AP Comparative Government: UK Flashcards

House of Lords
Terms Definitions
Beveridge Report
Published during WWII, it suggested a social insurance program that made all citizens eligible for health, unemployment, pension, and other benefits.
Cabinet
persons appointed by a head of state to head executive departments of government and act as official advisers
Conservative Party
The late 1600s is when this party comes into precedence. Since WWII, they have been the majority government during most of that particular period. The Tories (conservatives) are tied to the U.S. Republican Party: pro business, anti-regulation, etc. Unlike the Republican Party, there are conservative, moderate, and liberal members in the Conservative Party. They believe in an efficient economic organization, allowing the marketplace to run itself, but also emphasize the ideas of social discipline, authority, family values, continuity, etc. The conservative policies have been uniform - very little change. From an economic standpoint, free market economy and low taxation. They have been involved with a bunch of interparty squabbles which has hurt them. They became divided over Europe with the European Union and the euro.
Labour Party
founded in 1900 and came to prominence in the 1920s but was only able to gain outright power in 1945 only after they were able to take power away from the conservatives. The purpose of the party was to build up the welfare state and create national health care system, subsidized education system. People turned on the party in 1951 and stayed out of power until 1961 with Harold Wilson. In the case of labor, it has had a great number of political leaders who were unelectable - couldn't deliver the message of labor. The people went with the Conservatives, but that changes with Blair in 1994.
Constitutional Reform Movement
a movement in the United Kingdom that called for greater separation of powers, especially in the House of Lords. This ultimately culminated in the 2005 Constitutional Reform Act.
Political Efficacy
capacity or power to produce a desired effect, (politics) a belief that you can take part in politics (internal efficacy) or that the government will respond to the citizenry (external efficacy)
Gradualism
In politics, the concept of gradualism is used to describe the belief that change ought to be brought about in small, discrete increments rather than in abrupt strokes such as revolutions or uprisings. Gradualism is one of the defining features of political conservatism and reformism.
Irregular Elections
In the UK, General elections do not have fixed dates, but must be called within five years of the opening of parliament following the last election. Other elections are held on fixed dates though in the case of the devolved assemblies and parliaments, early elections can occur in certain situations
Legitimacy
popular acceptance of the right and power of a government or other entity to exercise authority.
Liberal Democrats
created in the late 1800s. The last prime minister was in the 1920s. Historically, this was the opposition party to the conservatives. The Conservatives were on the right center and the liberals were pure center. Politically, not much of a difference between the two, could live with each of them. The Liberals have declined throughout the 20th century, down to only holding 20 seats. They are around 50-55 seats today.
Question Hour
time reserved in the house of commons for opposition to challenge cabinet on policy issues
Shadow Cabinet
members of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, each has a position that coresponds to one in office, and the purpose is to oppose whatever policies the party advocates
Single member District
electoral district from which one person is chosen by the voters for each elected office
2-Party System
the division of voter loyalies between two major political parties, resulting in the near exclusion of minor parties from seriously competing for a share of political power
Two and a Half Party System
two large parties win most votes but have to join with a third party to gain a legislative majority. The Liberal Democrats in the UK cause this tendency.
Unwritten Constitution
a constitution not embodied in a single document but based chiefly on custom and precedent as expressed in statutes and judicial decision
White Papers
1939 - the British helped control the Jewish immigration to Palestine from the Holocaust in Germany. This action contradicted the Balfour Declaration
Solidarity
a small libertarian socialist organisation from 1960 to 1992 in the United Kingdom. Solidarity was close to council communism in its prescriptions and was known for its emphasis on workers' self-organisation and for its radical anti-Leninism.
Public School
private independent secondary school in Great Britain supported by endowment and tuition
Oxbridge
general term for an ancient and prestigious and privileged university (especially Oxford University or Cambridge University)
IRA
a militant organization of Irish nationalists who used terrorism and guerilla warfare in an effort to drive British forces from Northern Ireland and achieve a united independent Ireland
Class Voting
tendency of a given social class to vote for a party that promotes its economic interest
Civility
Formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech
Common Law
a system of jurisprudence based on judicial precedents rather than statutory laws, (civil law) a law established by following earlier judicial decisions
House of Commons
one of the houses of Parliament including wealthy landowners and rich business leaders that represent the middle class and are elected to office
House of Lords
Aristocratic body consiting of persons who have inherited their titles; has little real authority over legislation and its major function is to debate bills passed by the House of Commons and to improve/revise bills
Parliament
a legislative assembly in certain countries (e.g., Great Britain)
Magna Carta
This document, signed by King John of Endland in 1215, is the cornerstone of English justice and law. It declared that the king and government were bound by the same laws as other citizens of England. It contained the antecedents of the ideas of due process and the right to a fair and speedy trial that are included in the protection offered by the U.S. Bill of Rights
Tories
A member of a British political party, founded in 1689, that was the opposition party to the Whigs and has been known as the Conservative Party since about 1832
Whigs
a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whig tendency supported the great aristocratic families. By the first half of the 19th century, however, the Whig political programme came to encompass not only the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and support for free trade, but Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and expansion of the franchise (suffrage).
Welfare State
a government that undertakes responsibility for the welfare of its citizens through programs in public health and public housing and pensions and unemployment compensation etc.
Backbencher
a MP who does not hold governmental office or shadow government office
Crown
the Crown (or the reigning monarch) as the symbol of the power and authority of a monarchy
First Past the Post
An electoral system in which individual candidates compete in single member districts; voters choose between candidates and the candidate with the largest share of the vote wins the seat.
Proportional Representation
an electoral system used throughout most of Europe that awards legislative seats to political parties in proportion to the number of votes won in an election.
Vote of No Confidence
A process in a parliamentary system where a mojority of parliament members vote to remove the Prime Minister from office
Westminster
a borough of Greater London on the Thames
Whitehall
A wide thoroughfare in London, England, running north and south between Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament. Named after Whitehall Palace (1529-1698), the chief residence of the Court of London, it is noted for its government offices.
Eurocentric
he practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture. In the UK, followers who believe in the UK's participation in the EU fall under this term.
Euroskeptic
opposition to the policies of multinational European organizations and/or opposition to UK membership in such bodies
Thatcherite
Free market, anti welfarist ideology of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Devolution
the delegation of authority (especially from a central to a regional government)
Good Friday Agreement
A practical peace agreement reached by the major parties in Northern Ireland with the British and Irish government on Good Friday 1998.
Recession
A period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration.
Unitary System
a system of government in which constitutional authority lies in the hands of the national government. In such a system, political subdivisions created by the central government take responsibility for much of the everyday administration of the government. Great Britain is an example of a country with a unitary system of government.
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