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Tom Gallagher

One of the chief casualties of the extended economic crisis in the EU has been democratic politics. The EU's own mechanisms for decision-making have been set aside at particular moments; a core group of countries has assumed responsibility for crisis management. This chapter examines the increasingly strained relationship between the EU and the democratic process. It argues that ethical standards and competent decision-making are becoming casualties of the democratic deficit. The crisis which rocked the EU at the end of the 1990s briefly brought to the surface the view that the then thirteen-member EU was divided on a North-South basis in its attitude to public morality. The European Parliament, briefly emboldened by having taken resolute action against abuses inside the Commission, slumped back into torpor despite acquiring some increased powers as a result of the Maastricht Treaty.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Abstract only
Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Edward Ashbee

This book explores how a candidate who broke with almost every single norm governing candidate behaviour, appeared to eschew the professionalised forms of campaigning, and who had been more or less disowned by Republican elites, prove victorious? The focus is on Trump and his campaign; the account does not go beyond the November election and its immediate aftermath. The book argues that the Trump campaign, like earlier populist insurgencies, can be explained in part by considering some defining features of US political culture and, in particular, attitudes towards government. It explains the right-wing populism that has been a recurrent and ingrained feature of the political process over a long period. The book discusses structural characteristics of the American state that appear to be of particular significance in shaping attitudes, as well as some other ideas and frames brought to the forefront by the Trump campaign during the course of 2015 and 2016. It also considers the shifts and swings amongst voters and suggests that these, alongside ideas about the state and the 'entrepreneurial' efforts of the campaign, form part of the explanation for Trump's eventual victory. The book assesses Trump's ascendancy as a function of, and reaction to, the strategies and discourses pursued in the years preceding 2016 by Republican Party elites. 'Trumpism' and European forms of populism are still in some ways weakly embedded but they may intensify the battles and processes of group competition between different constituencies.

Abstract only
Edward Ashbee

Within the broad context of generalised anti-government ideas and entrenched populist sentiments, other ideas and frames were brought to the forefront by the Trump campaign during the course of 2015 and 2016. Although certainly 'unmoored' as National Review asserted, the Trump campaign's thinking, the frames around which it mobilised, and the ideas that secured its votes had a degree of order as well as roots and association, all of which bear analysis. American conservatism and the Republican Party were transformed over the four decades that preceded the 2016 election. For its part, neo-conservatism or 'national security conservatism' pointed to the political and philosophical principles upon which the US was constructed and encapsulated in founding documents such as the Declaration of lndependence. Alongside populism, Trump's thinking appears at times to owe a debt to ideas traditionally associated with paleo-conservatism, the 'Alt-Right', and to some degree the white nationalist right.

in The Trump revolt
A political and legal analysis, Second edition

The United States Supreme Court is an important, exciting and controversial institution. This book includes the major decisions of the 2014 and 2015 Supreme Court Term. It examines some of the fascinating policy issues that are central to the Court by examining its contemporary agenda. The book analyses the Court's major decisions on controversial issues such as race, abortion, capital punishment and gay rights. It explains the ideas that underpinned the creation of the Supreme Court in the first place and how and why it has changed over the years. The book then investigates how the framers of the Constitution envisaged the nature and the role of the Supreme Court, and how and why these have evolved. With examples, it also explains the process by which the personal, the judicial and the political are interwoven in some of the Court's most important cases. Next, the book takes up the specifically judicial and legal basics of the Court's structure and processes and looks at the rules and procedures that govern the Justices' work. The key concept of judicial review, the source of the Court's power is then examined. The book moves on to analyse one of the most controversial features of the contemporary Supreme Court, the process of appointing new Justices, and examines the politicisation of the appointment process. Finally, it explores how powerful is the Court and what is its role in American government and politics.

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Edward Ashbee

This chapter considers the shifts and swings amongst voters and suggests that these, alongside ideas about the state and the 'entrepreneurial' efforts of the campaign, form part of the explanation for Donald Trump's eventual victory. Whatever their limits and flaws, the exit polls provide the most helpful starting point for a discussion. The results reveal that the Trump electorate was significantly more male (53 per cent of men supported Trump) than female (42 per cent). More importantly, while some of the figures have been fiercely contested, and although Hillary Clinton won very large majorities amongst the minority electorate, the exit polls suggest some significant swings to the Republicans among minorities when set against the 2012 presidential election. Clinton not only represented 'big government' and the status quo, but also the elites that promoted trade liberalisation, financialisation and the politics of the 'new economy' that had so brutally displaced the old.

in The Trump revolt
Abstract only
Reforms, 1911 to 2015
Philip Norton

Within Parliament, both House of Commons and House of Lords were for most purposes co-equal, but in matters of money the Commons asserted the right to initiate taxation. Under the Parliament 1911 Act, a money bill becomes law one month after leaving the Commons, whether approved by the Lords or not. The Act also reduced the maximum life of a Parliament from seven years to five. The Parliament Acts deal exclusively with powers. Following the rejection of the 1909 budget, it was Conservative peers who argued for a reform of composition: they preferred that to limiting the powers of the House. The fate of the House of Lords Reform Bill in 2012 meant that reform of the Lords was off the government's agenda for the rest of the Parliament and, in the eyes of many politicians, for the foreseeable future.

in Reform of the House of Lords
Bill Jones

Britain has an outward-looking stance in its contact with the rest of the world. This chapter deals with Britain's international relations, focusing on the country's key interests, the rise and decline of the British Empire, the Britain-EU relations, the Britain-US bond, the ethical foreign policy of the Labour government and the Iraq war. Britain's national interests have been conditioned by a lack of plentiful natural resources and an island status that delivers a close relationship with the sea. In 1920, the British Empire occupied a quarter of the world's landmass but after World War II most of its colonies gained independence which soon reduced the country's role to something far less exalted. The postwar British foreign policy envisaged emphasis in Europe, America and the Empire/Commonwealth. Some critics argue it would be more logical for Britain to recognise the facts of economics and geography and invest more political capital in Europe.

in British politics today
Bill Jones

British and US governments are often compared and such exercises can be illuminating. This chapter offers a brief survey of the similarities and differences to point up how different systems can be while appearing so similar on the surface. The similarities include free enterprise system and worldwide trade, Christianity and English language, democratic constitution, bicameral legislatures, executives answerable to legislatures, essentially a two-party system, and open elections. The key areas of difference are American exceptionalism, the US being a unified country formed from an amalgam of different immigrant groups, and the size of the economies. In the area of social comparison, income inequality and wealth distribution inequality are more pronounced in the US than in Britain. The chapter also compares the US Constitutions with the unwritten British constitution, the separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary, and the federal and unitary systems of governance.

in British politics today
The essentials
Series: Politics Today
Author: Bill Jones

'Politics' with a big 'P' is concerned with how we, individuals and groups, relate to the state. This book commences with a definition of political activity with a focus on conflict, and government and democracy. Britain is, arguably, the oldest democracy in the world, though it took many centuries for it to evolve into its current 'representative' form. Conflict resolution depends on the political system involved. The book draws together all the elements of government, explaining the British system of governance, which is democracy but utilises representatives. Civil service advises ministers and carries out the day- to-day running of government. The book then describes the transformation of the British system of governance from an absolute monarchy to a representative democracy. It examines how economic changes have affected Britain over the centuries, and presents some thoughts on the absence of a modern British revolution. It presents an account of Britain's economic history, the class developments and differences, and the absence of a modern revolution despite astonishing levels of income inequality. Factors that might influence the political culture of Britain are discussed next. The book also touches upon the sources of British constitution, the process of constitutional amendments prevailing in the U.S. and Britain, current British politics, and the development of pressure groups in Britain. Finally, the history of party government in Britain, and details of the Conservative Party, Labour Party, the Social and Liberal Democrats, House of Commons, and Britain's international relations are discussed.

Bill Jones

Britain has an written constitution, which is in the form of Acts of Parliament relating to, for example, who can vote. Constitutional matters featured much in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth but then lay quiescent until the 1990s, when they topped the political agenda once again. Parliament is at the peak of the constitution and, the House of Commons is the dominant element of it. This chapter briefly discusses the sources of British constitution such as the normal and super statutes, case law, common law, conventions and institutional rules. It outlines the process of constitutional amendments prevailing in the U.S. and Britain, separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary, and the core and contested elements of the constitution. The constitutional issues such as the pressure for codification of the uncertain aspects of the constitution are also discussed.

in British politics today