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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

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 British politics? Crucial. The European Union touches British politics in all kinds of ways

in British politics today
Bill Jones

during this second consultation stage. The Council then reaches a decision, often via working parties. EU decision-making and British politics 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

in British politics today
The ‘mainstream’ media
Bill Jones

, 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, British political 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

in British politics today
Influence, bias and the new media
Bill Jones

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 British politics? 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

in British politics today
A higher loyalty

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.

Bill Jones

some people resist them. A reducing number would like to dismantle them and restore the old ‘Union’, while an increasing number would like to abolish them in favour of independence. Extremism Most historians agree that British political culture does not display any disposition to extremism. A variety of aspects of the country’s political culture help explain this: Ideological . The British political fringe has included all the usual exoticisms of anarchists, Trotskyists, communists, Maoists, fascists and the like, but there has been no occasion when beliefs

in British politics today
Abstract only
Bill Jones

What are the major current ideologies in British politics? Socialism and Conservatism were once the commonplace rival ideologies in Britain but both have been so diluted since the latter part of the twentieth century that they cannot really be said to survive in any recognisable original form. It would be more accurate perhaps nowadays to use the term ‘bodies of belief’. There are four main broad bodies of belief in current British politics, all based on blends of existing (though fading) ideologies: New Labourism (or Blairism ), based on socialism

in British politics today
Bill Jones

), Pearson . Kavanagh , D ., et al . ( 2006 ) British Politics ( 5th edition ), Oxford University Press . Kingdom , J . ( 2003 ) Government and Politics in Britain: An Introduction ( 3rd edition ), Polity . Leach , R ., et al . ( 2006 ) British Politics , Palgrave . Moran , M . ( 2005 ) Politics and Governance in the UK , Palgrave . Other texts Axford , B ., et al . ( 1997 ) Politics: An Introduction , Routledge . Crick , B . ( 2000 ) In Defence of Politics ( 5th revised edition ), Continuum . Duverger , M . ( 1966 ) The Idea

in British politics today
Bill Jones

came into being, though perhaps this is not the best advertisement for think-tanks (see Dorey, 2006, pp. 19–25). Core executive This is the term now commonly used to describe the phalanx of people who take the major decisions in British politics. It comprises the Prime Minister, of course, plus Cabinet colleagues, principal aides like the press secretary, members of the Policy Unit and other close advisers on foreign affairs, the EU and so forth, the Cabinet Secretary, the permanent secretaries of the departments of state and members of Cabinet committees. These

in British politics today