ations/the-world- factbook/geos/uk.html ations/the-world- factbook/geos/uk.html

10  Britain developed a system of common law- local customs and precedent rather than formal legal codes.  Solidified During Henry II.  He also prevented Roman law from taking over.  He brought in juries to general use.  He extended inquest to all.  He sent out itinerant justices  Normans brought central rule and feudalism - imposing all of the reciprocal agreements therein required

11  1215- Magna Carta and King John –  Britain never quite had the absolute monarchs of mainland Europe.  The importance is that the royal must observe the law and it restricted absolutism.  Certain principles were embedded, like eminent domain, no cruel and unusual punishment, no excessive fines, justice open to all, freely and fairly administered  Parliament was given power by king Henry VIII, and religion never plagued Britain like other countries

12 What undermined the British monarchs?  1- crowning of James I, a Scot., uniting Scotland and England. J  James wanted to be an absolutist (taxation issues) and resisted parliament.  His son, Charles I, continued until there was a civil war.  The commonwealth (1649-1660) under the Cromwells.  Crown was restored with Charles II.

13  2- James II (brother of Charles II). This time the Parliament vs. Crown issue was over religion.  James is Catholic. He is removed and in comes William and Mary.  English Bill of Rights in 1689- monarchs owe their position to parliament.  ngland.asp ngland.asp  Glorious Revolution brought about the constitutional monarchy.

14  3- 1714 George I brings about the rise in power of the cabinet and the prime minister (Sir Robert Walpole).  After the American Revolution prime ministers and the cabinet have been appointed by parliament

15 British Empire  By 1870 Britain controlled  1/4 of the world’s trade  1/4 of the worlds population, about 50 countries  But the collapse was slow and incremental - starts with the American colonies  after WWI granting independence to Egypt and Ireland  after WWII it was much more  Falklands in 1982 with Argentina  Hong returned in 1997 to china

16 Industrial Revolution  They were the 1st  and it helped the expansion of the empire: textiles, manufacturing, and iron  Not a tremendous upheaval politically or instability  This growth helped it lead the financing and cost of WWI and WWII, and then it loses money.  This was also the end of colonial rule.

17 Gradual democratization  Parliament helped restrict the crown, but it served the interests of the elite- only the wealthy could vote  House of Lords- representing the aristocracy  House of Commons- representing the landed aristocracy and the merchant class  What democratized parliament?  1- political parties. Emerging as cliques of nobles. Conservative Tories and liberal Whigs (support from the commercial class)  2- expansion of suffrage. Reform Act of 1832. Women's suffrage in 1928 Labour Party pushes more social agenda of the Working class- sense of entitlement after WWII

18  g- heritage/evolutionofparliament/hous eofcommons/reformacts/overview/r eformact1832/ g- heritage/evolutionofparliament/hous eofcommons/reformacts/overview/r eformact1832/

19 Postwar Politics and the Expansion of the State  Though the Labour Party initiated the Welfare State, the Conservative Party supported it – the collectivist consensus  However, a new breed of Tories began to blame economic problems of the 1970s on the inflated welfare state  Thatcher –  Lower taxes  Cutting spending on social services  Replaced some state services with private enterprise

20 Political Regime  Highly majoritarian features  Parliament has virtually unchecked powers  No formal constitutional limits, no judicial constraints, no constitutionally sanctioned local authorities  Only historical traditions of democratic political culture keep the government from abusing power

21 The Constitution  Consists of various acts of Parliament, judicial decisions, customs and traditions  Parliament is sovereign  House of Commons can amend it with any majority vote  People have been troubled by there being no written protection of basic rights  However, in 1998 the government incorporated into law the European Convention on Human Rights  However the lack of a constitution provides flexibility and responsiveness to the majority  Changes can occur more quickly without lengthy political battles

22 The Crown  Symbolic representation of the continuity of the British state  The cabinet is referred to as Her Majesty’s government  She is a paid civil servant  gets-5m-payrise-taxpayer gets-5m-payrise-taxpayer  The monarch is officially the commander-in-chief, but it the prime minister who has the power to declare war and sign treaties  %20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php %20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php


24 The Prime Minister  David Cameron (since 2010) - Conservative

25  The Head of Government  One of the MPs and head of the majority party  Party discipline is very high and PMs get there way  However, Cameron heads a coalition govt. of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats

26  _Parliament_of_the_United_Kingd om _Parliament_of_the_United_Kingd om


28  Elected for a maximum of a five-year term, but can call elections at any time before the term has expired  Fixed-term Parliament Act of 2011  vote of no confidence  2/3 majority

29  Televised Question time in which they must defend policies  hpXhxP-WU hpXhxP-WU

30 The Cabinet  22 members  Usually all come from the lower house  PM appoints leading party members  They answer to Parliament during question time  Due to extreme party loyalty, collective responsibility is common

31 Legislature  House of Commons  650 members  House of Lords  780 members  26 Spiritual (Bishops)- appointed  92 Temporal (Life and Hereditary) – appointed  12 Law Lords (but the Supreme Court of the UK has since taken over)  Individuals are far less important than the party  Vote with party 90%  The legislature deliberates, ratifies, and scrutinizes policies proposed by the executive

32 The Electoral System  SMD (Single-Member Districts) or FPTP (First Past the Post)  Each constituency selects one MP  Implications of FPTP  Two party system  Penalizes smaller parties  Clear majority in Parliament, though not in the electorate  Since WWII 60% of all seats have been won with a minority of votes

33  This system artificially produces majorities and is a distortion of democratic rule

34 Reading Quiz  What is the difference between devolution and federalism, and how does that apply to the United Kingdom?

35  What was your article?  On the same sheet of paper, describe the content of the United Kingdom article you read.  What is the issue?  What impact will this have on the United Kingdom domestically? (if any)  What impact will this have on the United Kingdom’s relationship with others? (if any)

36 Local Government  The UK is a unitary system  But through devolution this has been changing a bit  With Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but also with the 1999 Greater London Authority Act  However, financial matters still reside with the central authority

37 The Party System  Primarily the UK is a two-party system with the Conservative and Labour Parties dominating  However, in 2005 11 parties won seats in Parliament (Conservative and Labour parties won 67% of the vote)  No party since 1935 has won a majority of the vote


39  Elections_in_the_United_King dom Elections_in_the_United_King dom

40 Labour  Main development was from the trade union movement  Key events were WWI and the expansion of suffrage in 1918  Fourth Reform Act (Representation of the People Act of 1918)  on_of_the_People_Act_1918 on_of_the_People_Act_1918  Post WWII competitive  _Kingdom_general_elections _Kingdom_general_elections

41  Socialism was the key core component of the Labour Movement’s expansion  Fabianism  2/3 of UK’s manual laborers sided with Labour  However, as he blue collar world erodes, so does this core constituency  1970s division between radicals and moderates (1980s Social Democratic Party)  Rewriting the Party platform brought about Tony Blair and the Third Way  Socialism is no longer about economic determinism, it is about social justice.

42 ...Something different and distinct from liberal capitalism with its unswerving belief in the merits of the free market and democratic socialism with its demand management and obsession with the state. The Third Way is in favour of growth, entrepreneurship, enterprise and wealth creation but it is also in favour of greater social justice and it sees the state playing a major role in bringing this about.

43 

44 Conservative Party  For the longest time the Conservative Party belonged to the collectivist consensus  They garnered widespread support from all segments of British society  During the late 1970s it was divided between the conservative pragmatist who accepted the welfare state (though limited) and the neo-liberals of Thatcher who advocated radical- free market reforms

45 

46 Liberal Democrats  Formed in 1988 as a merger of the Social Democrats and the Liberal Party  Mixed ideology  Classical liberal emphasis on individual freedom and a weak state  Social democracy’s emphasis on collective equality  Chief issue has been electoral reform to get more seats at the table  Also support European integration

47 Other parties  Alliance Party Alliance Party  Co-operative Party Co-operative Party  Democrative Unionist Party Democrative Unionist Party  Green Party Green Party  Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru  Scottish National Party Scottish National Party  Sinn Féin Sinn Féin  Social Democratic and Labour Party Social Democratic and Labour Party

48 Current Parliament PartySeats Conservative303 Labour257 Liberal Democrat56 Democratic Unionist 8 Scottish National6 Independent5 Sinn Fein5 Plaid Cymru3 Social Democratic & Labour Party 3 Alliance1 Green1 Respect1 Speaker1 Total number of seats 650 Current working Government Majority 75

49 British Elections  5-yr. terms  About 60-70% turnout rate   Campaigns are short  Why?  finance/uk.php finance/uk.php  The U.S. spent finance finance  campaign-finance/ campaign-finance/

50 Civil Society  Quangos  Quasi-autonomous nongovernmental organizations  Policy advisory board appointed by the government that bring government officials and affected interest groups together  /research/key-issues-for-the-new- parliament/decentralisation-of- power/quangos/ /research/key-issues-for-the-new- parliament/decentralisation-of- power/quangos/  Purpose was a move towards a neo-corporatist model of public policy making

51 Society  Class Identity  20/britishidentity.socialexclusion1 20/britishidentity.socialexclusion1  Educational System  Ethnic and National Identity  e-world-factbook/geos/uk.html e-world-factbook/geos/uk.html  Ideology and Political Culture


53 The UNITED KINGDOM (Rest of chapter)

54 SOCIETy  Class identity  The former strict divisions between upper and working class inspired Marx and Engel’s  Ethnicity, region, religion less important  Strict differences/stereotypes between classes still remain in personal activities  This is particularly prevalent in the education system  Public schools vs state schools

55 Cont’d  In response to Thatcher and Blair’s neoliberal reforms, interestingly, it is argued that class differences are breaking down  However, the south remains largely white collar and prosperous, while the working class north stagnates

56 Cont’d  Political culture  Much more Socialist in comparison to the US  Thatcher’s extreme individualism was highly controversial  Labour’s policies have been called a “kinder, gentler” Neoliberalism  More socially liberal, similar to Europe in that regard  In 60’s, capital punishmen was outlawed, while homosexuality and abortion were legalized  Less emphasis on religion and family values  Members of House of Commons forbidden from having religious bias in lawmaking

57 Cont’d  Political culture based on tolerance and respect for opposing viewpoints  Less individualistic  The hard lines of a formal Constituion are looked down upon by some  Their unofficial Constitution/emphasis on precedent might not have worked in the US  The British have a sort of culture of apathy

58 Political Economy  Despite being socially liberal like Europe, they are more fiscally conservative  Liberal principles (i.e. Locke) started here  Industrialism started here, allowed by these viewpoints  Consistent decline since WWII  Partly because they being the first industrialized country, felt the move away from early industrial techniques first

59 Foreign Relations  They may be farther down the list of world powers than they have been in centuries, but they still retain facets of a superpower and are highly influential.  Large army, large economy, own nuclear weapons  Being on an island, they have long viewed themselves as separate from the continent

60 Con’td  The continent having taken longer to adopt democracies and liberal policies  After the UK’s post WWII downfall, they came to view the US almost as their successor, and support them  They have a shared language, people, and liberal values

61 Cont’d  The UK is wary of the EU’s move towards federalism  They don’t want continental values imposed on them  Pro-EU political parties, like LibDems, downplay those values during elections  Overall, a major part of their future will depend on whether they will side more with the US or the EU, them being in the middle

62 Current affairs  There is movement towards further devolution  Even extending into proposals for a written constitution  The devolution is at the point where Scotland could secede  A few terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland by the IRA

63 Cont’d  EU referendum approaching  Scotland secession referendum approaching  2015 General Elections  Extra current events:  Same-sex marriage bills passed in England, Wales, Scotland  Lots of a flooding due to the Thames not being dredged

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