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Great Britain

Great Britain

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Great Britain

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  1. Great Britain

  2. Factors that Have Helped Shape Political Behavior Virginia Theerman

  3. Historical Background In ancient times, England was a Roman colony, made up of Roman soldiers and the native Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. With the decline of the Romans, William the Conqueror was able to invade in 1066 AD and establish Norman rule. Under the Normans, basic units of organized society were able to develop, and England advanced. (US Dept. State, 2011) Following Monarchical Dynasties: Plantagenet, Tudor, Stuart, and Hanover, which is renamed Windsor after WWII, and is the current ruling monarchy. (Spicer, L. 2010)

  4. Historical Background Continued The monarchy of Britain has worked closely with a parliamentary form of government since the 1200s- at this time the very loosely organized nobles forced King James I to sign the Magna Carta, granting them basic rights in 1215. Modern day Parliament was formed through a gradual process of expansion of power, as the House of Commons was added to the House of Lords, and as the power of the monarch declined. (Living Heritage:Birth, n.d.) The last notable monarch to really control the state of the country could arguably be Queen Victoria, who reigned during the Industrial Revolution. (Spicer, L. 2010)

  5. Historical Background Continued England officially/politically added Wales to their state in 1536, Scotland in 1737, and Ireland in 1801, officially making up the modern day United Kingdom. Throughout the 20th century and over the course of two World Wars, the power of the monarch has steadily declined, leaving the Prime Minister of Parliament as the executive of the country. The current Prime Minister of Great Britain is David Cameron, of the Conservative Party, and the reigning monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has held the throne since 1952.(US Dept. State, 2011)

  6. Geography Pictures: US Dept of State, 2011; http://spence.saar, n.d. Great Britain Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Southern Ireland

  7. Economics of Great Britain Economics: • GDP: $2.481 trillion. • Per capita GDP $39,604. • Natural resources: Coal, oil, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica. • Agriculture Products: cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables, cattle, sheep, poultry, fish. • Industry Types: steel, heavy engineering and metal manufacturing, textiles, motor vehicles and aircraft, construction (7.0% of GDP), electronics, chemicals • Services : financial, business, distribution, transport, communication, hospitality. • Trade : Exports of goods and services--$782.7 billion. Major goods exports--manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals, food, beverages, tobacco. Major export markets--U.S., European Union. Imports of goods and services--$827.6 billion. Major goods imports--manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, foodstuffs. Major import suppliers--U.S., European Union, and China. (US Dept. State, 2011).

  8. Economics of Great Britain Continued  Unfortunately, Great Britian hit a period of recession in 2008, which ended in late 2009. Growth since this recession has been sporadic, held down by little credit growth, a decline in real incomes, and the humble economic outlook for the U.K.’s major trading partners. To address the financial crisis, the British Government put into action a stability and recovery plan that included a fiscal stimulus package, bank recapitalization, and credit stimulus schemes. However, domestic demand remains weak and unemployment has climbed back up to pre-recession levels, at a record 8.4% in the last few months of 2011. (US Dept. State, 2011)

  9. Social Conditions Population: 62,698,362 people One-third of the population lives in England's southeast and is mostly urban and suburban: 8.615 million people live in the capital of London, the largest city in Europe. Universal public education is offered, and education is mandatory from ages 5 through 18, leading to a high literacy rate of 99%. (US Dept. State 2011)

  10. Social Conditions Continued • Nationality: Noun--Briton(s). Adjective—British • Major languages: English, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic. • Work force (2009, 31.25 million): Services 80.4%; industry 18.2%; agriculture 1.4%. • Health: Infant mortality rate--4.62 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy (2011 est.)--males 77.95 years; females 82.25 years; total 80.05 years. (US Dept. State, 2011)

  11. Ethnic, Caste, and Religious Groups • Major ethnic groups: • White 92.1% (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%), • Black 2%, • Indian 1.8%, • Pakistani 1.3%, • mixed 1.2%, • other 1.6%. • Major religions: • Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, • Muslim 2.7%, • Hindu 1%, • other 1.6%, • unspecified or none 23.1%. (US Dept. State, 2011)

  12. Ideologies • Great Britain is a Participatory Democracy. Although it is too large a country to have a direct democracy, every person is able to have some say in the legislative process through representatives and lobbying. (Livesay, 2006) • Political Parties of Britain on the Spectrum: ("Political ideologies and," 2010)

  13. Citations US Department of State. (2011, July 19). Retrieved from Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). Retrieved from Living heritage: Birth of the English parliament. (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from Spicer, L. (2010). Lecture notes taken by V.M. Theerman [Personal Interview]. Great britain. Livesey, C. (2006). Sociology central. Retrieved from Political ideologies and national parties. (2010, March 18). Retrieved from

  14. The Political Process Jennifer Harris

  15. How Rulers Are Chosen • First-past-the-post (FPTP) or plurality system • General elections happen every five years • Great Britain has 650 constituencies. Constituents vote from a list of candidates standing for election. The candidate who gets the most votes becomes the Member of Parliament for that area until the next election. • The leader of the Party with the most seats in the House of Commons generally becomes the Prime Minister. • Royal succession for monarchy (head of state)

  16. Political Parties • The Labour Party (New Labour) – Left party led by Ed Miliband • The Conservative Party (Tories) – Right party led by David Cameron • The Liberal Democrat Party (Lib Dems) – Centrist party led by Nick Clegg

  17. Role of Political Parties • They allow for political education and encourage political participation by constituents in the UK • They devise political policies and work to incorporate those policies into government programs should they be elected to a government position • They finance and organize General Election campaigns and generally select potential parliamentary candidates • They promote/adopt certain ideological practices in order to sway voters in elections

  18. Role of Political Parties Cont. • The UK Parliamentary System is organized along partly lines (each MP serves a particular political party) as a check against the Executive of the government. • Political parties allow for conflicts to be peacefully dealt with through debate rather than violent acts

  19. General Election 2010 Political Map

  20. Role of Interest Groups • Interest Groups attempt to win over constituents by utilizing the media, holding petitions, and other sources of ways to influence individuals to support a particular cause. • They utilize lobbyists to converse with members of Parliaments and influence legislation. • Favorable Opinion: Interest Groups work to solve individual’s problems in society.

  21. How individual citizens participate in politics • By participating in public hearings, meetings, and petitions • By filling out service satisfaction surveys with their complaints/suggestions to Parliament • Through the internet: political blogs, citizens’ panels, etc. • Through citizens’ juries and issue forums • Voting in the General Election every 5 years

  22. Major Political Institutions Martha Dawson

  23. Political Institutions The Crown Prime Minister The Cabinet House of Commons House of Lords Judiciary

  24. The Crown Head of state Executive power rests nominally with monarch Current monarch: Queen Elizabeth II

  25. Prime Minister • Executive leader (head of government) • Answerable to House of Commons • Leader of party that controls a majority in Commons • Subject to collective responsibility of the cabinet • Current PM: David Cameron

  26. The Cabinet Immense responsibilities Formulates policy to be placed before Parliament Supreme controlling and directing body of executive branch The only check on chief executive’s power

  27. House of Commons • Elected • Five year limit – no fixed term • Exercises the main legislative powers in Britain • Main functions: • Pass laws • Provide for finance • Scrutinize public administration and government policy

  28. House of Lords • Unelected upper house • Comprised of: • Hereditary peers • Life peers – appointed by crown on rec. of PM • Law lords – appointed to assist lords in judicial issues • Legislative powers: • Delay enactment of legislation • Revisions on bills originated in Commons • Debates public issues

  29. Judiciary • Independent of executive and legislative • No power to judge constitutionality of legislation or governmental conduct • Limited by principle of parliamentary sovereignty • Appointed by crown on recommendation by PM or lord chancellor • The courts: • Crown Court • high court • appellate courts • Supreme Court

  30. Principal Government Officials Head of State--Queen Elizabeth II Prime Minister (Head of Government)--David Cameron (Conservative Party) Deputy Prime Minister--Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat Party) Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs--William Hague Ambassador to the U.S.—Sir Peter Westmacott Ambassador to the UN--Mark Lyall Grant

  31. Citations Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). Retrieved from Kesselman, M., Krieger, J., Joseph, W. A. K., Krieger, J., & Joseph, W. A. (2009). Introduction to comparative politics, political challenges and changing agendas. Wadsworth Pub Co. Retrieved from US Department of State. (2011, July 19). Retrieved from

  32. Public Policy Megan Skillman

  33. Functions performed by political institutions • Parliament- Primary legislation • Cabinet Office- Public Service Reform • The Treasury- Economic policy, Government finance • Department of Health- Health Care, Social Service • Department for Work and Pensions - National Insurance,Social Assistance, Employment • Department for Communities and Local Government- Local government; Urban policy; Housing • Ministry of Justice- Law and order • Department for Education- Education

  34. Establishment of Internal Order • House of Commons- Origins of Parliament date back to the 13th century. Many rules and customs that affect how it runs. Standing Orders are written and other rules are set out in resolution of the House • Standing: 150 Standing Orders relating to Parliamentary business and public bills, and about 250 relating to private business. • Custom and Practice: Some stem from Speaker’s rulings in the House of Commons, others are followed because a precedent has been set. An example is Bills being ‘read’ three times in both Houses.

  35. Establishment of Internal Order (cont.) • House of Lords- The Freedom of Information Act (2000): Right to request access to information held by public authorities. The House of Lords is public authority under this act. • Encourages public authorities to be open and “transparent” and proactively publish as much as possible • Requires the H of L to have an approved “Public Scheme” that releases information it is committed to routinely and proactively publishing. • The Request Log, provides a summary of the requests received by the House of Lords and their outcome.

  36. External Security • Security (Joint Committee)- advisory committee of both Houses appointed by the Speaker • Public Administration Select Committee- PASC examines the quality and standards of administration within the Civil Service and scrutinizes the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. • Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy- “to set out how we [the Government] will address and manage this diverse though interconnected set of security challenges and underlying drivers, both immediately and in the longer term, to safeguard the nation, its citizens, our prosperity and our way of life”. • The Joint Committee was reappointed at the end of 2010 and met for the first time in the current Parliament in January 2011.

  37. Citations • (n.d.). Retrieved from • (n.d.). Retrieved from • (n.d.). Retrieved from

  38. Public Policy (cont.) Catherine Duhring

  39. Resolving Conflict Between Different Groups • Conflict arises in Great Britain over issues such as • growing inequality in wealth distribution • decline in participation in electoral processes • continuing uncertainty about levels of immigration • increasingly variable and poor prospects for young people • rising tension between liberty and security policy agendas • on-going efforts to rebalance responsibility for the provision of services between the government and community. • Over these issues, the Government steps in with their departments to create legislature and regulations to dissolve the disputes. For example: • Creating the Office of Budgetary Responsibility for the national budget deficit

  40. Raising Money to Pay for Services • Great Britain has a general taxation policy that funds healthcare, police departments, fire departments, and primary schools. • The healthcare includes all citizens of the UK while illegal immigrants are not turned away, but not technically supported by the program. • Pays for all services other than specialized care i.e. eye exams (citizens only have to pay small fees for these). • Local Government is funded through grants from Central Government, Council Taxes, and business rates.

  41. Government Provided Services • Central Government Departments: • Department for Children, Schools and Families • Department for Culture, Media and Sport • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs • Department of Health • Department for Transport • Programs: • GDS: an government organization developed to clean up and decontaminate chemically affected areas in the environment. • The Central Government also provides services to devolved governments such as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

  42. Regulating the Behavior of Citizens • Great Britain regulations and expectations of citizens: • Unwritten Constitution Laws include: rights and responsibilities of citizens from human rights , freedom of speech and freedom from torture, along with the commonplace rights relating to health, discrimination and education. • Loyalty to the Crown and being a law-abiding citizen includes duties involving voting, jury service and giving evidence in Courts of Law.

  43. Citations • Spickler, P. (n.d.). An introduction to social policy: Social policy in the united kingdom. Retrieved from • (n.d.). Retrieved from