British Politics and Culture Since 1945

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British Culture and Politics
Introduction

January 15, 2013

1. Where are you?
* The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2. How did this particular title come about?
* United is a bit of a misnomer
* Part wants to break away
* GREAT Britain
* “The sun never set on the British Empire”
* It is always shining somewhere
* Used to take up1/5 of the world
* Now only fragments left
* Bermuda, British Virgin Islands
3. Money
* Newer coins have parts of the British seal
* Pounds represent different regions of Great Britain
* Each time a new monarch is elected their faces turn to face the other way 4. Stamps
* Unique in that no country is written on the stamp
5. Flag
* Made up of the different regions, except for Wales
* “Union Jack”
* Created in 1801
6. Queen
* Queen has reigned since 1952
* In theory, signs all acts of parliament
* Not allowed in the house of commons
7. Cup of tea
* Most comes from Sri Lanka (Selon)
* Some comes from India
8. Weather
* Carry on, no matter what
9. Pop Culture
* The Beatles, James Bond, Ian Fleming
10. No constitution
11. Unconquered since 1066
* Nearly 1000 years of unbroken history
12. Helped keep the balance of power throughout the world for over 200 years * Currently having a difficult time being a part of Europe 13. The House of Commons
* Lower chamber, most important body
* 650 members exist, Members of Parliament
* Red lines: exact distance of a sword length
14. The House of Lords
* Upper chamber, not elected
* Powers have been limited since 1911
* Power to delay and reject legislation twice
* Cannot block financial legislation
15. Legislative System
* A long process
* Current system began in the 13th century
* Like America, has 2 houses
* Unlike America, upper house has little power
16. Getting to the ‘UK’
* 4 states
* England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales
* Devolution began in 1997
* Gave power to the regions, a Parliament in Scotland, and an Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland * London now has its own Mayor (Boris Johnson)
* Joined the European Communion in 1973
* The most powerful law making body over British affairs is situated in Europe 17. Magna Carta
* King John, 1215
18. Constitutional Status
* Courts decide on legal cases- not on what laws are constitutional * Do not want to decide on legitimacy of laws
19. First Past the Post
* Whichever party gains the most MP’s forms the government * A low majority makes is hard for a government to pass legislation * If there is no overall majority, the Queen assumes her constitutional role in helping to form a working government 20. Controversies

* See slideshow
21. Current Parties
* 3 main political parties
* Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and New Labour
22. Elections
* Elections in Britain can take place at any time up to a maximum of 5 years * A prime minister takes office on the same day as the election finishes

Labor in Power

Into World War Two
* The Second WW began for Britain on Sep 3, 1939
* By 1941 Britain, quite literally, stood alone in the Western Europe against the Nazi threat * Selected (but not elected) as PM was Winston Churchill in 1940 who led a coalition government * He would make many legendary speeches which included in 1941 offering the British people ‘blood, sweat and tears’ Churchill was a fantastic orator

Most of Swansea was taken out by the German Luftwaffe

Turning Point
* Hitler did not finish his war on the British front, choosing instead to change direction and attack the USSR because in the worlds of Ian Kershaw he ‘longed to flatten the East’ * Hitler believed that GB would ally with him

* However, 1941 marked the...
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