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The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

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1 The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

2 The UK: What’s in a Name? U.K.= United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Jan 1, 1800: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Irish Republic gains independence, 1922 6 northern counties of N. Ireland (a.k.a. Ulster) remain with UK Other regions: Scotland, Wales. British possess Jersey, Guernsey, and Isle of Man. Hong Kong given back 7/1/ Also own Diego Garcia in Indian Ocean and Gibraltar

3 The UK: Demographics Size of Oregon but very urban (90% urbanized)
Population: 61.1 million (2009 est.)--Growth rate 0.28% England most prosperous, others Celtic and poorer. Median age=40.2 Ethnicity: White 92.1% (English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, N. Irish 2.9%) Black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census) Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census) Unitary form of government with Parliamentary Democracy Life Expectancy 76.5/81.3/79 overall children/woman 99% literacy rate Highest HS dropout rate in Europe; only 10% aged attend college/university GNP $35,200, $2.2 Trillion economy, 80%+ in services Pax Britannica 17th-18th Cty, fell behind after WW I

4 Brief UK History 1215: Magna Carta
: Henry VIII breaks from Rome, Church of England, reformation 1642: Civil War (1649 Charles I beheaded) : Cromwell, disputes; 1660 Charles II 1688: Glorious Revolution of William and Mary 1707: Union with Scotland, last veto by King, King let PM control Cabinet starting in 1721 (Robert Walpole) 1800: Union with Ireland 1832: Reform Act adds Middle Class voting (7%), also 1867 and 1884 Great Reform Act (all 21+ men vote) 1911: House of Lords weakened 1914: Entered World War I 1918: Voting age now 21 for men, 30 for women 1922: Ireland gains independence 1928: All adults 21 and over may vote : World War II, Wartime coalition, Pyrrhic victory 1942: Beveridge Report and Collectivist consensus 1945: World War II ends, colonies begin gaining independence 1947: British India partitioned into India/Pakistan, given independence

5 UK History (Continued)
1948: National Health Service (NHS) formed 1949: NATO formed 1951: Churchill and Conservatives return to power, do not dismantle NHS 1956: Botched Suez Canal incident 1973: Finally joins EEC, forerunner to EU (FRA had blocked) : Thatcher/Major governments (Conservatives) 1982: Falklands War—victory over Argentina 1990: Thatcher resigns, replaced by major after “Community Charge” debacle 1994: Chunnel opens 1997: Conservatives lose power after 18 yrs; Blair elected 1999: Elected assemblies (devolution) for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland (suspended but later restored) 2000: Accepted ECHR as domestic law (1st real Bill of Rights) 2003: UK assists US in Iraq 2005: Blair narrowly holds on for third term May 31, 2007: Blair cedes power to Chancellor Gordon Brown 2008: Economic crisis begins, Northern Rock nationalized 2010: David Cameron and Conservatives return to power in coalition with Liberal Democrats

6 More about the UK NO Written Constitution. Only Custom, history, tradition, and precedent (can include works of authorities like Blackstone). Example: Magna Carta (1215). Now, includes European law. Huge trust in government; people of incremental change. In Britain, civil rights and liberties are protected by political tradition and public opinion; establishment derives its political power from public acceptance British slower to integrate into Europe than France, no Euro Single member districts virtually guarantee two party system Handguns outlawed in 1998. Uses “common law” as opposed to “civil law” Common law: “judge-made law” based on tradition/precedent Civil/code law: law based on legal codes, former church law

7 Thinking about Britain: Themes
Britain has suffered from less unrest and has had a more consensual history than any other country. Britain’s relative economic standing declined dramatically in the second half of the 20th century. UK as dependent on world events rather than master of them The conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major in the 1980’s and 1990’s redefined political life. Gradual change Relative economic decline Impact of Blair and “New Labour

8 Government Structure Constitutional Monarchy
Queen has only ceremonial duties, symbol of unity but stays informed & has audiences with PM. Access to secret documents. Queen gives “Speech from the Throne” written by new PM at each Parliament opening. Imitated in Commonwealth countries. House of Commons: 646 members (change 2005) House of Lords: 724 members (changed recently) Prime Minister heads gov’t, leads majority party in Commons PM names Cabinet of MPs: In US, lack of fusion causes problem: Sec State and NSA often don’t get along! 5 year fixed theoretical term. PM calls elections, can call them skillfully or not so skillfully Parliament can call for a “vote of no confidence;” if PM loses, must resign and call new elections If no party has majority, Queen names PM in consultation with current PM, 3 times since 1952 “The British do not need to love their Prime Minister. They love their Queen.”

9 The Electoral System Voters elect members of the House of Commons in single-member districts. Every 5 years, PM can call whenever 70-75% turnout Election campaigning limited to 3-4 weeks Carpetbaggers generally accepted System is “first past the post” just like US, requires plurality (SINGLE MEMBER DISTRICTS) In no election since 1935 has 1 party gotten a majority April 1997: Labour 43% 1951: Conservatives won but had lower popular vote 1979 Thatcher 43% By-elections occur when a member resigns or dies—watched carefully as a political harbinger European Parliament elections as well


11 Political Participation
The British electorate Long time class-based politics upset by radicalism and Thatcher victories Rather than realignment, it was a dealignment Labour victories probably the result of voter “fatigue” with Conservative government and Labour’s success in appealing to middle class and post-materialist voters Labor has tried to increase support among women by nominating them to elected and appointed positions


13 Political Participation
Interest groups Trades Union Council and Confederation of British Industries are dominant peak associations Lobbying must be done at highest levels where bills are drafted

14 House of Commons (646) Much like US House, debates, makes laws. But PM and Cabinet, who are members, introduce all bills Prime Minister Question Hour on Wednesdays! US debate filtered thru committees, not in Britain 14 “select committees” were established in 1979 Salary about $70,000 (compare to $145K in US) Speaker of the House retains position in Parliament, traditionally runs unopposed. Party leaders usually tested ex-Cabinet officials. Must deal with “the show” and “the substance” Cabinet/PM are primary initiators of legislation, known as “frontbenchers” Backbenchers have staged revolts, worked in 1990 against Thatcher. Vote of no confidence/”issue of confidence” designation can also “bring down a government” Party whips enforce loyalty strictly

15 House of Lords (724) 790 Hereditary peers, almost all eliminated in left. ~500 Lifelong peers remain (granted by PM or monarch) Religious leaders: 2 church archbishops and 24 bishops are members 3 areas of power: Immigration, Health Services, and Transportation Not elected, independent—reelection concerns don’t preclude sticky issues (homosexuality, abortion) Members can’t be expelled Limited legislative functions; no veto power over Commons, but debates and can delay legislation (30 days—finance, 1 year on other bills). Can amend bills but a Commons vote can reverse Law Lords serve as final court of appeals. (Pinochet case, extradition to Spain) Law Lords nominated from bar; hear appeals but cannot declare anything unconstitutional* (Human Rights Act makes this technically possible, but we shall see)

16 Prime Minister and Cabinet
David Cameron (Conservative)—2010 In coalition with Liberal Democrats 10 Downing Street; head of majority party in Commons. Votes less and less in Commons. PM must balance cabinet for internal party reasons; Cabinet expected to be loyal Most Cabinet members MPs, then junior ministers, before ascending to Cabinet. At any one time, 100 MPs serve in the Executive branch. More Cabinet members resign under duress than in the United States (Pym under Thatcher) Cabinet is directly accountable and more harmonious. Not always expert in their “portfolio.” More Presidential because of nuclear weapons, television, growth of interest groups.

17 Cabinet Chancellor of the Exchequer Foreign Secretary
Defense Secretary Home Secretary (police, internal governance) Lord Chancellor (Law Lords, heads judiciary) Environment, Food and Rural Affairs International Development Work and Pensions Transport, Local Government, and the Regions Health Northern Ireland Wales Scotland Trade and Industry Education and Skills Culture, Media, and Sport

18 British Prime Ministers Since World War II
Clement Attlee Labour, welfare state Winston Churchill Tory Anthony Eden Tory Harold MacMillan Tory Alec Douglas-Home Tory Harold Wilson Labour Edward Heath Tory Harold Wilson Labour Margaret Thatcher Tory John Major Tory Tony Blair Labour Gordon Brown Labour David Cameron 2010-present Tory

19 Current UK Party Leaders
Coalition leadership in gov’t since 2010 Conservatives: David Cameron Liberal Democrats: Nick Clegg (Deputy PM in coalition) Labour: Ed Miliband (since 2010) Plaid Cymru: Plaid Cymru has three Members of Parliament at Westminster, no 1 leader Scottish National Party: Angus Robertson

20 The Conservatives Traditionally pragmatic politicians
Historically practiced “noblesse oblige” Opening organization to more democratic processes led to Thatcher’s election Party strong during Thatcher years Since Thatcher, party struggled to find success Party has had five leaders since 1997 Today they are stronger contenders because of public dissatisfaction with Labour Party—and now in power Views on Europe not shared by majority of British, aging party leadership (except Cameron) They were flexible and changed policies They emphasized market forces but maintained responsibility to poor They have an elitist but effective organization

21 The Labour Party Began as alliance of unions, socialists, and cooperative associations in the early 20th century. Wanted three things originally: 1) Home rule 2) Minimum wage increase 3) Prohibition Clause 4: Formally repudiated by Blair Economic crisis and New Left activists led to leadership by party’s left wing Leaders more interested in electoral success than ideology were chosen in mid-‘80s New Labour: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and younger, more moderate leaders took over in mid-1990s

22 The Liberal Democrats Product of 1987 merger of Liberal and Social Democratic parties “First past the post” system prevent from winning as many seats Currently challenging as second-largest party It has capitalized on dissatisfaction with conservatives to build base The party has fared better under new leadership, especially Nick Clegg

23 Political Participation Minor Parties
Rise in Scottish, Welsh, and Irish nationalism has led to moderate growth in support for regional parties What is devolution? In recent general elections they have often come second in their regions Regional parties have always dominated Northern Ireland Other minor parties

24 Margaret Thatcher “British disease” of de-industrialization, weak economy led to Thatcher Revolution in 1979 “The Old Testament prophets did not say, ‘Brothers, I want a consensus.’ They said, ‘this is my faith, this is what I passionately believe. If you believe it too, then come with me.’” Strong relationship with Reagan/Bush “Produce” before you can “consume” Neo-Conservative, promoted home ownership, breaks to entrepreneurs. “Dry” conservative, not “Wet” Powerful wartime PM (Falklands)

25 The Falklands War Argentine military Junta takes over in 1982, led by General Galtieri. They try to play on public opinion by seizing Falklands. Falklands administered by Britain since 1833, all British stock. April 1982: Invades Falklands (Malvinas Islands to Argentinians) Margaret Thatcher determined to get islands back, tries diplomacy and UNSC. Not much luck. US plays mediator, but backs UK. British naval expedition wins islands back Galtieri deposed by his own people soon after Thatcher soars in popularity.

26 Margaret Thatcher cont’d
Freed economy from state intervention; privatization and deregulation. Economy grew by leaps and bounds. “Silicon Glen” Euroskeptic; favored common market but not a superstate Gave way to John Major in 1990 after domestic issue turbulence—”poll tax” or tax for every adult person to replace property tax. Major rescinded the tax.

27 Tony Blair Neil Kinnock—moved Labour towards center, paved way for Blair’s “third way” Won 1997, 2001, and 2005 elections Came in with talk of change, delivered. Eliminated Clause 4 from Labor Party platform (societal ownership of means of production) Devolution for Welsh, Scottish, and Irish (Parliaments) Advocated House of Lords reform, eliminating “hereditary peers.” Sought to fortify US/Britain relationship (not typical of Labour). Favors judicial review being established Wanted Bill of Rights, got it indirectly thru EU’s ECHR Banned handguns and fox hunting Semi-scandals with wife, oldest son Almost “Presidential”—not prima inter pares

28 The End of the Blair Decade
Successes and popularity of first term did not last Dissatisfaction with Labour Unpopularity of Iraq war Gordon Brown became PM in June 2007

29 Gordon Brown Former Chancellor of the Exchequer under PM Blair Prime Minister Kept UK out of Euro with “Five Tests” scheme Reneged on promise to hold referendum on Treaty of Lisbon Nationalized Northern Rock bank, 2008 Popularity sank, doomed 2010 election

30 David Cameron Prime Minister since 2010
Devised “Austerity budget” to cut budget deficit—including military budget (RAF/Navy squablle-won by Royal Navy) 2.5% rise in VAT plus massive spending cuts

31 British Bureaucracy Known as “Whitehall” DO NOT confuse with “Westminster” (Parliament bldg.) Highly specialized, oversees and fleshes out law. Filters info, presents options. Minister, Secretary, Undersecretaries appointed, Permanent secretaries stay on job and are elites. British top ministers rotated more frequently (remember this was a goal of the U.S. SES) No. 10 Downing Street links to No. 11 (Chancellor) and No. 12 (Party Whip), as wellas Foreign Office

32 Political Parties in the UK
Labour: Control since 1997, won 2002 elections overwhelmingly. Conservative (a.k.a “Tories”): Lost 1997 elections, controlled gov’t Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Current leader: David Cameron. Pro-status quo, pro-religion. Believes in noblesse oblige (obligation of nobility to help those less well off) Liberal Democrats. Led by Nick Clegg. Ulster Unionist Party Scottish National Party Welsh parties (Plaid Cymru) Party not in power forms shadow cabinet

33 British Political Culture
Tony Blair has raised consciousness of population to idea that they “cannot forget Europe.” Most significant: Lack of antagonism, no deep ideological differences among people. Minor disagreements only. Society operates on consensus. Party voting well disciplined; party can deny renomination Referendums not used much in UK (circumvents Parliament). Last big one: Withdrawal from EC (lost), also devolution Overwhelming support for parliamentary system Minor rumblings about monarchy, North Sea oil, written Constitution Media more partisan than US papers, exposes scandals. Even so, more strictly regulated than US UK Conservative, only tiny social movements (Chartist movement of 1848). Trafalgar square protests.

34 Political Culture, cont’d
“Oxbridge”/ “public” schools are the way to leadership--education very elitist (3 years) Also Rhodes Scholarships. Britain used to be a good example of class voting—not so much anymore (like Reagan Democrats and Clinton Republicans in US). Swing votes key. Deferential culture. Heckling common in Parliament (Was even aimed at Thatcher at the end, “ditch….”) Irish Republican Army/Sinn Fein has become less of a threat 25% Unionized workforce; Trades Union Congress is most significant union group, opposed by Confederation of British Industry (like US Chamber of Commerce) CBI mostly liked Thatcher, except for withdrawal of subsidies. Racism an issue, Islam fastest growing British religion National Health Service probably there to stay…some success, healthier but costs skyrocketing Created after WW II, British are healthier but costs have skyrocketed More bureaucrats than beds Private medical care now had by 13%--quietly returned legally QUANGOs

35 The politics of protest: toward an uncivic culture?
growing unrest in 1970s Northern Ireland a battlefield Urban race riots Radicalization of unions in face of growing unemployment and economic decline Renewed activism of anti-nuclear, anti-war movements polarization of politics and alienation of the center

36 QUANGOS QUasi-Autonomous Non Governmental Organizations An ostensibly non-governmental organization which performs governmental functions, often with government funding or other support The UK government's definition of a non-departmental public body or quango in 1997 was: "A body which has a role in the processes of national government, but is not a government department or part of one, and which accordingly operates to a greater or lesser extent at arm's length from Ministers." US has them: Fannie Mae provides mortgage insurance In UK: Press Council and the Law Society, among about 600

37 Foreign Policy 3 circles: Former Colonies, USA, European Union
British invest heavily in NA assets/interests Not expansion oriented Since 1945, relative ECN/POL decline, with that, decline in prestige Joined EEC, 1973 for tariff relief, elimination of barriers to trade UK joined EU. Why? 1) Practical necessity; 3 trading blocks of 21st Century are NAFTA, EU, Asian-Pacific 2) UK has European interests; EU moves as one. Tidbit: European Declaration of Human Rights is first written guarantee of rights in UK! Atlanticist Foreign Policy. April 1982 Falklands War, Britain helps in Gulf War, War on Terrorism, Iraq. Special relationship with US

38 Major Issues Terror War/Iraq Diplomacy with Iran Global warming
Northern Ireland going to backburner; Mitchell Plan working. IRA disarming. (IRA is military wing of Sinn Fein) EU involvement, CFSP??? Education Devolution Foxhunting Gay rights (Labour in favor)

39 Constitutional Changes in the UK Since 1980s
Proposal Problem it addresses Devolution of power to Scotland and Wales Too much centralized authority, conflicts due to regionalism and nationalism Constitution for N. Ireland Nationalism, religious violence Reform of House of Lords: abolition, limits on leg. power Lords are ineffective, undemocratic, delay legislation Electoral changes: Proportional representation, direct elect PM Small parties not represented according to strength, limited popular participation EU: To join or not to join Avoid isolation, necessary for trade with Europe Directly elected mayors Promotes democracy Access to personal info held by government Too much government secrecy Changes in monarchy; abolition, taxation of royal family, change in role as head of Church of England Outdated, undemocratic, $$ Changes in the judiciary: judicial review Checks on legislative action Written Constitution Would promote consistency in applying laws and procedures

40 Will there always be a Britain?
Identification with the UK has declined in past 40 years Resurgence of support for regional parties in Scotland and Wales Devolution (regional parliaments) Monarchy’s loss of influence and prestige Increasing racial diversity (most born in the UK) Growing importance of the EU

41 Learning Objectives: After mastering the concepts presented in this chapter, you will be able to:
Gain general knowledge of the history of the political system in the United Kingdom. Recognize the importance of Magna Carta and the role of monarchy in Great Britain. Understand the concept of gradualism while analyzing the development of British political system. Define civic culture and civil society and assess the importance of both in the British political system. Understand the position of Euroskeptics Recognize devolution and its impact on the development of British state. Define patterns of collective responsibility in the British executive government. Describe British cabinet government. Comprehend the role of the political opposition in the British parliament and define the ‘shadow cabinet’ in the functionality of British legislature. Understand the nature of ‘parliamentarian sovereignty.’ Describe the work of British parliament Recognize the specification of British electoral system. Learn the difference between ‘winner-take-all’ and proportional representation electoral systems. Describe the impact of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair governments on the political and economic system in the United Kingdom. Understand the impact of nationalization and privatization on economic and political development of the British state.

42 Learning Objectives, continued
Explain how the economic problems faced by Britain have had such dramatic political consequences. Define and give examples of gradualism within the context of British political history. Describe examples of the changes made by Prime Ministers Thatcher and Major to the political/economic culture of Britain. Describe how “New Labour” differed from “Old Labour” and from Thatcherism. Identify 4-6 major developments in the creation of the current regime. Describe the basic elements of the collectivist consensus. Describe several ways in which the civic culture of the collectivist consensus broke down in the 1970s. explain why the three major parties in Britain are considered “catch-all” parties today. identify the main characteristics of the Conservative Party that ensured its success and survival. describe the conflict between ideological and pragmatic politics within the Labour Party that eventually led to Tony Blair’s election as party leader. explain in general terms how interest groups function in Britain. explain the roles of the parliamentary party, the shadow cabinet, and collective responsibility in the functioning of Commons. describe the basics of the debates in Britain over the country’s relationship with Europe. Be able to analyze the 2010 General Election and why the voters removed the Labour Party from power.

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