coverage, the need to ‘feed the beast’ and the desire to win points over the ‘enemy’ parties.
Jones , B . ( 2004 ) The Dictionary of British Politics , Manchester University Press .
Wright , A . ( 2003 ) British Politics: A Very Short Introduction , Oxford University Press .
Aside from the above two sources that give concise treatments of the Britishpoliticalsystem, the major textbooks will provide more than full elaborations. However, at this stage the early student is probably better off consulting the websites below
'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.
Corruption and economical reform in Jamaica, 1783–91
Between 1781 and
1793 the British government embarked on a programme of what
contemporaries called ‘economical reform’, which aimed to
address problems of political and administrative corruption revealed by
successive defeats in the American Revolutionary War. It triggered a
process that would, arguably, root out entrenched, Old Corruption from
uniform legislation for specific types of
The capacity to compromise
Industrialisation was at the root of the social forces that restructured the
Britishpoliticalsystem and, as part of the process, the system of local
governance in the nineteenth century. Underpinning this evolution was the
merging of differences between land and capital. By the eighteenth century
trade and manufacturing was practised on sufficiently large a scale to
produce wealth rivalling the economies of the great estates. The political
conflicts over the Reform Acts or the Corn
The Labour Party government elected in 1997 pledged to reform the Westminster parliament by modernising the House of Commons and removing the hereditary peers from the House of Lords. Events have consequently demonstrated the deep controversy that accompanies such attempts at institutional reconfiguration, and have highlighted the shifting fault-lines in executive-legislative relations in the UK, as well as the deep complexities surrounding British constitutional politics. The story of parliamentary reform is about the nature of the British political system, about how the government seeks to expand its control over parliament, and about how parliament discharges its duty to scrutinise the executive and hold it to account. This book charts the course of Westminster reform since 1997, but does so by placing it in the context of parliamentary reform pursued in the past, and thus adopts a historical perspective that lends it analytical value. It examines parliamentary reform through the lens of institutional theory, in order not only to describe reform but also to interpret and explain it. The book also draws on extensive interviews conducted with MPs and peers involved in the reform of parliament since 1997, thus offering an insight into how these political actors perceived the reform process in which they played a part. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the trajectory and outcome of the reform of parliament, along with an original interpretation of that reform and its implications.
The late 1960s was a period of uncertainty for the Liberal Party, which struggled with the question of how to position itself within the British political system. Overshadowing this question, however, was the Party’s declining electoral performance. But the period also witnessed the emergence of a radical Liberal youth movement, which advocated left-wing positions such as American withdrawal from Vietnam and British disengagement from NATO. The 1970 General Election saw the Liberals marginalised, prompting a major reappraisal of the Party’s strategy and purpose. Impetus came from the Young Liberal movement, which advanced a ‘community politics’ approach, stressing grass-roots social and political change. This had a decisive influence on the Party’s strategic and ideological development, and substantial gains were made in the local elections of 1973 and the 1974 General Election, though the first-past-the-post system meant that the Party’s 19.3 per cent national share equated to only 14 parliamentary seats.
political institutions, and what might be done to ‘improve’ them.
Consequently, the Westminster parliament has attracted attention in recent
years in terms of how it can be changed and reformed so as to improve the
role it plays in the Britishpoliticalsystem. Think tanks, public commissions
and even parliament itself have all examined the way in which it functions as
a political institution and how changes might lead to enhanced public
engagement with politics and thus to more robust representative democracy
Parliamentary reform at Westminster
(Kelso 2007a). The
This book examines the impact that nostalgia has had on the Labour Party’s political development since 1951. In contrast to existing studies that have emphasised the role played by modernity, it argues that nostalgia has defined Labour’s identity and determined the party’s trajectory over time. It outlines how Labour, at both an elite and a grassroots level, has been and remains heavily influenced by a nostalgic commitment to an era of heroic male industrial working-class struggle. This commitment has hindered policy discussion, determined the form that the modernisation process has taken and shaped internal conflict and cohesion. More broadly, Labour’s emotional attachment to the past has made it difficult for the party to adjust to the socioeconomic changes that have taken place in Britain. In short, nostalgia has frequently left the party out of touch with the modern world. In this way, this book offers an assessment of Labour’s failures to adapt to the changing nature and demands of post-war Britain.
Anglophobia in Fascist Italy traces the roots of Fascist Anglophobia from the Great War and through the subsequent peace treaties and its development during the twenty years of Mussolini’s regime. Initially, Britain was seen by many Italians as a ‘false friend’ who was also the main obstacle to Italy’s foreign policy aspirations, a view embraced by Mussolini and his movement. While at times dormant, this Anglophobic sentiment did not disappear in the years that followed, and was later rekindled during the Ethiopian War. The peculiarly Fascist contribution to the assessment of Britain was ideological. From the mid-1920s, the regime’s intellectuals saw Fascism as the answer to a crisis in the Western world and as irredeemably opposed to Western civilisation of the sort exemplified by Britain. Britain was described as having failed the ‘problem of labour’, and Fascism framed as a salvation ideology, which nations would either embrace or face decay. The perception of Britain as a decaying and feeble nation increased after the Great Depression. The consequence of this was a consistent underrating of British power and resolve to resist Italian ambitions. An analysis of popular reception of the Fascist discourse shows that the tendency to underrate Britain had permeated large sectors of the Italian people, and that public opinion was more hostile to Britain than previously thought. Indeed, in some quarters hatred towards the British lasted until the end of the Second World War, in both occupied and liberated Italy.
neo-liberal economic reforms of the
1980s and 1990s resulted in fundamental changes in the UK
2 Assess the view that Gordon Brown is a cautious rather than a
radical Chancellor of the Exchequer.
3 How much consensus on economic policy now exists in the Britishpoliticalsystem?