departments, called ‘agencies’, to undertake the routine work while ministers concentrated on the bigger issues.
Is local government important?
Most definitely, but the gradual stripping of power from local authorities since the middle of the last century and the strangling of their financial freedom of action has made local government less attractive to able people and less interesting to voters, who rarely turn out in force for local elections.
How important is Europe to Britishpolitics?
Crucial. The European Union touches Britishpolitics in all kinds of ways
'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.
This book argues that the current problems over Britain’s membership of the
European Union are largely as a result of the absence of quality debates during
the 1959–84 period. The situation today is also attributed to members of the
political elite subordinating the question of Britain’s future in Europe to
short-term, pragmatic, party management or career considerations. A particular
and original interpretation of Britain and Europe is advanced, aided by recently
discovered evidence. This includes the methods used by the Conservative
government to ensure it won the vote following the 1971 parliamentary debate on
Britain’s proposed entry into the EEC. It also delves into the motives of the
sixty-nine rebel Labour MPs that voted against their own party on EEC
membership, and how the British public were largely misled by political leaders
in respect of the true aims of the European project. This is a study of a
seminal period in Britain’s relationship with Europe. Starting from the British
government’s early attempts at EEC membership, and concluding with the year both
major political parties accepted Britain’s place in Europe, this book examines
decision-making in Britain. As such, it contributes to a greater understanding
of British politics. It answers a number of key questions and casts light on the
current toxic dilemma on the issue of Europe.
during this second consultation stage. The Council then reaches a decision, often via working parties.
EU decision-making and Britishpolitics
The above EU procedures are unfamiliar to British practice and are often portrayed as ‘interference’, even when a minister has approved the decision.
The EU’s main impact is on economic policy: it acts as a ‘regulator’, by setting frameworks for competition and various rules affecting agriculture, telecommunications, the environment, energy and equal opportunities. This is akin to technical bargaining between the
The media have become more complex, with new actors (e.g. spin doctors and marketing people) and a whole new dimension with the internet. This chapter analyses these developments, with brief discussion of bias, voting and language in politics.
How important have advertising agencies become in Britishpolitics?
Until the 1970s, neither of the two big parties bothered with advertising in the professional sense. Propagating political messages via the media was thought to be a job for the specialists: politicians. However, the Conservatives began to use
, most viewers were moved by this apparently wrongly accused honest man; he received massive support and stayed on the ticket to become Vice President and later President. Politicians all over the world noted how this shamelessly schmaltzy emotional appeal had worked a treat.
In the mid-1950s, Britishpolitical parties began to use the ‘box’ to sell their messages. Macmillan even induced President Eisenhower, in August 1959, to stage an apparently relaxed televised conversation with him in order to improve the Conservatives’ electoral chances in a few weeks’ time
Myth and counter-myth in Second
World War Britishpolitics
Conventional wisdoms, narratives, stories and myths are all of central importance
to political parties. Parties require more than just organisation and discipline to
keep them united. Even the smallest needs some degree of agreement over its
worldview and a sense of a common explanation of how it, and the world, came to
be where they are. To sustain a large party capable of taking power, however, is a
particularly considerable challenge, and requires, among other things, a powerful
The relationship between the Conservative Party and the organised working class is fundamental to the making of modern British politics. Although always a minority, the organised working class was perceived by Conservatives as a challenge, a threat and an opportunity. The book’s fundamental question is ‘why throughout its history was the Conservative Party so accommodating towards the organised working class?’ And why in the space of a relatively few years did it abandon this heritage? For much of the party’s history its leaders calculated they had more to gain from the unions’ political inclusion, but during the 1980s Conservative governments marginalised the organised working class to a degree that previously would have been thought politically disastrous for the party. This shift altered British politics profoundly.
The ‘globalisation’ concept has become ubiquitous in British politics, as it has in many countries of the world. This book examines discourse on foreign economic policy to determine the impact of globalisation across the ideological landscape of British politics. It critically interrogates the assumption that the idea of globalisation is derivative solely of neo-liberal ideology by profiling the discourse on globalisation of five political groups involved in making and contesting British foreign economic policy between 1997 and 2009: New Labour, International Financial Services London, the Liberal Democrats, Oxfam and the Socialist Workers Party. In addition to the relationship between neo-liberalism and globalisation, the book also explores the core meaning of the idea of globalisation, the implications for the principle of free trade, the impact on notions of the state, nation-state and global governance, and whether globalisation means different things across the ideological spectrum. Topically, it examines how the responses to the global financial crisis have been shaped by globalisation discourse and the value of ideology as an analytical concept able to mitigate debates on the primacy of material and ideational explanations in political economy.
This book is a seminal study of political leadership selection using two of the main parties in British politics as case studies. They have been selected for their dominance of British politics over the course of recent political history. Indeed, the Conservative Party has held office for much of the twentieth century because it was able to project an image of leadership competence and governing credibility. In contrast, the Labour Party’s record in government is shorter because of issues of economic management, leadership credibility and ideological splits due to various interpretations of socialism. Despite these differing track records, both parties have dominated the British political landscape, with occasional interventions from the Liberal Democrats. As an academically informed study, this book explores the criteria by which political leaders are selected by their parties. To do this the book explores the ongoing relevance of Stark’s criteria of effective leadership by adapting it to identify more skills needed to explain how and why some leaders are able to dominate the political scene. The Conservatives tend to choose unifying figures who can lead them to victory, while the Labour Party opts for leaders more likely to unite the party behind ideological renewal. The book also explores the political choices of contemporary leaders, including Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Johnson was selected in response to the perceived leadership failures of his predecessor, while Corbyn’s selection represents an ideological shift to the hard left as a response to New Labour and the professionalisation of the centre-left.