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Transcript of Britain
The House of Parliment
GDP: 2.445 trillion USD
7.7% (Feb 2013)
By: Nina Bounpheng
and Artaysia Brooks
The United Kingdom consists of 4 nations
‘Britain’ did not exist until approximately 6500 BC - English channel formed separating Britain from the rest of Europe
Prime Minister David Cameron
Deputy Prime Minister: Nick Clegg
Structure Of Government
Queen is a symbol of what the government is suppose to do
Westminster is all of the British Government. The main buildings with this district are:
Whitehall: Where all the major government departments are located
Downing street: Is where the Prime Minister works
Parliament: Is the House of Commons (elected members) and House of Lords (non elected members
Britain has never had a written constitution.
It has a unwritten constitution that is a jumble of acts of parliament, judicial pronouncements, customs, and conventions that make the rules for the political games.
Its vagueness makes it flexible. For example Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher used it to increase their power
It can be changed by a majority vote in parliament or by the government acting in a unprecedented manner
Final authority rests with parliament
Courts cannot declare acts of parliament unconstitutional. Judges can only asks if executive acts are within authoritative powers
If courts rule that government inappropriately exercised their authority, it can be annulled by a Act of Parliament authoritative action.
How are Rights of British People Protected?
The rights of the british people are protected by governors.
If a person feels that their rights are infringed they can seek redress through the courts by invoking EU convention of Human Rights (1998) or the Britain Human Rights act adopted in emulation of it.
The Crown is a abstract concept that Britain uses in place of the European conception of the state
It combines parts of the constitution to sanctify authority by tradition and myth with parts that carry out the work of government
The queen is the ceremonial head of state. She does not influence her majesty's government. she is to respect the will of parliament as said to her by the prime minister.
What is the prime minister?
The prime ministers position is ambiguous and he or she has a lot of responsibilities and less time to devote to any one task
He is a prisoner of the law
61 Countries once made up the British Empire
Population: 61.8 million
Head of State:
Queen Elizabeth II
Derives from 4 main categories
Family and Gender
Children learn different social roles according to gender even though as an adult that have the same legal right
Gender difference leads to differences in political participation
2/3 of local government councilors are men and 1/3 are women
Women make up half the employees in the civil service but mainly concentrated in lower level clerical jobs
Family is one of the primary ways a child is politically socialized
A child may not know the difference between all the parties are but if their parents are for a certain party that is enough to create a political identification for them
Strongly related to active participation in politics
Half a century ago Britain had only a few university but today it has 116 universities
Old Myth: The more education a person has, the more likely they are to be a Conservative
First imperative of the prime minister is to
They are self interested not self employed.
Elected leader of their party.
There has been seven since 1945 (Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Home, Callaghan, Major, and Gordon Brown)
They enter downing street in the middle of parliament rather than after the national election
18 elections since 1945. 10 times led to governing party winning 8 times suffered defeat
The Second imperative of THE Prime Minister is to
campaign through the media
Does not need to attract publicity
The media is double edged sword (bad in bad light)
Their personality has to stay constant
Popularity can fluctuate normally it is about 45% in public opinion polls
The third imperative of the Prime Minister is
Keep the confidence in the party and if coalition keep confidence in it
Critics since that 1/4 of MPS not appointed as government ministers sit on front bench seats in the house of commons.
MPS not appointed are back backbenchers who ingrate themselves with party leader to become government ministers
Patronage uses these four things: personal loyalty(friends), co-option(silence critics give office committed to support government), representatives(appointing women, Scots, and welsh), and competence direction to government department.
The fourth imperative of the prime minister is
Appears in the house of commons for about thirty minutes and they get questions from MPS, rapid fire repartee, and partisan audience,
Shows good advocates of government or suffer losing confidence,
Participating in voting gives the mood of the government party.
The fifth imperative of the prime minister is making and balancing policies
Deals with heads of other governments.
Foreign affairs are special responsibilities of downing street.
Conflicts between international and domestic policies priorities they balance between pressure of the world and domestic electorate.
Policy striking the balance between ministers. The better the economy in Britain increases popularity.
Treasury ministers cut taxes to boost popularity.
A couple of the countries were:
The United States
Historically, parties have been divided by class terms
Conservative- Middle Class
Labour - Working Class
Class is an important factor because there are no major divisions in race, religion, or language
Less than two-fifth of voters now conform to the stereotype of party association
The media's emphasis on current events makes it an agency for re-socializing people
British press is sharply divided
Most papers lean toward one specific party
Television is the primarily source of political news
Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990
Prime Minister of
from 1997 to 2007
Deputy prime minister
If the LDP supports the prime minister depends on parliament majority.
He bargained a lot for the patronage coalition pact.
He balanced the demands of each party and had policy commitments that they could agree on
He has the ability to get the attention of the media on an issue.
He wants to change the electoral system to remove handicaps
Formal powers remain constant
View of the job
Impact on government
Attlee Prime minister of Britain 1945-1951. Labor party
Prime minister of Britain from 1945-1951
He represented the labor party
He was an unassertive spokesman
He had low views within a cabinet of labor politicians
Winston Churchill was the prime minister of Britain from 1940-1945 and again 1951-1955
prime minister of Britain 1940-1945 and again from 1951-1955
He succeeded Attlee
Concentrated on foreign affairs
Had little interest in domestic policy like Eden.
Macmillan was the prime minister of Britain from 1957-1963
He intervened strategically on a limited number of international and domestic issues
He gave ministers a great scope on everyday matters
At home he was weak and lacked knowledge of economic affairs and problems
Wilson was the prime minister of
Britain from 1964-1970 and again from 1974-1976
Heath was prime minister of
Wilson and Heath
Both were committed to activist definition of the prime minister job
Wilson was unsuccessful in his economic policy.
The 1974 electorate rejected Heath's direction of the economy
Wilson won again by promising to replace confrontation between management and unions with political conciliation
She had strong views about a lot of major policies.
Her nickname was Tina because of her motto: There is no alternative.
She pushed vie against the wishes of the cabinet and civil service advisers.
She caused revolt with cabinet advisers led to her downfall.
Colleges welcomed Major as replacement.
Major was the prime minister of Britain from 1990 to 1997
His conciliatory manner seen as a weakness
Sniping ministers referred to the cabinet as bastards
Tony Blair was the prime minister
of Britain from 1997-2007
He had opposition to getting the middle class vote and businesses.
He paid little attention to traditional labor party activists and trade union officials.
Cabinet was suppose to support strategy on pain losing favor with downing street
Brown was prime minister
of Britain from 2007-2010
While he was in charge of the treasury he used his power of the purse to influence the cabinet colleagues and to build support for hasten Blair's leave and his own succession.
Fell out of favor and party wanted to change leadership.
Blair's personalized leadership led to the view of Britain's present system of government:
Britain's prime minister has less formal authority and less security of office.
Prime minister is chosen by the party for a indefinite term. Loss of office if confidence wanes.
Senior colleagues of prime minister are rivals for leadership and are kept in cabinet to prevent them from challenging.
With support from cabinet and party confidence legislative proposals can be enacted into law.
At the apex of unitary government powers are not limited by the courts or a written constitution.
Coalition Government's distinction
Role of the deputy prime minister more important than the United States vice president.
(Clegg) The party leader votes for prime minister and major cabinet members so they depend on him for their jobs.
The people who disagree must bargain with the deputy prime minister than to give orders to him
The Cabinet and Cabinet Ministers
The cabinet is the senior ministers appointed by the prime minister: Members of the house of commons or lords
As MP's/ministers they contribute to the close union of the complete fusion of executive and legislative powers
Historically they are a forum in which the prime minister brings together leading the members of the governing party. Competing on departmental interests and ambitions. Ensuring agreement on major government policies
Cabinet and cabinet ministers continued
Half a century ago, two cabinet meetings were held a week. It took them several hours to arrive at a political consensus.
Blair reduced the meetings to less than once a week and cut average length to lower than an hour.
Coalition government revived the need for cabinet meetings.
The convention of cabinet responsibility requires all cabinet members to give public support to or at least refrain from public criticism of what the government is doing even if they oppose the policy
Cabinet and Cabinet members continued
Cabinet ministers are important as department heads because most decisions of the government are made by departments and are responsible for overseeing all the services of the government.
Most are subject to and distant from Whitehall
Whitehall departments differ.
Cabinet ministers go along silently with colleagues proposals in exchange for endorsement of their own measures.
They are responsible for actions taken by civil servants actions on ministers behalf and must answer for agencies that are increasingly contacting Whitehall.
They are responsible for delivering public services
Political Culture: the values
and beliefs about how
the country ought to be governed
Regardless of political party preference, the great majority of British people believe that government should provide...
Less than 1 in 5 Britons trust political parties
Barely 1 in 3 trust their Parliament
Voting- one of the main primary ways of political participation
Competitive elections bring higher turnout
Party volunteers - more likely to participate in nonpolitical groups
Voter turnout for general election
has fallen from
a high of 84% in 1950 to as low as 59%
Number of way for political participation
Signing a petition
Contacting political official
Every citizen aged 18 and up are allowed to
Local government officials register voters
List is revised annually
What the Future Holds?
Government can continue months without new legislation but if civil servants stopped administering laws and delivering public services it would collapse.
Largest number of clerical staff with little discretion. They carry out routine activities of the large bureaucracy.
They are an important group, but the smallest. There are fewer than 100 higher civil servants. They advise ministers and oversee works of their departments.
The top ones deny that they are politicians because of partisan connotations of the term. Work is political because it is involved in formulating and advising on policies.
Top bipartisan ones work for either party that wins a election, think like politicians, anticipate what ministers would want and object, and would be raised by parliament, interest groups, and media.
They can carry a departments cause to victory and the relationship between them and ministers are critical.
Role of Parliament
House of Commons are not a major party and they have no votes because votes are passed on the opposite party in hope to win the next election.
Whitehall departments draft bills presented to parliament
Laws are acts of parliament (Made in Whitehall).
The government budget for government programs.
House of Commons: 1. weigh political representation 2.demand government do something about issue and force ministers to explain and and defend it (party whip) 3. publicizing issues 4. examine how Whitehall departments administer public policies (ombudsman) 5. investigating complaints and maladministration.
House of Lords use to be hereditary and use to be appointed for life. It was abolished and now 1/25 are cross-benchers and can delay or amend the passage of bills
The Courts and Abuses of Power
In 2009 the supreme court replaced the highest court operating as a committee of the House of lords.
The courts present 2 justices were appointed by a panel of lawyers
Official secrecy- Information is scarce and need to know dominates the right to know.
Government as a Network
Policy making is a network of the prime minister, ministers, leading civil servants, and political advisers. They share the village life at Whitehall.
The growth of government has increased specialization and policy makers see less of each other.
In the given issue a small number of people are involved in the core executive group that makes decision.
People in decision network are a floating population.
The prime minister is the most important person in government.
There is no written constitution, so the prime minister can challenge the status quo and turn government to fresh ends. He however is not involved in social security.
Scarcity of time is a major influence on the prime minister.
in coalition government decisions cannot be made by a single politician because of inter party agreement.
Each department thinks high ranking civil servants are more knowledgeable of the department problems than cabinet members
Organizing group interests
Civil society institutions discuss specific policies with public officials to put pressure on the government to argue what the public interest is and promote based on groups interest.
Demands vary, the nature of the interests vary on material objectives or single causes
Interests groups have voluntary and charitable associations.
Interest groups don't try contesting elections they aim to influence policies.
Party politicians want to distant themselves from interest groups.
When they lobby they try to identify which officials are most important in making public policy. 1. Prime Minister 2. Cabinet 3. Media 4. Senior servants. Less than 1% of MP's outside minister ranks are considered important
Contacts in a government department concerned with issue is little to public concern
The Confederation of British industries
Large number of members
Institute of directors are from top of small and large businesses
They have direct contact with Whitehall and ministers regardless of party.
Important for British economy and international economy
The Chief Labor organization
Trade Unions Congress
Trade unions that represent different types of workers white and blue collar workers
Affiliated with labor party, communists, or Maoists
They don't support party of Liberal Democrats
Employment changes hurt unions and less than 1/4 belong to one
White collar workers: teachers and health service
Less than 1/6 of private sector workers join
More than 1/2 of public sector are in trade unions
Representatives control wages so strikes are an embarrassment to government
What interest Groups want
3 major goals: sympathetic administration of established policies, information about government policies, and influencing policy making and implementation.
Centralization of authority in government means they must treat political values and priorities of the government of the day
Insider groups values in harmony with every party; however they are restricted to what is politically possible in a short time.
Outsider groups are unable to negotiate because demands are inconsistent with party power. They campaign through the media and keep interest groups at a distance.
Keeping interest groups at distance
Whitehall civil servants find it convenient to deal with united interests groups that can implement agreements. After WWII general ministers endorsed corporatist philosophy of bringing business, trade unions and political representatives together to discuss controversial issues. ex: inflation and employment.
Thatcher State distancing keeping government out of market place activities. Legislation to achieve goals and less reliance on negotiations with interest groups
Single member district
First past the post (winner takes all)
Major parties Conservative, Labor, and Liberal Democrats
A bill is proposed to parliament.
It is then debated on by each house of parliament (The House of Commons and the House of Lords)
If it is approved and given a royal assent it is then made into a law
Many ministers do not want to be in charge of delivering the law created to avoid charge of political interference, but somebody has to do it.
The Prime minister likes to do it if it focuses on high politics, but most of the time it is up to them to work together to make sure the law or act is implemented.
Fun Fact #2
The British drink
tea in the world,
Fun Fact #1
The official home of the monarch whether King or Queen is Buckingham palace.
Fun Fact #3
The summer olympic games have been held in London three times; in 1908, 1948, and 2012
Fun Fact #4
England was the first industrialized nation after the industrial revolution that began around 1760.
Britain could possible become smaller
Scotland will have an election whether to leave Britain or not in 2014
Could be a domino effect for other nations
Britain's main problem now is immigration and now they are trying to work on the future and see how to go about it.
To stay or not to stay in the European Union
Britain is the only country in the EU that does not use the Euro
Most Britons believe that Britain should not be involved in the EU but the United States prefers they stay
Due to the Labour government in 1997 endorsing devolution, most of the countries that have made up Britain are thinking of leaving.
Devolution: an Act of Parliament that gave responsibilities for policy to elect assemblies in Scotland and in Wales and came into being in 1999.
To stay or not to stay in the EU
Britain is the only country in the EU that has not converted to the Euro
Many Britons prefer that the country stays out of the EU but the United States suggest they stay in
There no written constitution so rules and
regulations are not challenged and
can be changed depending on who runs