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Great Britain: A Detailed Look at an Advanced Democracy

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1 Great Britain: A Detailed Look at an Advanced Democracy
An Introduction of the group! 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. Just a brief recap on the current impression of Great Britain. (Information taken from class notes.)

3 Great Britain: A Unitary State

4 Great Britain: A Unitary State
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 The government of Great Britain is a parliamentary system, with a division between the head of state and the head of government. The current head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. By consent, the head of state forfeits her power but remains in the noblest position as a symbol of national identity. The head of government, on the other hand, holds the primary position in government. David Cameron is the current head of government. Prime Minister David Cameron, therefore, has the authority to speak legitimately for all members of Parliament and, furthermore, for the nation. (Notes taken from the Wood book.)

8 “One Crown, Four Nations”
England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales All unified as under the name: “The United Kingdom” Great Britain is considered “one crown, four nations,” because of the unitary government in place, despite its regional divisions . Great Britain is made of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The governmental unity of the regional divisions has caused many subnational outbursts in the call for independence and has driven citizens to feelings of uncertain cultural identity. (Notes taken from the Wood book.)

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. Great Britain is a multicultural environment: there are various ethnicities and various faiths. Aside from the regional, cultural, and religious divisions, however, there are the social class cleavages that have always caused the major division among the people of Great Britain. The class division in society—as in all societies—consists of an upper class, a middle class, and a lower class. The upper class is, more or less, a bunch of aristocratic families; they tend to vote for the Conservative Party. Next is the middle class, which includes those who work in services or industries. The middle class, as well as the lower class—which is made up of people who work in agriculture, mines, or factories—tend to vote primarily for the Labour Party and secondly for the Liberal Democrats. (Notes from “Social Class,” Project Britain: British Life and Culture by Mandy Barrow and from the Wood book.)

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
The UK Supreme Court Judges

12 The UK’s Economy: A Vast Issue
= OR 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. 

13 You be the Economic Judge: Unemployment in Europe & UK Comparison
(Chart 1) (Chart 2) (Chart 3)

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 ●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 In Great Britain, Party Structure shall be explain by highlighting how the more seats a party has in the House of Commons, the more influence onto Policies and other aspects of government it has. Furthermore, this slide shall also note how the Prime Minister’s Party is the majority party, has the most influence since it’s the party composed of the cabinet, and has to defend itself when a Prime Minster’s Question Time occurs weekly.

18 What are the Parties? ●Today, GB currently has three major political parties; however, most minority parties have formed: ●The Labour Party (often called New Labour) – the centre-Left party currently led by Edward Miliband ●Labour tends to represent the Working Class ●The Conservative Party (frequently called the Tories) – the centre-Right party currently led by David Cameron ●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. This slide will highlight each of the major parties: Labour, Conservative, Lib Dems, etc. Great Britain is broken down based off multi-party system yet, due to both single member plurality districts, minority parties often have difficulty gaining real influence and seats in the House of Commons. Also, most parties are also arranged off of various interest, platforms-unlike Russia with its emphasis primarily on the individual candidate (i.e. Putin and United Russia)-and even can be formed based off of political beliefs held within a certain region (i.e. Scottish Nationalist Party and Scotland).

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 1998. ●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 A breakdown of Labour Party and it’s history through Tony Blair’s “Third-Way” to today’s leader, Edward Miliband. In GB, Labour party was initially founded off of a central belief of the importance of labour protection, unions, and the overall rights of the worker; however, now over time, “New-Labour” took a drastic platform shift towards building the economy instead of focusing on the social worker’s rights and trade unions.

20 Labour Party Images to supplement the “snapshot” of today’s Labour Party. The significance of the New Labour Party’s platform quotation will be asked to the Class so that they may participate actively in the Presentation. 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. ●Pro-Economic Free Market, privatization, and more during Margaret Thatcher’s term ●Centered off of Noblesse Oblige ●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! A brief introduction to GB’s Conservative Party and its history of domination through WWII to Additionally, this slide will explain how their has been a split within the party over time with the significance of Margaret Thatcher’s Prime Ministry during the 1980s. (Platform emphasis on Social Reforms and a Welfare State = Traditional Wing) (Platform emphasis on Economic Reforms and a Free Market = Thacherite Wing)

22 Conservative Party Imagery to supplement the current “snapshot” of the 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 1987. ●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. The Liberal Democratic Party is the Political Party that was formed by a combination of two minority parties (Liberal and Social Democratic) in The party has campaigned for changing the electoral in GB since it’s true election results have not translated into it seats within the House of Congress due to the current Single-Member District Plurality system in place. This Party, has also, interestingly enough, worked towards building a Bill of Rights similar to the USA considering there is not written constitution in GB. The current coalition government is in placed with the Lib Dems agreeing to merge with the Conservative Party; hence, Prime Minster Davis Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

24 Liberal Democrats Mr. Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Imagery to supplement the overall “snapshot” of today’s Liberal Democratic party. 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. This slide shall explain how each week, democracy is enacted in GB as the majority party, Prime Minster, and his Cabinet, must defend any and all questions, policies, etc asked by the minority party to ensure a sense of party “discipline”, as well as confidence in the majority party’s direction of government.

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