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Week 1: Building Modern Britain. Reading: Norton CH 1 and 2. Course Objectives . Introduce students to the British political process. Monarchy vs. Parliament Executive vs. Legislative Examine pressing issues in British politics. Devolution and Northern Ireland Immigration Election 2010

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week 1 building modern britain

Week 1: Building Modern Britain


Norton CH 1 and 2

course objectives
Course Objectives
  • Introduce students to the British political process.
    • Monarchy vs. Parliament
    • Executive vs. Legislative
  • Examine pressing issues in British politics.
    • Devolution and Northern Ireland
    • Immigration
    • Election 2010
  • Examine the basis of British foreign policy.
    • The “Special Relationship” with the US
    • The Iraq War
office hours contact information
Office Hours/Contact Information
  • Temporary Website:
    • http://sites.google.com/site/dfisk00/british-politics
  • Professor David Fisk
    • E-mail: dfisk@ucsd.edu
    • Location TBA 5:20-6:20 T/R
  • Teaching Assistant Melanie Feurey
    • E-mail: mek005@ucsd.edu
    • SSB 347 Hours TBA
course grading and participation
Course Grading and Participation
  • Two Exams (Midterm and Final)-45% each
    • 6-8 pages in length
    • Late assignments are not accepted without valid documentation.
  • Participation-10%
    • Discussion of current events in the British political system.
  • Current Events
    • BBC News, Economist, Financial Times
    • Guardian, Times, Independent
course readings
Course Readings
  • Norton. Politics in Britain.
  • Dunleavy et al. Developments in British Politics 8.
    • Read Norton chapters first; Dunleavy second.
  • Riddell. Hug Them Close.
    • You can purchase either the reproduction or a used copy; you do NOT need to buy both.
  • Archer. First Among Equals.
    • Fictional account of parliamentary life from an insider
    • Read Norton and Dunleavy first
  • Supplementary readings:
    • Read based on interest
guiding questions
Guiding Questions
  • What constitutes the United Kingdom? Great Britain?
  • What factors promoted the unification of disparate nations under the banner of the United Kingdom?
  • What does ethnicity, class, and religion look like in the British case?
  • How do British citizens view their political system?
great britain united kingdom
Great Britain/United Kingdom
  • Great Britain:
    • England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • United Kingdom:
    • England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Ulster).
  • Democracy by evolution, not revolution.
    • Important ramifications for the British constitution.
  • The UK in its current form has evolved over 400 years.
    • Acts of union added territory to the English dominion.
  • 16thcentury: Wales annexed.
  • 18th century: Scottish lands added.
  • 19th century: Ireland added
    • Irish independence in 1922
    • Northern Ireland (Ulster) retained after Ireland declares independence.
the process of unification protestantism
The Process of Unification:Protestantism
  • Each region maintained the “trappings of statehood” at the time of union
  • Over time, economic and political rationale to unification became obvious but initial unification not always seen as beneficial.
  • Protestantism provided an initial basis for common identity in Wales, Scotland, and England.
    • “Catholic threat” provided a convenient rallying call.
the process of unification the french threat
The Process of Unification: The French Threat
  • Fears of an attack based in Scotland or Ireland prompted acts of union.
  • Protestantism provided a useful way to mobilize the British territory against threats from Catholic France.
  • Mobilization brought people from various regions together; facilitated nation building.
the process of unification globalization and empire
The Process of Unification: Globalization and Empire
  • Industrialization provided benefits for unification.
    • Search for new markets coupled with impressive naval resources laid the groundwork for empire.
  • Imperial expansion fostered a sense of pride in the British nation.
  • Improvements in communications and transportation fostered closer ties between the regions.
the process of unification the monarchy
The Process of Unification:The Monarchy
  • Advances in communication aided the rise in importance of the monarchy.
  • Cannadine: “Secular magic of monarchy” established during the reign of George III (1760-1820).
  • Queen Victoria (1837-1901) furthered solidified the popularity of the institution; linking the monarchy with the state.
the process of unification political reforms
The Process of Unification:Political Reforms
  • Limitation of the franchise to wealthy aristocrats caused rumblings
    • Political movements seeking to expand the franchise existed throughout the territory.
  • Reform movements united citizens from various regions.
  • As franchise expands, political parties see value in contesting elections on a national rather than a regional platform.
the effects of unification
The Effects of Unification
  • Unification has not erased regional identities.
    • Scottish and Welsh nationalist movements fare well in elections.
  • Devolution provides a voice for the regions while allowing the central government to rule on behalf of the British nation.
    • While nationalist parties exist, secession seems unlikely.
united kingdom population
United Kingdom: Population
  • Population: approximately 60 million.
  • One of the most densely populated countries in the world.
    • 625 people per square mile.
  • England is more densely populated than the other regions.
  • Predominantly white; 11 out of every 12 people are native born.
  • A “graying” society; Immigration is changing the makeup of the UK.
united kingdom religion
United Kingdom: Religion
  • Religion no longer provides the same unifying force as it did.
  • As in other advanced democracies, the British are becoming increasingly more secular.
  • The number of citizens who do not identify with any religion has risen by nearly 12% over the last twenty years.
  • Anglicanism has declined by 11%.
  • Catholicism has remained relatively constant.
united kingdom class
United Kingdom: Class
  • Class used to be the major predictor of partisan identification and activity; this is declining.
  • The postwar era has been associated with upward mobility; working classes have become more middle class while many in the middle class has moved to the upper middle class.
  • The rise of the middle class is reducing the stark differences between the upper and working classes; electoral volatility is on the rise.
united kingdom public opinion
United Kingdom: Public Opinion
  • Monarchy:
    • Over two-thirds believe it should be retained.
  • Political System:
    • Cynicism towards the system is rife; three-quarters believe government could be improved.
  • Political Parties:
    • Trust in political parties to “do the right thing” or “put the country first” is low.
  • Citizen Efficacy:
    • Two-thirds believe that they do not really have a say in what government does.
conclusion the uk as typical
Conclusion: The UK as “Typical”?
  • Globalization and immigration are changing the ethnic background of the British population.
    • Providing the impetus for new political parties (e.g. BNP/UKIP/Respect).
  • The role of religion and class in shaping British politics is declining.
    • In line with other advanced democracies.
  • While support for the monarchy remains high, cynicism towards the government is in line with other advanced democracies.
next lecture
Next Lecture
  • Theme: The British Constitution
  • Theme: The Monarchy
  • Readings: Norton CH 3