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The United Kingdom Stella Theodoulou & Richard Rose.

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Presentation on theme: "The United Kingdom Stella Theodoulou & Richard Rose."— Presentation transcript:

1 The United Kingdom Stella Theodoulou & Richard Rose

2 England, the 1st National Monarchy Circa 12 th century (Insular location) –1215 Magna Carta (limiting rights of the King) The Wars of the Roses ( ) –Houses of York (white) and Lancaster (red) Henry Tudor (Lancaster) challenged Richard III (York), Richard was killed and Henry became King Henry VII, inaugurating the Tudor dinasty (until the death of Elizabeth in 1603).

3 Revolution or a series of Reforms? (Civil War—Execution of Charles I) (Republican gvt. Cromwell) 1660 Restoration (Charles II, James II since 1685) 1689 Bill of Rights1680 The Glorious Revolution—the birth of James’s Catholic son triggers his replacement by his son-in- law William—1689 Bill of Rights Sovereignty of the Parliament Act Union, England and Scotland formed Great Britain Reform Bill: extension of the right to vote to middle-class men Abolition of slavery, limitations on work by children and women 1867 Reform Bill: extension of suffrage to urban workers (extended to rural workers in 1884) Universal male and female suffrage

4 Post-World War II Post-War Consensus Consensus Under Strain Ending of the Consensus to today New Labour

5 Post-War Consensus Winston Churchill First Electoral Triumph Attlee (Labour’s First Electoral Triumph) Churchill (Conservative) Basic Agreements: Britain had to Play a major role in world affairs (emerged from WWII as a great power, had an Empire, a “special” relation to the US, and the atomic bomb) Be a Welfare State (from “cradle to grave” services for ALL citizens: free universal health care, social security & pensions, education) And a Mixed Economy John Maynard Keynes (Full employment, 1/5 State owned companies of coal, gas, electricity, aviation, railroads, and the Bank of England)

6 Basic “Bricks” of the Welfare State John Maynard Keynes’s –Beveridge Report on social welfare (1942) –Full Employment White Paper (1944) The Butler Education Act (1944) Creation of the National Health Service (1948)

7 : Post-War Consensus Under Strain –Conservative Gvts. ( & 70-76) –Labour Gvts. ( & 74-79) Ideological SPLIT between the Conservative and the Labour parties. Two-party system. Decline of Britain’s power and economic strength (decolonization, slow growth, inflation, balance of payment crises, increasing expectations towards the Welfare State and declining will to support it through taxes, social conflicts).

8 The Ending of Consensus Margaret Thatcher (& John Major): New Right policies ( ). Thatcherism’s 2 goals: To restore British prestige (the 1982 Falkland/Malvinas War)— Renewal of the “special” relation to the U.S. To dismantle the Welfare State (campaign against “Big Government”). Tax cut, increase in interest rates, cut in govt. Spending). Inflation diminished, but unemployment reached the 1930s level —Increasing differences between Labour & the Conservatives. New parties—Towards a multi-party system? (Liberal Democrats and other new parties) 1987—Labour begins to move to the Right

9 4. From 1997: New Consensus Under (the “New”) Labour Acceptance of changes made by the Conservatives (Thatcher) Neoliberal understanding of the State and the Economy (free market, minimal regulations, anti- Keynesianism, “welfare to work,” no privileges to unions, abandonment of free access to the university, contraposition between socialism and democracy, and abandonment of the former). Tony Blair’s vague “Third Way” (support for free markets+basic Social Democratic values).

10 United Kingdom= –Political union of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland with power concentrated on the Westminster Parliament. -Insularity: although the British are a part of Europe, many of them (about 50%) do not think of themselves as Europeans. Unitary State Unitary State (NO power is allowed to the regions despite their own parliaments) organized as a Constitutional Monarchy with Parliamentary sovereignty.

11 The Constitution Written Constitution: –The Magna Carta –The 1628 Petition of Rights –The 1689 Bill of Rights Unwritten Constitution (flexible): –Laws enacted by Parliament –Antecedents settled by judicial courts –European Union law.

12 Parliamentary Sovereignty The Parliament is the supreme authority, in exercise of legislative, executive, and judiciary authority (fusion of powers). The Parliament includes the monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons (659 members). –The Monarch is the Head of State, with ceremonial functions only. –The Prime Minister is Head of Gvt. (primus inter pares)

13 Goverment All members of government are first members of the Parliament. –Prime Minister: leader of the political party that wins the majority in elections. He organizes the Gvt. and requests the dissolution of the Parliament from the Queen. The PM cares especially for the economy and foreign affairs. –The Cabinet: includes diverse departments (i.e. Economic affairs). Its organization changes. Cabinet members are senior ministers members of the majority (Secretary of the Cabinet) Committees: Cabinet committees include ministers from the departments most affected by some specific issues.

14 The House of the Lords Has been disempowered through time (= Crown). Since 1911, they can only revise, delay, and introduce changes in laws, but they do not have any veto power.

15 British Structure of Government Prime Minister Cabinet State Bureacracy Local Gvt. Regional Assemblies Parliament (House Of Commons) Voters

16 Elections Voters choose between parties Elections must take place at least once every five years In each district, the winner is the candidate who gets more votes (simple majority) Manufactured majority/disproportional representation: the party with more seats (and not with more votes) forms the government.

17 Party Hegemony Parties choose candidates, settle the agenda, and elect leaders who become prime ministers. For anyone to become the Prime Minister, the only election to be won is the one for the party leadership. No primaries (party recruitment) Despite the SMD, voters vote for parties and not for candidates (members of the Parliament are accountable to their parties and not to their constituencies) Candidates do not have to live in the area for which they compete.

18 Effects of Disproportional Electoral System (1997 election) Source: Rose, Richard, “Politics in England” European Politics Today


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