chapter 8 l.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Chapter 8 PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Chapter 8

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 46

Chapter 8 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Chapter 8. Great Britain. Legitimacy. The government of Great Britain has developed gradually, so that tradition is a primary source of stability

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Chapter 8' - MikeCarlo

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
chapter 8

Chapter 8

Great Britain

  • The government of Great Britain has developed gradually, so that tradition is a primary source of stability
  • Great Britain’s constitution is unwritten having evolved from different documents, common law, legal codes, and customs often referred to collectively as the “Constitution of the Crown” (Constitutional Monarchy)
  • Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights are central documents in the formation of the British “constitution”
historical evolution of british politics
Historical Evolution of British Politics
  • Magna Carta(1215) – King John agreed to consult the nobles before he made important decisions, in particular regarding taxes
  • Limited government – restrictions on the monarch began with the Magna Carta
historical evolution of british politics part ii
Historical Evolution of British Politics Part II
  • English Civil War (1640s) – civil war between the supporters of King Charles I and Parliament (Roundheads).
  • Roundheads won, Charles I is executed
  • Oliver Cromwell leads during this time until Parliament reinstates the monarch (Charles II)
  • The Glorious Revolution (1688) – officially established Parliament as the ruling body of Great Britain. The agreement signed between William & Mary and Parliament was known as the Bill of Rights
historical evolution of british politics part iii
Historical Evolution of British Politics Part III
  • Industrial Revolution
    • Great Britain evolves from feudal society to one dominated by colonial mercantilism
    • Imperialism
    • Trade
political culture
Political Culture


  • Island
  • Small in size
  • No major geographical barriers
  • Temperate climate
  • Short supply of fertile soil
political beliefs values
Political Beliefs & Values
  • Through 1960s British political culture characterized by:
    • Trust
    • Deference to authority and competence
    • Pragmatism
    • Harmony
    • High voter participation
political beliefs values continued politics of protest
Political Beliefs & Values continued: “Politics of Protest”
  • 1970s and beyond: Altered views
    • Less supportive of collective consensus
    • Support for free market economy
    • Decreasing support for labor unions
    • Increased violence in Northern Ireland
    • Thatcherism
    • New Labour (Third Way)
political culture part ii
Political Culture Part II


  • Feeling of separation, in particular from the continent of Europe
  • Sense of exceptionalism
  • Has created friction with the EU
  • Different from isolationism
political culture part iii
Political Culture Part III

Noblesse Oblige

  • Important tradition in British politics
  • The duty of the upper classes to take responsibility for the welfare of the lower classes
  • Legacy of feudal times (Lords protected serfs)
  • Reflected in willingness of British citizens to accept a welfare state
  • Margaret Thatcher’s administration challenged this by significantly cutting social services and social welfare programs
political culture part iv multi nationalism
Political Culture Part IV:Multi-nationalism
  • Although Britain has a relatively large amount of cultural homogeneity (Anglo/white) it is divided into four nations
    • England
    • Scotland
    • Wales
    • Northern Ireland
political culture part v extension of voting rights
Political Culture Part V:Extension of Voting Rights
  • Great Reform Act of 1832: About 300,000 men gained right to vote, House of Commons gained more power in relation to House of Lords
  • Reform Act of 1867: electorate reaches 3 million, many working class people allowed to vote
  • Representation of the People Act of 1884: electorate is further expanded to make sure that majority of electorate is working class
  • Women’s Suffrage: all women over the age of 28 and all men over 21 granted the right to vote in 1918. By 1928, all women over 21 allowed to vote.
collective consensus
Collective Consensus
  • Began during WWII with Churchill’s emphasis on putting class differences aside in order to work together to defeat Germany
  • Churchill headed an all-party coalition government during WWII (He was originally elected as a Conservative)
  • The spirit of collective consensus continued beyond the war well into the 1960s.
  • Both Labour and Conservative parties supported the development of the modern welfare system
  • Beveridge Report – adopted by both parties during the war made all citizens eligible for health, unemployment, pension, and other welfare benefits
  • National Health Service (1948) – created under the leadership of the Labour Party
  • Largest region of Great Britain
  • Makes up 2/3 of the land mass
  • English have dominated the other nationalities historically, and still hold a disproportionate share of political power
  • History of resistance to English rule
  • Strong sense of national identity
  • Have their own flag
  • Recently granted their own parliament and regional assembly (devolution)
  • Scottish National Party – political party of the region of Scotland
  • Became subject to the King of England in 16th century
  • Located west of England
  • Plaid Cymru – Welch national political party
  • Strong sense of national pride reflected in their flag and in their own language
  • Granted their own assembly (devolution)
northern ireland
Northern Ireland
  • Long history of conflict between England and Ireland, particularly over religion
  • After the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell attempted to impose Protestantism on the mostly Catholic Ireland
  • After WWI home rule was granted to Ireland except for the northeast corner where Protestants outnumbered Catholics, 60% to 40%
  • Home rule was granted largely because of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) which used guerrilla tactics against British forces to secure independence
  • Sinn Fein – political party of the IRA
  • In 1949 the bulk of Ireland officially became independent
  • Northern Ireland remains under British control
  • Their continues to be a great deal of conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland
education political elite recruitment
Education & Political Elite Recruitment
  • “Public schools” originally were intended to train boys for “public life” in the military, civil service, or politics
  • Majority of Britain’s political elites go to public boarding schools
  • Currently only about 65% of British 17-year olds are still in school, the lowest number of any industrialized society
  • Oxbridge (Oxford-Cambridge) – the most important portal to membership in the elite classes and political recruitment is through these two prestigious universities
ethnic minorities
Ethnic Minorities
  • Make up about 8% of the British population
    • Indian (23%)
    • Pakistani (16%)
    • Afro-Caribbean (13%)
    • Black African (11%)
  • British government is a unitary system (centralized control)
  • Starting in the 1970s the Scots and Welsh made an aggressive push for certain political autonomy in their regions
  • Devolution – the turning over of some political power and autonomy to regional governments
  • The Labour Party had supported the idea of devolution since the 1970s
  • Margaret Thatcher’s administration blocked the idea during the period in which they controlled government
  • Under Tony Blair’s New Labour Party the idea of devolution was revisited
  • In 1999, referendums in Scotland and Wales successfully passed, and each established their own regional assemblies: powers of taxation, education, and economic planning
  • In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement established a parliament for Northern Ireland as well, but it was shut down by London in 2003 when violence broke out once again in the region of Northern Ireland.
linkage institutions
Linkage Institutions
  • Political Parties
  • Interest Groups
  • Media
    • Print
    • Electronic
labour party
Labour Party
  • Largest party on the “left” of political spectrum
  • Began in 1906 as alliance between trade unions and social groups that were strengthened by expansion of workers’ rights
  • Traditionally labor union have provided majority of funds for the party
  • Early history of the party defined by controversial “Clause 4” that called for nationalization of the “commanding heights” of British industry\
  • Trade Union Council (TUC) – a coalition of trade unions generally associated with the Labour Party, has traditionally been a force in British politics
  • Growing moderation of the party reflected by removal of clause in early 1990s
labour party in 1990s
Labour Party in 1990s
  • Shift in policies toward more centrist views
  • Shift in political platform originated with Neil Kinnock, party leader in the 1980s
  • Moderate-centrist views have continued under leadership of John Smith (1993-94) and Tony Blair (1997-present)
  • Tony Blair’s adopts “Third Way” platform and creates “New Labour” Party
third way
“Third Way”
  • Moderate
  • Centrist alternative to “Old Labour” Party on left and Conservative Party on right
  • Initiated by Tony Blair in the late 1990s
  • Attempting to redefine and balance following policy issues:
    • Evolving relationship between government & economy
    • British relationship with EU
    • Balancing act between the United States and European Union
    • Devolution
conservative party
Conservative Party
  • Dominant party in Great Britain between WWII and late 1990s
  • Main party on the right
  • Traditionally pragmatic as opposed to ideological
  • Historically has supported a market controlled economy, privatization, and fewer social welfare programs – symbolized by Margaret Thatcher in 1980s
  • Under Prime Minister John Major (1990-1997) gravitated towards center and away from Thatcherism
conservative party ii
Conservative Party II
  • Characterized by Noblesse Oblige
  • Power centered in London
  • Party organization viewed as elitist
  • Leadership must submit to annual leadership elections
  • Weakened by division of party in late 1990s:
    • Traditional Wing(one-nation Tories) – values noblesse oblige and elitism, supports Britain’s membership in EU
    • Thatcherite Wing – strict conservatives, support full free market, known as “Euroskeptics”, feel EU threatens British sovereignty
  • Rightist reforms instituted by Margaret Thatcher in 1980s
    • Privatized business and industry
    • Cut back on social welfare programs
    • Strengthened national defense (staunch anticommunist)
    • Got tough with labor unions in response to Labour Parties distinct movement left, which had strengthened labor unions politically
    • Returned to market force controls on the economy
    • Resisted complete integration into the European Union
    • Replaced property tax on houses with a poll tax on individual adults
    • Froze income tax increases
    • Foreign policy dominated by securing British interests internationally
liberal democratic party
Liberal-Democratic Party
  • Alliance between the Liberal and Social Democratic Parties during the 1980s
  • Formally merged in 1989 into Liberal Democratic party
  • Attempted to create strong “in the middle” compromise to the two dominant parties
  • Won a party high 26% of vote in 1983, but because of single-member district plurality system only secured 23 seats in Parliament
  • Secured only 62 MP seats in 2005 even though they won 22% of the popular vote
  • Also managed to gain support in reference to their stance on issues such as health, education, the environment, and the Iraq War
other parties
Other Parties
  • Scottish National Party
  • Plaid Cymru – Welch nationalist party
  • Sinn Fein – political arm of the IRA
  • Democratic Unionist Party – led by Protestant clergymen
  • Members of Parliament (MPs) are the only national officials that British voters select
  • Elections must be held at least every 5 years, but Prime Minister may call them earlier
  • Officially elections occur after the Crown dissolves Parliament, but that always happens after the Prime Minister requests it
  • Power to call elections very important – the Prime Minister always calls elections when they think that the majority party has the best chance to win
elections ii
Elections II
  • “Winner-take-all” system
  • Single-member district plurality system
  • Each party selects a candidate to run for each district
  • “First-past-the-post” winner
  • MPs do not have to live in the district in which they are running, therefore party selects who runs in what districts
  • Party leaders run from safe districts – or districts that the party almost always wins
  • Political neophytes are selected to run in districts the party know it will lose
  • They are usually happy just to receive more votes than the party usually gets in that district
voting patterns
Voting Patterns
  • Conservative Party
    • Middle and upper classes
    • Educated
    • Residents of England, mostly rural and suburban areas
  • Labour Party
    • Traditionally supported by working class
    • Residents of urban and industrial areas (Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle)
    • “Third Way” centrist policies have made Labour Party appealing to Scots, Welsh, and the poor
u s vs british elections
United States

Parties are less powerful

Members must live in districts

Party leaders run in their respective districts

Individual votes for four officials on national level

Between 30 and 60 percent of the eligible voters actually vote

First-past-the-post, single-member districts; virtually no minor parties get representation

Great Britain

Party determines who runs where

Members usually don’t live in their districts

Party leaders run in “safe districts”

Individual votes for only one official on the national level

About 70 to 80 percent of the eligible voters actually vote (number was less in 2001 & 2005)

First-past-the-post, single-member districts; some representation from minority parties, but still less than if they had proportional representation

U.S. vs British Elections
interest groups
Interest Groups
  • Between 1945-1980, business interests and trade union organizations fiercely competed for influence over the policy-making process
  • Trade Union Congress (TUC) – represents coalition of unions, had great deal of political power at one time and government often consulted them on important policy decisions – traditionally aligned with Labour Party
  • Coalition of Business and Industry (CBI) – a coalition of business groups and private interests, usually supportive of the Conservative Party
  • British newspapers reflect social class divisions
  • They are divided between quality news and comments that appeal to the middle and upper classes, and mass circulation tabloids that target working and lower classes
  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – Sought to educate citizens
    • Usually respectful of government officials
    • Had significant clash with Blair government in 2003-2004 over policies regarding the Iraq War
prime minister cabinet
Prime Minister

“First among equals”

Member of Parliament and Leader of majority party

Speaks legitimately for all Members of Parliament

Chooses cabinet ministers and important subordinate posts

Makes decisions in cabinet, with agreement of ministers

Campaigns for and represents the party in parliamentary elections

Shapes cabinet decisions into policy


Collective cabinet is the center of policy-making in the British political system

As leaders of majority party elected by the people, they take “collective responsibility” for making the policy of the country

Prime Minister & Cabinet
comparing executives
Prime Minister of UK

Serves only as long as he/she remains leader of majority party

Elected as MP

Has an excellent chance of getting his/her programs past Parliament

Cabinet members are always MPs and leaders of the majority party

Cabinet members not experts in policy areas: rely on bureaucracy to provide expertise

President of the US

Elected every four years by an electoral college based on popular election

Elected as president

Has an excellent chance of ending up in gridlock with Congress

Cabinet members usually don’t come from Congress (although they may)

Some expertise in policy areas; one criteria for their appointment; head vast bureaucracies

Comparing Executives


House of Commons

Party that receives the majority of the plurality of the votes becomes the Majority Party in Parliament, the party with the second most votes becomes the “loyal opposition”

house of commons set up
House of Commons:Set-up
  • House of Commons set-up with long benches facing each other
  • Prime Minister sits on front bench of majority side, directly in the middle
  • Directly across from the PM sits the leader of the “opposition” party
  • Between members of the majority and opposition parties is a long table
  • Cabinet members sit on the front rows of the majority party side
  • “Shadow Cabinet” – influential members of the opposition party sit facing Cabinet members of majority party on the opposing side
  • Backbenchers – less influential members of both parties sit in the rear benches on both sides of the meeting hall as well
house of commons debate
House of Commons:Debate
  • “Government” – consists of MPs on the first rows of the majority party side, they are majority party members, including the PM, that are most influential in making policy
  • Question Time/Question Hour – the hour the prime minister and his cabinet must defend themselves from inquisitive attacks from the opposition party as well as direct inquiry from members of his/her own party
  • Speaker of the House – presides over the debates in Parliament, the speaker is suppose to be objective and often is not a member of the majority party. Their job is to let all speak without letting the debate get out of hand.
  • Because of a lack of checks & balances between branches in British politics the opposition party is seen as the “check” on the majority party within Parliament, this “check” power is best utilized during times of debate over policy
party discipline
Party Discipline
  • Party discipline very important in British politics
  • If party members do not support their party leadership, the “government” may fall into crisis
  • Vote of Confidence
    • Vote on a key issue within the party
    • If the issue is not supported, the cabinet by tradition must resign immediately, and new elections for MPs must be held as soon as possible
    • This is usually avoided by settling policy differences within majority party membership
    • If the party loses a vote of confidence, all MPs lose their jobs, so there is plenty of motivation to vote the party line
blair s vote of confidence
Blair’s Vote of Confidence
  • Higher Education Bill
    • Vote of confidence took place in 2005
    • Bill squeaked by with an approval vote of 316 to 311
    • The bill proposed raising university fees, a measure criticized not only by the opposition, but by outspoken MPs from the Labour Party as well
    • The vote narrowly allowed Blair’s government to remain in control of the Commons
parliamentary powers
Parliamentary Powers
  • Debate and refine potential legislation
  • They are the only ones who may become party leaders and ultimately may head the government
  • Scrutinize the administration of laws
  • Keep communication lines open between voters and ministers
house of lords
House of Lords
  • Only hereditary parliamentary house in existence today
    • Hereditary peers: hold seats that have been passed down through family ties over the centuries
    • Life peers: people appointed to nonhereditary positions as a result of distinguished service to Britain
  • Lords have gradually declined in authority over last 4 centuries
  • Since the beginning of the 20th century the House of Lords’ only powers are:
    • To delay legislation
    • To debate technicalities of proposed bills
    • Lords may add amendments to legislation, but House of Commons may delete their changes by a simple majority vote
    • The House of Lords includes five law lords who serve as Britain’s highest court of appeals, but they cannot rule acts of Parliament unconstitutional
bureaucracy civil servants
Bureaucracy: Civil Servants
  • Hundred of thousands of civil servants in the UK
  • They administer laws and deliver public services
  • Most do clerical and routine work for the bureaucracy
  • A few hundred directly advise ministers and oversee work of departments
  • Top civil servants and bureaucrats usually stay with their departments, while ministers are party officials who move with party demands
  • Therefore, top civil servants often have a great deal of input into policy-making
judiciary branch
Judiciary Branch
  • In Britain, the principle of parliamentary sovereignty (parliament’s decisions are final) has limited the development of judicial review
  • British courts can only determine whether government decisions violate the common law or previous acts of Parliament
  • By tradition British courts cannot impose their rulings upon Parliament, the prime minister, or the cabinet
  • Law lords – settle disputes from lower courts; they do not have power of judicial review, so their authority is limited
  • Constitutional Reform Act of 2005– provides for a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to take over the existing role of the law lords
  • Most judges are not MPs and few are active in party politics; most were educated in public schools and the Oxbridge connection