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Great Britain: A Detailed Look at an Advanced Democracy By Teddy Perretti, Christopher Hongach, Michael Kytka, and Francesco Ferrer.

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Presentation on theme: "Great Britain: A Detailed Look at an Advanced Democracy By Teddy Perretti, Christopher Hongach, Michael Kytka, and Francesco Ferrer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Great Britain: A Detailed Look at an Advanced Democracy By Teddy Perretti, Christopher Hongach, Michael Kytka, and Francesco Ferrer

2 Great Britain: Brief Bio Population: 59.6 million Territory: 94, 525 sq miles Languages: English; Welsh; Scottish form of Gaelic Religions: by law, religious freedom is allowed; however, the state is predominantly Anglican; and Roman Catholicism is the second most practiced religion.

3 Great Britain: A Unitary State

4 Britain is a unitary state with political authority centralized in London Although Britain has multiple competing parties, the framework of the House of Commons is based on the assumption that one party will gain a majority, while another party serves as the “ loyal opposition ” The Prime Minister of Britain is the leader of the majority party whose role is to speak legitimately for all members of Parliament choose cabinet ministers and important subordinate posts make decisions in the cabinet, with the agreement of the ministers campaign for and represents the party in parliamentary election

5 Great Britain: A Unitary State The House of Lords ’ members are not elected officials and have very little power, with the exception of the limited ability to amend legislation Britain ’ s judiciary system has limited power with a weak judicial review; it can determine whether government decisions violate common law or precious acts of Parliament By tradition the courts tend to defer to the authority of the Parliament Based upon common law; which is focused on precedent and interpretation The law lords are considered to be part of the highest court of the land They are members of the House of Lords and are designated to settle disputes from the lower courts, but do not have judicial review power

6 Society & State: Interest Group/Citizen Participation Linkage institutions, such as interest groups, political parties, and the media, serve a vital role in the governments and politics in Britain Interest group pluralism is a substantial part of civil society as multiple autonomous groups compete with one another for influence in policy-making The media is clearly a factor as dominant organizations, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), have greatly influenced society through radio, television, and mass circulation tabloids Many of these interest groups have acted as a link between citizens and the British government CITIZENS

7 Great Britain: State and Government Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II is the ceremonial quality of the nation is the national symbol of traditional legitimacy Head of Government: Prime Minister David Cameron In a parliamentary system, the prime minister is the “ first among equals ” speaks legitimately for all members of Parliament chooses cabinet ministers and important subordinate posts makes decisions in the cabinet, with ministerial consent

8 “One Crown, Four Nations” England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales All unified as under the name: “The United Kingdom”

9 Social Cleavages The British society has often been considered to be divided into three main groups of classes: the Upper Class Often people with inherited wealth. Includes some of the oldest families, with many of them being titled aristocrats. This class usually favors the Conservative Party. the Middle Class The majority of the population of Britain. They include industrialists, professionals, business people and shop owners. This class predominantly tends to vote for the Labour Party, with the Liberal-Democrat Party being a second option. Lower or Working Class People who are agricultural, mine and factory workers. This class predominantly tends to vote for the Labour Party, with the Liberal-Democrat Party being a second option.

10 Judiciary Her Majesty's Courts of Justice of England and Wales are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales; they apply English law, the law of England and Wales, and are established under Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In Great Britain, there is NO written Constitution; however, the judiciary operates off the theory of Common Law as the binding judicial principles of the nation.

11 United Kingdom Supreme Court Judges

12 The UK’s Economy: A Vast Issue The economy of the United Kingdom has been hit by rising oil prices and the credit crisis causing the people of England to be faced with a recession in recent years. The European Union has also created problems for the British government because Britain never trusted in the system created by the EU; therefore, GB was never fully invested into the EU at all. Additionally, unemployment in the UK has become an issue the current government faces as the British economy continues to suffer and more people find themselves out of jobs. Consequently, the economy recession has caused great political debate on the EU current issue & the direction PM Cameron’s economic plan is heading. OR =

13 You be the Economic Judge: Unemployment in Europe & UK Comparison

14 You be the Economic Judge: Unemployment in US & UK Comparison

15 You be the Economic Judge: Current unemployment in UK Can one indeed “Make it in GB”?

16 Politics: The Legislative & Electoral Process Elections are held on Election Day, which is usually on a Thursday. General election have fixed dates, and must be called within five years of parliament following the previous election. The Conservative party won 307 seats and the Labour party won 258 which led to a coalition government because neither party had enough votes to win the election.

17 Party Structure… How it works? ●In Great Britain, political parties operate off the number of seats they obtain in Parliament o ●These seats determine to the influence each party has as policy making depends on the cabinet of the Prime Minister, whose political office is only determined by the majority party in Parliament  ●In this regard, political policy depends on a party’s ability to gain enough seats to win a majority and ultimately have the Prime Minister & his or her cabinet on their side.  ●Each political party chooses its leader in a different way, but all involve all the Members of Parliament of the party and all the individual members of that party. By convention, the leader of the political party with the largest number of members in the House of Commons becomes the Prime Minster

18 What are the Parties? ●Today, GB currently has three major political parties; however, most minority parties have formed: o ●The Labour Party (often called New Labour) – the centre- Left party currently led by Edward Miliband  ●Labour tends to represent the Working Class o ●The Conservative Party (frequently called the Tories) – the centre-Right party currently led by David Cameron o ●The Liberal Democrat Party (known as the Lib Dems) – the centrist, libertarian party currently in a coalition with the Conservative Party.  ●Other Notable Parties include: The Scottish Nationalist Party, Sinn Féin, and Green Party.

19 Political Parties: Labour Party ●Throughout most of the 20th & 21st Century, this party dominated G.B. with Prime Ministers John Smith ( ), Tony Blair ( ), and Gordon Brown ( ); current head is Edward Miliband.  ●During Blair’s Ministry, the “Third-Way”, or middle path, was developed; this “way” influenced society as Trade Unions were disregarded and the “Good Friday” agreement between Northern Ireland was reached in  ●Overall, the Labour Party has the following interesting characteristics:  ●Against Trade-Unions  ●Initially Started the British Welfare State during the late 1940s- 50s  ●Shifted away from Trade Unions with “Old” to “New” Labour Party Platforms

20 Labour Party To what extent does this quotation represent New Labour’s Political Platform?

21 Political Parties: Conservative Party ●The Conservative Party dominated Britain from WWII to 1997 and has been a party based off of the following characteristics: ●In most recent history, there has been division between Pro-Thatcherism (Aka The Thatcherite Wing) and the Traditional Wing.  ●1. Traditional Wing: Focuses primarily on social reforms, and a welfare state and has supported EU membership.  ●2. Thacherite Wing: Focuses primarily on the British Economy, economic liberization, a better Free-Market, and has NOT supported the EU whatsoever. o ●Pro-Economic Free Market, privatization, and more during Margaret Thatcher’s term o ●Centered off of Noblesse Oblige o ●Has annual leadership elections for Party Head  ●Currently, David Cameron is the Party Head and serves as the Prime Minister of Great Britain as well!

22 Conservative Party

23 Political Parties: Liberal Democratic Party ●Known simply as “The Lib Dems”, this political party was founded as a combination of two parties back in 1983 and started campaigning in the  ●Initially was designed to be a compromise between Labour and Conservative Party based off a more centered political platform  ●Have campaigned for a change in the electoral of the house from single-member plurality to proportional so that the party is able to gain more influence and more accurate electoral results  ●Campaigned for a Bill of Rights similar to the U.S. instead of focusing just on Common Law. Currently, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is the head of this party Also, the Lib Dems have formed a coalition government by merging with the Conservative Party to gain a majority over the Labour Party.

24 Liberal Democrats Mr. Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

25 Political Party Discourse: Prime Minister's Question Time ●In Great Britain, the political system of the government allows the overall head of state—the Prime Minister—to be accountable for the direction the government, and his political party, is heading; this comes in the form of weekly “Prime Minister’s Question Time”, in which, all members of Parliament can question the Prime Minister and his cabinets policies.  ●In particular, Prime Minister David Cameron is often seen weekly defending his government against the wrath of Edward Miliband.


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