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 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 • Examine the basis of British foreign policy. • The “Special Relationship” with the US • The Iraq War
Office Hours/Contact Information • Temporary Website: • http://sites.google.com/site/dfisk00/british-politics • Professor David Fisk • E-mail: email@example.com • Location TBA 5:20-6:20 T/R • Teaching Assistant Melanie Feurey • E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • SSB 347 Hours TBA
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 • 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 • 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: • England, Wales, and Scotland. • United Kingdom: • England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Ulster). • Democracy by evolution, not revolution. • Important ramifications for the British constitution.
Introduction • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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”? • 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 • Theme: The British Constitution • Theme: The Monarchy • Readings: Norton CH 3