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Great Britain.

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Presentation on theme: "Great Britain."— Presentation transcript:

1 Great Britain

2 Gradualism Political change in Britain has been gradual
Gradual acceptance of the House of Lords and later the House of Commons through evolution not revolution Signing of Magna Carta, English Civil War, Glorious Revolution Faced challenges of creating the nation-state, overcoming religious and class conflict, and undergoing democratization spread out over centuries 1215 King John signed the Magna Carta which established a limited monarchy and gave the nobles especially some basic rights. Queen Elizabeth II During the 13th and 14th centuries a separate House of Commons developed with tax-raising powers. - During the Civil War of the 1640’s King Charles I was beheaded. The monarchy was later restored with the crowning of his son Charles II. - Later Kings did not always respect Parliaments Power and so led to the Glorious Revolution of A constitutional monarchy was established through the signing of the Bill of Rights whereby William and Mary agreed to restrictions of their power. - Parliament and its ministers got more powerful as the monarchy grew weaker through the succession of Kings. - The King George’s Prime Minister Robert Walpole firmly established the power of the role of Prime Minister in the 18th century. - The Monarchy today has no decision-making power, but as the head of state plays a significant symbolic role.

3 British Decline British economic standing has dropped dramatically in the second half of the 20th Century While by no means a poor country, citizens have a lower standard of living then some other European democracies i.e. France and Germany Economic crisis of 1970’s: Declining industrial production and international influence exaggerated by the loss of colonies Devastating impact of OPEC nd wealthiest country trailing only the US, by 1970’s dropped out of the top 10, by 2000 it ranked 14th -OPEC: quadrupling of oil prices and the oil embargo by oil producing countries caused recession, high unemployment rates, a drop in the GNP, and inflation -economic problems led labor unions to demand higher wages and crippling strikes plagued the nation= led to many middle class voters reacting against labour to elect the conservatives and thatcher

4 Thatcherism Conservative government 1980’s-90’s
Spurred renewal of support for free-market economy Rejected collectivist politics Privatized dozens of companies, reduced spending on social services, curbed power of unions, opposed further involvement in Europe, and reasserted Britain's influence in global affairs Privatization and downsizing of government have remained important trends in policymaking -collectivist consensus: WWII-1960’s, with both labour and conservative parties supporting the development of a modern welfare system, and both parties accepted the beveridge report which provided for a social insurance program that made all citizens eligible for health, unemployment, pension, and other benefits -Controversy over whether the “iron lady” saved the country from bankruptcy and social chaos versus she took it to the brink of disaster and left it in a heartless place with a government that treats the disadvantaged with disinterest and even disdain -her policies reflect the influence of neoliberalism, a term that describes the revival of class liberal values that support low levels of government regulation, taxation, and social expenditures and the protection of individual property rights

5 New Labour Blair shed party’s commitment to nationalized industry and state-based solutions to most of society’s problems Endorsed some of Thatcher’s commitment to a market economy Great concern for equality and a desire to forge more cooperative partnerships linking business, labor, and the government

6 Conservative vs. Labour
Conservatives Largest party on the right Roots lay in the nobility Embody values of the noblesse oblige Historically willing to support a substantial welfare state, changed with Thatcher’s generation View European Union and a single currency as a threat to British sovereignty 1/3 members over 65 Traditionally middle class Labour Largest party on the left Began as alliance b/t trade unions, independent socialist movements, and cooperative associations Criticism for being too extreme to moved towards center Eliminated nationalization of labor from platform and commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament Accepted privatization and much of the rest of Thatcherism’s core Traditionally working class -though not considered a two-party system, the conservatives and labour parties are the the two biggest parties -noblesse oblige: responsibility of the elite to the less fortunate -both sought to maintain the UK’s special relationship with the US

7 Class Divide Class distinctions between the rich and poor have always been prominent factors in British culture In modern day, the more important distinctions are between the middle and working classes Divided psychologically and subjectively as opposed to financially Solidarity: esp with working class, “keeping the old job and living in the old neighborhood” more important than climbing the social ladder Shown in loyalty of the working class to historically stick to the Labour party and the middle class to stick to the Conservative party Most important portal into the elite classes through Oxford and Cambridge, aka “Oxbridge”

8 Education & Class Education= major element in class distinction
For those trying to enter into the realm of the elite, attending Oxford or Cambridge Universities may provide them with their golden ticket Prime Ministers have almost always attended "Oxbridge," and at least 1/4 of the MPs have done so as well “public” schools are expensive and typically enrolled by children of the ruling elite while members of the middle class attend private grammar schools -Beginning in September of 2012, English Universities will have the option of raising tuition originally capped at £3290 (about $5270 in the US) to £9,000 per year (about $14,400 in the US) -While their has been an increase in scholarships to the middle and working classes, the tuition increase may hurt the country's youth where university attendance is much lower than the other industrialized democracies.

9 Literary History (1): Jane Austen
Jane Austen often writes about the upper class She grew up in with a father in the professional middle class and her mother in a higher, gentry class Austen wrote about her situation through many female protagonists such as the rich Emma in Emma and the fallen Elinor and Marianne Dashwood who must go from upper to lower class in Sense and Sensibility (Austen grew up in the early Victorian Era—the hereditary rule showed in the social life/class as one’s surname won most of the fortune for a family)

10 Literary History (2): Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens lived in poverty all his life Due to his family's financial difficulties, he had to drop out of school to work in a factory Dickens wrote about his situation through many novels that showed the oppressions of the lower class, including an orphan in Oliver Twist and the fallen aristocrat Charles Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities. (Dickens grew up during England's Industrial Revolution and showed various inclinations toward socialism)

11 Literary History (3): J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling has had her feet in both upper and lower class After divorcing her husband, Rowling struggled to sustain her family with a job as a teacher which did not pay during the summers. She, therefore, turned to state welfare The Harry Potter saga put J.K. Rowling on top of the British upper class (even above the queen!) J.K. Rowling wrote about her situation via Harry Potter, the boy who went from living under a stairway to living in a castle (She continues to support the Labour Party)

12 Sports The rugby union is a middle and upper-class sport (who tend to support the Conservative Party) Soccer and rugby league appeal to the working class (who tend to support the Labour Party) NOTE: The major difference in league vs union rugby is that the league has less players on field. Also, there is a difference in what happens after a player is tackled Cricket originated in the lower class In December, Cameron decided to cut school sports funding (

13 Britain In the Iraq War Tony Blair has caught a lot of crap from his country because he decided to lead the UK into the Iraq War without UN approval Many believe that he and Bush over-exaggerated the famous “weapons of mass destruction” Though he refuses to admit it, many believe that he insinuated unconditional support to Bush

14 British Slang! codger: n grouch.
As much use as a chocolate teapot. the person or thing referred to is useless. A lick and a promise a job done in a hurry and not thoroughly. Thick as two short planks, could refer to someone who is not that bright. Stop going round the houses, will tell someone that you want them to get to the point. barmpot: n clumsy idiot. barmy: adj idiotic. berk: n idiot. Billy no-mates: n person with no friends blighter: adj guy (or, rather, a more refined, more upper-class version thereof) bloody: adj 1 damned bloody-minded obstinate; determined blooming: adj darned. bugger: 1 n jerk. Or substitute any other inoffensive insult cheeky: adj risqué; just short of rude. cobblers: n rubbish; nonsense. codger: n grouch. git: n technically an insult but has a twinge of jealousy to it. You’d call someone a git if they’d won the Readers’ Digest Prize Draw, outsmarted you in a battle of wits, or been named in Bill Gates’ last will and testament because of a spelling mistake. gormless: adj slightly lacking in the common sense department; a bit daft. muppet: n dimwit naff: adj tacky, ineffectual and generally crap. nosey parker: n a person who takes a little bit too much interest in other people’s goings on. nutter: n someone with a screw loose. off one’s rocker/trolley: adj crazy pikey: n adj white trash. poxy: adj crappy; third-rate. prat: n idiot wally: n dimwit; dunce. wazzack: n idiot.

15 Question Time Held once a week for an hour
Opportunity for the opposition (and sometimes the majority party) to essentially attack the Prime Minister and his cabinet Debates often get quite spirited Speaker of the house presides over the debates to make sure things don’t get out of hand Supposed to be neutral, often not from majority party Allows MP’s to gain attention, cast themselves as future leaders Opposition seen as a “check” on the majority party

16 Activity Caitlin/Augusta = Speaker of the house
We will split the class into Labour and the minority parties (Conservatives) The labour party will nominate someone in their group to be Tony Blair, and the minority group will nominate someone to be David Cameron (should be someone spirited) Each group will have five minutes to come up with questions/opposition dealing with Blair’s intention to join with the US in the Iraq war Aka attack the opposing side! British insults/slang encouraged MP’s encouraged to applaud/cheer when hear things they like or to stand and show outrage when hear things they don’t like Reminder: things are supposed to get rowdy!

17 Discussion Questions What are the pro/cons of question time?
Should this be an aspect of all modern democracies? Why do you think gradualism led to a democratic parliament instead of a socialist state? Do you think socialism is a possibility for future Britain? In what ways do you think the Conservative and Labour parties reflect the US Democratic and Republican parties? Do you think Britain should do away with the monarchy? If you were Tony Blair would you have joined with the US in entering the Iraq War?

18 Discussion Questions Do you think it was wise for Cameron to cut sports funding given London 2012 (Olympics) What do you think the impact of increasing University tuition rates will have on number of students taking advantage of higher education Who do you think had a greater impact on Britain: Thatcher or Blair?

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