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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

This chapter describes the transformation of the British system of governance from an absolute monarchy to a representative democracy. It presents the developments in a chronological order beginning from events that occurred upto the eighteenth century followed by constitutional changes in the eighteenth century to the developments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Simon de Montfort, an immigrant from France, led the so-called 'reform movement' aimed at limiting royal power in 1258 and the model parliament was formed in 1295. Events such as the glorious revolution between 1688 and 1689, the appointment of Robert Walpole as the first prime minister, the influence of the French Revolution in 1789, and the passing of Great Reform Act in 1832 which inaugurated the age of democratic government in Britain are covered. Brief notes on political parties and the resolution of conflict between the Houses of Lords and Commons are also provided.

in British politics today
Bill Jones

This chapter presents an overview of the British political system in the form of questions and answers. The topics in which questions are raised and answers are provided include representative democracy, decision-making, civil service and local government. The fundamental idea underpinning the British system of governance is democracy but utilises representatives. The representatives are answerable, at least in theory, to someone, or some group of people, at every stage of their decision-making. Interpreting government decisions gives a degree of power to senior civil servants and advising ministers in theory gives them hidden power to run the country. Local governments are also important 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.

in British politics today
Arthur Aughey

political scientist (and republican advocate) Stephen Haseler also proposed a familiar Nairnite thesis in The English Tribe (1996) in which the British system of governance had fostered a maudlin medieval nostalgia which sustained the snobbery of class and held the country back from modernisation. To describe this nostalgia, he appropriated Nairn’s expression ‘the glamour of backwardness’. Conservatism was too strongly secured within the institutions of the United Kingdom and only their collapse would energise the English people. Haseler posed the same alternative futures

in The politics of Englishness
Abstract only
Simon Bulmer and Martin Burch

Government Offices in the English regions and, under Labour, of Regional Development Agencies and the Greater London Authority. The EU has had major implications for the work of local government, with the emergence of new funding opportunities for them or through their responsibilities for the implementation of some areas of EC law. Finally, the EU structural funds have prompted a partnership approach to subnational policy-making (Burch and Gomez 2002: 770; Bache 2008). In short, the British system of governance has been subject to key challenges as a result of

in The Europeanisation of Whitehall