Presentation on theme: "United Kingdom!. Whats in a Name? NOT England Britain or United Kingdom Republic of Ireland is a separate state – 93% Catholic Ulster (N. Ireland) is."— Presentation transcript:
Whats in a Name? NOT England Britain or United Kingdom Republic of Ireland is a separate state – 93% Catholic Ulster (N. Ireland) is 55% Protestant, 45% Catholic
South=London and environs –83% of UK is here –dominates the country politically, economically, culturally –Regional problems – Scotland, Wales, N. England jealous of Souths clout and money
Nations, SPEG For a Liberal Democracy, 4 nations is odd –England, Scotland, Wales, Ulster (N. Ireland) –All 4 nations are represented by World Cup teams Globally legitimate via –EU, permanent member of UNSC, NATO, Nuclear Club, G7, Head of British Commonwealth (former British colonies)
Some Government Basics Unitary state with devolution –Decentralized government, but not Federal –Nations (Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland) have been given assemblies that make laws, but that power can be taken away by Parliament Socialism! –Nationalization Key industries taken over by the state –Health, steel, railroads
Government! Dignified and Efficient Institutions –Dignified Not elected, hold little actual political power. However, they remain politically important by providing stability, continuity, and Traditional legitimacy House of Lords, Monarchy –Efficient Elected, powerful Not held in high esteem Prime Minister/Cabinet and House of Commons
Monarchy Political responsibilities include: –Monarch and PM meet weekly (Wednesdays); meetings remain confidential –Reads the State of Parliament Address which annually opens the session of Parliament (not written by Queen)State of Parliament Address –Following a general election, should no party hold a majority in House of Commons, the Queen names a PM from the party most likely to be able to govern (has happened 3 times in Queens reign) –Is symbolically Britains Commander in Chief –Is responsible for keeping public opinion favorable towards the institution of the monarchy as opposed to a Republic
Monarchs may not vote, should not make political opinion known –Charles (Prince of Wales, in line for crown) has become an outspoken opponent of GM (genetically modified foods) Knows he wont be king? –Remain apolitical
House of Lords –upper house –holdover from aristocratic past –not elected; appointed by House of Commons –all bills pass through the HoL –Powers: May introduce legislation Power to delay legislation passed by the HoC for several months, but not defeat it –Important power! Highest Court of appeal in Britain –Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (Law Lords) –until 2009 when a new Supreme Court will start
Peers –Lords Spiritual 25 bishops/archbishops of Anglican Church mostly honorary; usually dont attend –Life Peers Reward for notable public service All former PMs automatically –Hereditary Peer Prior to 1997 made up the greatest number –Titled Duke, etc. –Passed on from parent to kid New Labour (political party) in stages has knocked down numbers of hereditary peers from 800 to fewer than 100 Had already lost ability to vote and debate, so it didnt matter significantly
Queen sits here for special occasions House of Lords
House of Commons SMDP (aka First Past the Post (dont you just love the British?)) 646 members Three main parties: –New Labour In power (354 seats), headed by Gordon Brown, Prime Minister –Conservatives (aka Tories) Main opponent (197 seats), headed by David Cameron –Liberal Democrats Small group (only 63 seats), led by Menzies Campbell
Gordon Brown New Labour David Cameron Tories Menzies Campbell Liberal Democrats Pronounced Ming-iss
Parliamentary system! –The majority party controls the government –100% of their agenda should get passed –Dual executive The main minority party creates a shadow government, with its leader as shadow PM –Its job: complain about the policies of the party in charge and offer plans of how they would do things differently –Each shadow cabinet post is filled –After an election, if the minority party becomes the majority, the shadow government takes over and becomes the real government
Speaker of the House Her Majestys Government (Backbenchers) Her Majestys Loyal Opposition PM and Ministers Opposition Leaders (Shadow Government) Viewing Gallery Table (to keep them apart)
Prime Minister Serves as both the executive (leader of the majority party) and as an elected member to a district of parliament Powers: –Determines what Britains legislation will be (party discipline is quite strong) –Decides when parliamentary elections will be held –Decides the size of the cabinet and who will fill what posts –Reports to the monarch once a week –Reports to the House of Commons once a week for Prime Ministers Questions ~30 minutes in which the opposition can challenge the government
The PM is usually –A seasoned politician, having been an MP for 20+ years (Major and Blair are exceptions) –A previous cabinet or shadow cabinet member Married in 2000 Recently diagnosed with CF
The cabinet Consists of the heads of all major government departments All members are also elected members of Parliament Usually called ministers –Think of Minister of Magic in Harry Potter! In Britain the most prestigious cabinet posts are Foreign Secretary (David Miliband), Minister of Defense (Des Brown), and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Alistair Darling, usually heir- apparent)
The Cabinet Jacqui Smith Home Secretary Alistair Darling Chancellor of the Exchequer David Miliband Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Question: Who is more likely to have a larger cabinet: New Labour or the Conservatives? Why?
Terms to know: The PM enforces party discipline in several ways: –The notion of collective responsibility, by which ministers and the PM can argue privately about a policy but once the policy is agreed to, the entire cabinet presents a positive front to the public and the media –Cabinet reshuffles are not uncommon and they reward loyalty and punish disloyalty –Backbenchers (those MPs not on the cabinet) are kept in line by the lure of safe seats. A safe seat is a district from which the party generally wins. Vote with the party or lose the safe seat come election time.
Free vote – matters of conscience –Not a party-line vote –Ethical decisions like age of gay sex, fox hunting
Parliamentary Elections 1979 – Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives (take over) 1983 – Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives 1987 – Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives –Thatcher Resigns in 1990 –John Major takes over 1992 – John Major and the Conservatives 1996 – (off-year election!) –John Major and the Conservatives –Conservatives – 323 seats –New Labour – 322 seats 1997 – Tony Blair and New Labour (take over) –New Labour takes over – 420 seats –Conservatives – 150 seats
Margaret Thatcher: PM 1979-1990 Controversial beginnings –Era from 1945-1979 was The British Disease Her own party (conservatives) buy into the Welfare State supposition, even when they were in power! Her legacy: steer her party to the right! –Didnt end socialism, but paired it back significantly
Became shadow leader in 1975 –Winter of 78 and 79 Labour was wounded by a series of strikes – 3 at the same time! Transit, Garbage, Electricity Winter of Discontent –Led to Conservative win in 1979
Against: –Emergence of entrenched welfare state (cradle to grave safety net), and the higher taxes to pay for it –Nationalization of many industries British Air, British Steel, British Petroleum, British Rail –Increasingly powerful labor unions with frequent strikes and pay hikes –Relative decline economically compared to other liberal democracies (Japan, France, US, W. Germany) –Politicians too quick to cave into Labor and other special interests
In office: Thatchers legacy Lowering taxes Entrepreneurship encouraged –Richard Branson of Virgin was working class! Encouraging competition by reducing subsidies –Universities! Privatized industries –British Air, Steel, Telecom, Jaguar, Rolls Royce –council homes = projects – subsidized housing sold most of them off! Homelessness up
Declared war on unions –Battle against coal miners 84-85 Strike, scabs, Army, police Outlawed secondary strikes and closed shop –Unions affiliated with strike would also strike –Must join unions –Refusal to compromise There is no alternative Mixed economic results: –Inflation went down with taxes –Unemployment and homelessness go up
Falklands War (1982) –Tiny islands off the coast of Argentina with a combined population of 3,000 people and 583,000 sheep –Claimed by UK since 1833 –Argentine forces invaded the islands on April 2 –The UK sent a naval task force that took back the islands, but not after ~900 soldiers had died –Helped Thatchers Conservative government in the 1983 elections
John Major: PM 1990-1997 Working class – parents were carnies Freshman MP in 1979 He governed – but never led – the Tories. –True? Or just media?
Legacy: –Lots of squabbling about EU –BSE – Mad Cow Disease EU ban on British beef Tony Blair took him to town over this (from shadow government) –sleaze scandals bribes to ask certain questions about certain companies sex scandals –55 year old Tory MP had sex with his 17 year old babysitter –IRA violence in 1996 –The Party was charged with being ideologically bankrupt Valid claim? Probably.
Tony Blair and New Labour 1994 John Smith (Labour leader) died, and Tony Blair took over party leadership Created a Third Way between Socialism and Thatcherism Article IV of Labour Charter: fundamentally a socialist party –Blair had it removed (with a party vote) –Labour moves right –New Labour, now!
1997 election –Promised people no tax hikes pragmatic, centrist, electable –Decrease NHS waiting list Hard to reconcile with no tax hikes! –Decrease class size in schools Sleaze also hits Labour –Peter Mandelson – loans from Indian Arms Dealers
Legacy: Virtually have ended Hereditary Peers Referendum on Euro to be held after it passed 5 criteria –They examine the effect of joining the euro on jobs, on the financial services industry and on foreign investment. –Unlikely that it will ever pass the 5 criteria Introduced Britains first-ever minimum wage –Part of the New Deal Program for young low-skill workers to give them skills for service high-tech community UK unemployment lowest of EU!
Devolution –Decentralization of some power away from the House of Commons Step toward Federalism, but this power could be taken away from the local communities any time Scotland and Wales got Assemblies London got its own mayor N. Ireland also got its own Assembly These assemblies have more control of local issues, i.e. property tax) Its been pretty successful so far, except in N. Ireland and mayor of London –Mayor is Ken Livingstone »Created a Congestion tax »Limit cars traveling in downtown London »Thorn in Blairs side: left party!
Tony Blair in the Ugly Rumours (an early 1970s Grateful Dead cover band)
In 2001 New Labour should have been vulnerable –Millennium Dome Waste of money, complete flop –Wembley Stadium torn down, rebuilt Old, but cherished –Foot and Mouth disease Kills livestock New Labour slow and indecisive –NL still stomped the Conservatives NL – 412; Cons – 166
In 2005-2006 saw power slipping –2005 election Reginald Keys –Ran against Blair in Blairs district on anti-War ticket –Son Tom had been killed (executed?) in Iraq –Made Blair look bad –Regs speech widely publicized: Its 88! »(Blair didnt know the number of Brits killed in Iraq) Losing seats: NL – 356; Cons – 198 –Losing support Terror bill doesnt pass HoC –Allowed police to hold suspects for 90 days without charge Out of touch with party?
Gordon Brown as PM Blair announced his resignation on May 10, 2007, and Brown was the immediate choice as new leader of New Labour Commissioned by the Queen as PM on June 27, 2007
Brown had been waiting for this for 10 years –He and Blair had been friends and competitors since 1994 Sometimes there were major fallings-out between the two Blair became the leader, Brown the policy and numbers guy First elected to Parliament in 1983 –Represents the small Scottish district of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
There were questions about his political savvy: will he make a good leader? –The Conservatives were excited about Brown as PM –So far he has surprised everyone with his political savvy and ability to handle the opposition; so much so, that the Conservatives have backed off and tried to reassess their positions Brown is a little left of Blair, and will probably bring back many of the Socialist policies NL abandoned earlier
Back to the question: Knowing what you know about the Tories and New Labour, which do you think would have a bigger cabinet? Why?
Jenkins Report –Commissioned by New Labour to review electoral system Proposal to alter First Past the Post to a hybrid SMDP + PR Jenkins died in 2003 No referendum has happened yet –Liberal Democrats would love it Why?
Issues with N. Ireland N. Ireland –The Troubles – low-level civil war from 1970 to now IRA – Irish Republican Army Orange Order – paramilitary on other side –Marching season Belfast – Orangemen march though main Catholic neighborhoods, rubbing noses Super tense!
Groups involved: –Radical Groups: UDP: Ulster Democratic Party –Ulster Freedom Fighters Sinn Fein: Political wing of the IRA (5 seats in HoC that stay empty) –IRA: Irish Republican Army –Less-radical groups UUP: Ulster Unionist Party (once big, now small) SDLP: Social Democratic and Labour Party (3 seats) DUP: Democratic Unionist Party (9 seats in HoC) –Not officially connected to paramilitary groups
Good Friday Peace Agreement (1998) Over 3000 deaths since 1970 in just Ulster –Peace needed! Won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998
4 parts –Referenda: each in Ulster Convicted murderers on both sides gain release from prison (Orange Order, IRA) Wording removed from Irelands Constitution that Ulster, by definition, was part of the Republic of Ireland N. Ireland to receive its own Assembly Decommissioning – disarming – both paramilitaries were to turn in weapons within a year –Referenda were passed in both parts of Ireland 99% in Republic of Ireland 75% in Ulster
Whats happened? –Murderers released –Wording removed –N. Ireland got assembly –Groups hesitated on disarming – took more than a year – but it finally happened recently!
Other UK Issues SNP - Scottish National Party –Want a state of Scotland –6 seats in Parliament, might get majority in Scottish Assembly BNP - British National Party –Skinheads, soccer hooligans –Violent –No seats in Parliament –Want the immediate deportation of immigrants out of the EU to reinstate the death penalty
Education Public School –Private and exclusive – prepare pupils for public service –Public schools lead to Oxford, Cambridge, and generally more connections State schools –Regular education funded by tax money –Big issue in the UK: how to provide better schools and better education? Trust schools - independently established with control over admissions and budget Mergers between high and low-performing schools
NHS National health care system –Costs £104B ($210B) annually –Paid for by tax money –Almost everyone uses it; a few have private insurance as a backup Problems –Long waiting lists for surgeries, consultations –Access: free health care means lots of gratuitous visits, so doctors have to follow guidelines about who they see and who they dont. Some patients just outside those rules are left without care.
Class Social class divisions – lines are pretty strict, although it is not based on money –Based on lineage and education –Not a lot of class mobility –Working class, middle class tend not to blend Middle Class = professional managerial Working Class = skilled or unskilled, union members, etc. Identifiable based on your preference of newspaper, accent, neighborhood, football club, etc.