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1st year lecture 2 british institutions 2018

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This lecture is an introduction to British institutions. It covers the following topics:
Britain's uncodified constitution
The Monarchy
The division of powers
The House of Commons
The House of Lords

Veröffentlicht in: Wissenschaft
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1st year lecture 2 british institutions 2018

  1. 1. BRITISH INSTITUTIONS
  2. 2. Politics of the United Kingdom  A constitutional monarchy  Monarch is head of state  Prime Minister is head of government.  Executive power is carried out by HM's Government, on behalf of and by consent of Monarch
  3. 3. Principles of the Constitution Two basic principles govern the Constitution: The Rule of Law The Supremacy of Parliament
  4. 4. • The Legislative Power: makes the law (ie. Debates, votes and passes new laws) • The Judicial Power: interprets the law (ie. Decides what punishment should be given for those that break the law) • The Executive Power: implements and enforces the law (ie. Makes sure that the decisions of the legislature are carried out) The division of powers
  5. 5. The division of powers • The Legislative Power : Parliament (House of Commons, House of Lords, the Monarch) • The Executive : the government (the party or coalition with a majority in the Commons) • The Judiciary : the judges and especially the Supreme Court
  6. 6. Monarch (Representative Function) Supreme Court (since 2009) House of Lords House of Commons Government Prime Minister Nation (electorate) Partiament elects elects can dissolve appoints aristocrats can dissolve appoints appoints justices Legistative Executive Judiciary Separation of powers appoints Parliamentary monarchy in the United Kingdom
  7. 7. The British Constitution A constitution is a set of laws on how a country is governed. The British Constitution is unwritten It is referred to as an uncodified constitution. Amendments to constitution are made by a majority support in both Houses of Parliament to be followed by the Royal Assent.
  8. 8. Sources of the Constitution: Statutes such as the Magna Carta of 1215, the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement of 1701. Laws and Customs of Parliament; Political conventions Decisions in a court of law Constitutional experts who have written on the subject such as Walter Bagehot and A.V Dicey.
  9. 9. Magna Carta 1215 Meaning the great Charter Primarily served the interests of the upper class by limiting the power of the king Deals with feudal rights, customs and the administration of justice.
  10. 10. 10 Why is the Magna Carta important? The Magna Carta was the first example of an English king setting specific limits on royal power. The Magna Carta tried to prevent the king from abusing his power and it made clear that the king was subject to the law, not above it.
  11. 11. 11 Which clauses of the Magna Carta are valid today? the liberties of the English Church; the privileges of the city of London and other towns; no free man shall be imprisoned, dispossessed, outlawed or exiled without the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
  12. 12. English Bill of Rights1689  Parliament approval for army & taxation  No special courts for political ends;  Freedom of petition guaranteed;  free elections and annual parliaments;  Freedom of speech inside Parliament;  Protestant monarchy guaranteed, reinforced by Act of Settlement 1701.
  13. 13. For or Against Pros: Flexibility and change Cons: no public access– Only constitutional experts know where to look and how to interpret it.
  14. 14. Strengths • Coherent system of government • Evolved over time: flexible & changes, reflecting the values of the British People  • Parliamentary sovereignty ensures a clear centre of authority • The rule of law protects the rights of citizens • Government is accountable to parliament and the electorate
  15. 15. Weaknesses • centralised government • Local and sub-national governments are not constitutionally protected • The rights of citizens are weak and not safeguarded effectively • Undemocratic elements survive e.g. the monarchy, House of Lords •The separation of powers remains ambiguous Monarch
  16. 16. The Monarchy Ahh When I think ath
  17. 17. The Monarch: Head of Nation and Head of State Monarch (referred to as the Sovereign or "His/Her Majesty", abbreviated H.M.) is Head of State and head of government. Oaths of allegiance are made to the Monarch  "God Save the Queen" (or "God Save the King") is the British national.
  18. 18. Primogeniture  Throne is inherited:  Throne goes to the eldest son when a monarch dies  when no sons, the eldest daughter ascends the throne.  This was the case when Elizabeth II succeeded to the throne in February 1952 upon the death of her father, George VI.  Her husband, Prince Philip, has the title of Prince Consort, but no rank or privileges.  The current heir to the throne is Elizabeth II’s eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales.  A regent may be appointed to rule for the sovereign if he or she is underage or incapacitated
  19. 19. The Queen Her picture appears on postage stamps, but her personal mail is franked.
  20. 20. Queen appears on coins and banknotes
  21. 21. What the Queen Can Do She can drive as fast as she likes in a car which needs no license number.
  22. 22. What the Queen Can Do She can confer Britain’s highest civilian decoration, the Order of Merit—one honour in which the Sovereign retains freedom of choice.
  23. 23. What the Queen Can’t Do Her Majesty cannot vote. Nor can she express her political opinion in public. She cannot sit in the House of Commons (building royal property). She cannot write her own speech. She cannot refuse to sign a bill, and she cannot appear as a witness in court. Law, Conv. & prcedent
  24. 24. Law vs. Convention & Precedent Role of the Monarch is determined by law, but also by convention and precedent: by law , the monarch  has, the right to take a more active role – to refuse to sign new legislation, for example, but by convention she never makes use of this right.
  25. 25. The role of the monarch: By law Prerogatives of the monarch : opens and dissolves parliament gives her assent to all legislation by signing parliamentary bills so they become law Appoints prime minister after general election. has weekly audience with the prime minister.
  26. 26. The role of the monarch: By convention and Precedent In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, Sovereign appoints the Prime Minister, usually the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in that House. The monarch is commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. The monarch can dissolve parliament on the advice of the PM.
  27. 27. Reigns but does not rule! Monarchy is a ‘dignified’ institution, plays vital role BUT no meaningful political power. Fount of Honours Defender of Faith Fount of Justice Head of Nation Head of State Head of the Commonwealth!
  28. 28. The Queen’s role Constitutional Arbitration – In times of Crisis Stability –1,000 years of Sovereignty Continuity –helps to bridge the discontinuities of party politics Experience –reading state papers, meeting heads of state and ambassadors, and weekly audiences with Prime Ministers
  29. 29. The Queen’s role (2) Unity: Party politics = disagreement and confrontation. (rich vs poor, north vs south, management vs unions, Catholic vs Protestant…) Moral Leadership & Model Behaviour Custodianship of the Past – Through its ceremony, pageantry and ritual, the monarchy preserves the link with Britain’s history
  30. 30. Coronation ceremony
  31. 31. QUEEN’s DIAMOND JUBILEE 1952- 2012
  32. 32. Shall the monarchy be abolished? The head of state should be elected in a democratic country. ·The royal family is elitist. · It is a very expensive institution. · Functions formal and automatic. Royal family not always a good example in family life and private morals.  Secession within a monarchy does not guarantee competency.
  33. 33. Coming next The House of Lords!
  34. 34. The House of Lords Parliament's second chamber. Role: 'double check' new laws. About 800 members. Not elected. No power to stop a new law but can delay it (veto lost in 1911) Bills must go through both Houses before becoming 'Acts' (laws).
  35. 35. Who sits in the House of Lords? Peers! Life peers appointed by the Queen on advice of Prime minister and 26 bishops Lords Spiritual (bishops) Hereditary peers: 90
  36. 36. The House of Lords Debated unelected unaccountable Too much power mostly live in London, the east and the south east  Experience & expertise  Retired generals, trade union leaders, academics and judges  Stability
  37. 37. House of Commons The most powerful of the two houses. 659 elected members. (427 green seats) Members are called MPs. The Commons is the most important place for discussing policies and making laws.
  38. 38. House of commons ON A PASSAGE OF A BILL
  39. 39. PASSAGE OF A BILL House of Commons House of Lords House of Lords House of Lords 3RC21 1 2 C R 31 2 C R 3 3RC21 Royal Assent Bill starting in the House of Lords Bill starting in the House of Commons Royal AssentA A Britain
  40. 40. And politics
  41. 41. 2017 General Elections
  42. 42. Two-party system majority of MPs in the House of Commons belong to: The Conservative party (the tories), or The Labour Party Power has always alternated between the two major parties.
  43. 43. Electoral system Elections every 5 years. First-past-the-post: voting system in which a person is elected because they get more votes than anyone else in the area that they want to represent. System is said to favor major parties.
  44. 44. Electoral system
  45. 45. Political Parties Conservative Party Labour Party  support mainly from business interests and middle and upper classes  strongholds tend to be in southern England  support from trade unions, working class & middle-class  electorate in south Wales, Scotland, and the Midland and northern English industrial cities.
  46. 46. Public vs Private  1783  Individuals should own and control businesses and profits;  The government should not interfere.  1900  The government should provide good public services such as schools & hospitals.  The government should help close the gap between rich and poor
  47. 47. Money  Tax should be low.  Private businesses will provide services which will improve their quality.  Different levels of tax depending on earnings.  taxes used to provide services for everybody, rich and poor.
  48. 48. Community  Traditional values should be encouraged to build strong communities and families.  Strict discipline and respect will cut crime and criminals should be treated harshly.  Communities need to be strong by promoting tolerance and respect for all. Everyone should enjoy their individual while aware of their responsibilities
  49. 49. The Future  Traditions (monarchy and House of Lords) are an essential part of Britain's history (no change)  little involvement or interference from the European Union. The UK must stand strong.  Britain has a very important part to play in Europe & should play a leading role.  Cease arms exports to countries accused of violating humanitarian law.  The end
  50. 50. They are laughing… Shall I tell them there will be a quiz next week?

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