Context of British Politics

Context of British Politics - The Context of British...

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    The Context of British Politics  
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    Geography An island Physical and psychological separateness Third largest state in Europe (population) A multinational state The United Kingdom of  Great Britain and  Northern Ireland 7% of population from other countries,  especially Indian subcontinent.
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    Cleavages Nationality Religion in Northern Ireland Class Europhiles vs. Euroskeptics
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    Wales 1301:  Added by conquest 1536: Union formalized 1997:  Welsh people vote to establish  own parliament 1999:  Parliament established; limited  powers
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    Scotland 1603:  Scottish King, James I, becomes  King of England 1701:  Act of Union between  parliaments of Scotland and England 1997:  Scottish people vote for own  parliament; process of  devolution 1999:  New Parliament elected
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    Ireland 1170:  English invasions start 1603:  Island conquered 1801: Legislative union with Britain 1922:  26 southern counties granted  independence 1997: Sinn Fein renounces violence,  enters peace talks 1998: Easter Agreement
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    Development of political  institutions Slow, gradual development of  democracy By 1700, Parliament has real powers  Bill of Rights (1689) Act of Settlement (1701) Parliament of elites:  only 5% of population  votes, based on property
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    Expansion of the electorate 1832: Great Reform Act 1886: 50% of men had right to vote 1918: All men, women over 30 years 1928: All women
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    British Political Culture Deference to authority; high levels of  trust in government Social liberalism, and expectation that  government will provide for the  population Pragmatism:  politics is practical
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    The British Constitution Unwritten 5 sources Acts of Parliament Common law and judicial decisions European law The “Customs of the Constitution”—traditions and  conventions Commentaries by constitutional experts 2 major principles The “Rule of Law,” protecting citizens Parliament is sovereign (except when European  law overrides parliamentary law)
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    Political system Unitary systems (UK) Very centralized Parliament is sovereign No states, as in US; power-sharing  between center and regions limited Federal systems Sub-units have powers that are exclusively  theirs
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    Functions of the executive Administrative, “efficient” functions The day-to-day business Symbolic, “ceremonial” functions Representation abroad Unify people at home
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Context of British Politics - The Context of British...

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