Politics in the United Kingdom



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Politics in the United Kingdom

Chapter Eight



Critical Terms and People


  1. Labour Party – Founded in 1900 to secure the representation of manual workers in Parliament, first briefly formed a minority government in 1924.

  2. Gordon Brown - James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010

  3. Tony Blair - Anthony Charles Lynton "Tony" Blair (born 6 May 1953)[1] is a British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007

  4. Conservative Party – a political party in Great Britain which developed from the Tories in the 1830s, One of the two major parties in the UK, it is generally more right wing, and more towards free-markets and the upper classes, advocates a mixed economy and encourages property owning

  5. David Cameron - David William Donald Cameron is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. He represents Witney as its Member of Parliament.

  6. Margaret Thatcher - Margaret Hilda Thatcher (born 13 October 1925) is a British politician, the longest-serving (1979–1990) Prime Minister of the 20th century, and the only woman ever to have held the post.

  7. John Major - Sir John Major is a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1990 to 1997

  8. Thatcherism - The economic policy of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Reduced state economic power and introduced free market and privatization with certain constraints. Deregulated the UK's market.

  9. Liberal Democrat Party – Criticize the government for not raising taxes a little in order to have more money to spend in raising health and education standards and for undermining legal protections of human rights.

  10. Charles Kennedy - is a British Liberal Democrat politician, who led the Liberal Democrats from 9 August 1999 until 7 January 2006 and is currently a Member of Parliament

  11. Paddy Ashdown - current chair of liberal democrats

  12. The Crown”- Symbolizes the authority of the government rather than a constitution.

  13. The Government” – Could mean many things: the Queens government emphasizes enduring and nonpartisan features, Tony Blair’s government stresses its personal and transitory features, or to a Labour or Conservative government to emphasize partisanship.

  14. Government Officials” - Civil servants

  15. Whitehall” – Executive agencies of government, called so after the London street in which many major government offices are located.

  16. Downing Street”- A short and narrow street off Whitehall, where the Prime Minister’s residence is located.

  17. Westminster” – The district in London where Whitehall, and Downing Street reside.

  18. Collective Responsibility - concept or doctrine, according to which individuals are to be held responsible for other people's actions by tolerating, ignoring, or harboring them, without actively collaborating in these actions

  19. Parliament – The popularly elected House of Commons and the non-elected House of Lords.

  20. House of Commons - one of the houses of Parliament including wealthy landowners and rich business leaders that represent the middle class and are elected to office

  21. House of Lords - The upper house of Parliament. People are selected by enrollment

  22. Parliamentary Sovereignty- Parliaments decisions are final; limits develop of judicial review.

  23. Loyal Opposition” - applied collectively to the opposition parties in the legislature to indicate that the non-governing parties may oppose the actions of the sitting cabinet while remaining loyal to the source of the government's power

  24. Shadow Cabinet” - members of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, each has a position that corresponds to one in office, and the purpose is to oppose whatever policies the party advocates

  25. Discretionary Power of Bureaucracy- Formal organizational arrangement characterized by division of labour, specialization of functions, a hierarchy of authority and a system of rules, regulations and record keeping.

  26. Devolution - the delegation of authority (especially from a central to a regional government)

  27. Unwritten Constitution – A jumble of acts of Parliament, judicial pronouncements, customs, and conventions about the rules of the political game.

  28. United Kingdom – A member of the European Union. Consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern England.

  29. Scotland – Once an independent kingdom; now a part of Great Britain.

  30. Wales – Joined with England in the sixteenth century. Part of Great Britain.

  31. Northern Ireland – Consists of six counties of Ulster.

  32. England - a country that is part of the United Kingdom, the main country that controls the other countries

  33. Law Lords - members of the House of Lords who sit as the highest court of appeal

  34. Hereditary Peers - a person inheriting one of the five degrees within the hereditary nobility in Great Britainand Ireland

  35. Life Peers - A peer whose title cannot be inherited

  36. Quangos (quasi-autonomous nongovernmental organizations) – Groups where some advise on policy while others deliver public services.

  37. The English Bill of Rights - is an Act of the Parliament of England passed on 16 December 1689.[2] It was a restatement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right

  38. Magna Carta - This document, signed by King John of Endland in 1215, is the cornerstone of English justice and law. It declared that the king and government were bound by the same laws as other citizens of England. It contained the antecedents of the ideas of due process and the right to a fair and speedy trial that are included in the protection offered by the U.S. Bill of Rights

  39. Gradualism - In politics, the concept of gradualism is used to describe the belief that change ought to be brought about in small, discrete increments rather than in abrupt strokes such as revolutions or uprisings. Gradualism is one of the defining features of political conservatism and reformism.

  40. Rational-legal Authority - is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organization or a ruling regime is largely tied to legal rationality, legal legitimacyand bureaucracy

  41. Referendum - A general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision

  42. Backbencher - a MP who does not hold governmental office or shadow government office

  43. The Third Way - The term Third Way refers to various political positions which try to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of right-wing economic and left-wing social policies.

  44. Sinn Fein - advocating the complete political separationfrom Great Britain of a unified Ireland.

  45. Irish Republican Army (IRA) - Illegal opposition army revived in 1969 that, in 1971, began a military campaign to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom.

  46. Common Law - "the customary and unwritten laws of England

  47. Code Law - type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification

  48. Territorial Justice - The allocation of resources across a set of areas in direct proportion to the needs of the areas

  49. Keynesianism - government monetary and fiscal programs intended to stimulate business activity and increase employment)

  50. Unitary system of government - a system of government in which constitutional authority lies in the hands of the national government. In such a system, political subdivisions created by the central government take responsibility for much of the everyday administration of the government. Great Britain is an example of a country with a unitary system of government

  51. Tony Blair and the “Third Way” - position trying to reconcile right/left wing parties

  52. Tony Blair’s constitutional changes - Tony Blair made many new and fast changes to governemtn

  53. Votes of confidence in parliament - procedure used by members of a legislative body toremove a government

  54. Devolution – Increasing political legitimacy by creating popularly elected assemblies.

  55. Privatization – To change from government or public ownership or control to private ownership or control.

  56. Social Welfare State - concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens

  57. The British Constitution- there is no single document that explains how britain is governed but many conventions that make up their constitution. these include acts of parliament, treaties, EU Law, Common law, conventions, royal prerogative, works of authority.

  58. Tony Blair and his policies- centrist alternative, advocated free market, trade unions, social rights,and human right.

  59. Margaret Thatcher and her policies-; reduce power of govt, reduce taxation to promote private enterprise and individual rights to give incentives to business and encourage competition.

  60. Corporatist government-refers to political, social, organizations that involve association of the people of society into corporate groups such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labour, military, patronage, and scientifics, that are based on common interest.

  61. Role of class, education, and party in Britain- Major social cleavages based on multi-national identitities&issues, social class distinctions and the Protestant/Catholic split in Northern Ireland. Social class reinforced by education system like public schools trained boys for public life, military, civil service or politics.

  62. Britain’s transition to democracy- With the foreign policy exchange, there was a transition to democracy.

  63. Impact of first past the post- Single member district with some representation from minority parties. 70-80% eligible voters vote.

  64. Last 20 years of Labour Party history- dominant party after World War II and had a socialist ideology, strong welfare state and some state ownership of industry.

  65. Last 20 years of Conservative Party history- Characterized by noblisse oblige; power is centered in London. Elitist party; supported market-controlled economy, privatization and fewer social welfare programs.

  66. Role of Parliament - Examining and challenging the work of the government, Debating and passing all laws , Enabling the government to raise taxes

  67. Role of Cabinet Ministers- As leaders of majority party they take collective responsibility for making policy. All must agree on decisions; if cannot agree individual resigns&returns to Parliament.

  68. The relationship between interest groups and government- They are groups that connect government with the citizens.

  69. Fusion of power- feature of parliamentary democracies, where in the executive and legislative brances are intermingled.

  70. How laws become laws- By first setting a proposal to the house of represtatives then they have to go through a series of processes that either approve or disapprove laws.

  71. The concept of “catch-all parties”- In politics, a big tent party or catch-all party is a political party seeking to attract people with diverse wiewpoint.

  72. Role of Whitehall- A wide thoroughfare in Londo, England, running north and south between Trafalgar Square.

  73. The role of the House of Lords - making and shaping laws and checking and challenging the government

  74. The electoral system- Method by which voters make a choice between options, often in an elelction or on a policy referendum.

  75. Purpose of PMs Question Time- He is the member of the parliament and leader of majority party, that speaks for all Members of Parliament. With questions he can find out what the citizens need.

  76. How party system works- system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gian control of government offices, separately or in coalition.

  77. Territorial justice – The idea that the same standards of public policy ought to apply everywhere in the country.

  78. Public expenditures in Britain- Government spending by department is under the microscope. Find out how Whitehall spends your money.

  79. British attitudes toward government - simultaneously value their form of government while making many specific criticisms about how it works: only ⅓ of Britons report that they have a lot of confidence in Parliament--most trusted institutions are the armed forces and police; IRA = terrorist attacks in response to abuse of power.


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