• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Constitution and Politics

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Politics: Power, Governing, The struggle of power, negotiation Definition: Comes from the Greek "Polis" (City state) and "Polity" (concerning the City state) - Power, institution, conflict and activity. UK is a bicameral system (has to chamber government), Lords and Commons. Politics as Power (4 types): Coercive, Absolute, Persuasive and Legitimate Politics as Institution: Local government, regional assembly Politics as Conflict: Resolves without violence (Ideologies, national/international, enough supply Politics as Activity: Protests, voting and pressure groups Authority: The right to make something happen Representative Democracy: Indirect (majority), if contrary to our decision: get out! Direct Democracy: People take part in all aspects (referendum) Pros and Cons of Representative Democracy: Pros: Control (logistically) deliberation, people who know more about it (not in favour of themselves) Cons: Lesser of evils, takes while to make decisions, loyal to party not constituents Liberal Democracy: Run by publicised laws and accepted (government chosen through fair elections). Liberal principles: Freedom of speech, religion, movements and devil rights. Parliamentary: Representative democracy. Totalitarian democracy: government controls all the aspects, no political opposition, ruling party. Independent observers in elections? Mostly no. Democracy - Rule by the people, open elections, for the people Direct - majority of the people take part actively Representative: vote for representatives, if we don't like them: get out! Constitutions: establish rules and principles (any organisation). Country: fundamental principles, establishes structure, powers and duties (of a government). The usually come about through civil war, independence or defeat in war * Outlines structure and division of government activity * Power relationships (how each one is dependent/independent on the other) * Lists freedoms and rights for individuals and the extent of the power of the rulers (also what the individual in entitled to from the state) Purpose of Constitution: * Provides legitimacy (everyone: Stalin: appearance of legality) * Defines extent of power and protects freedom * Governmental stability and introduce degree of predictability (enables everyone to understand government rules and political game * Fundamental points (values) ...read more.

Middle

* It is seen as relevant and up to date as it 'adapts and responds' to changing political and social circumstances. * E.g. Devolution a response to increased nationalism. * Supreme constitutional power is vested, ultimately, in the elected House of Commons. Changes therefore usually arise through democratic pressure. Effective Government * Given the absence of a 'written constitution', government decisions that are backed by Parliament cannot be overturned by the judiciary. * The concentration of power in the hands of the executive within the parliamentary system allows UK governments to take strong & decisive action. * E.G. Atlee Govt 1945 - 1951 established the NHS, introduced comprehensive national insurance, nationalised key industries: railways, coal, steel, electricity * Thatcher Govt 1979 - 1990: introduced privatisation, reformed welfare state. * History and Tradition: * Argument associated with conservative thinkers. * Constitution based on customs and traditions links past and present generations. * Given the role of common law and conventions, the UK constitution has developed and grown over time, giving it an 'organic' character. * It has historical authority as it has been tried and tested and therefore 'shown to work'. Criticisms of Constitutions: * It is sometimes difficult to know what the constitution says. * Confusion arises over unwritten elements such as ministerial responsibility and hung parliament Elective Dictatorship: Once elected UK governments can more or less do as they please (that is, act as dictators) until they come up for re-election (sovereignty is in parliament which the government of the day controls) Over centralised system of government with weak/ineffective checks and balances because; * Prime Minister dominates the cabinet * The House of Commons is more powerful than the House of Lords (Elective Dictatorship - weak arse checks and balances) * The Executive usually controls Parliament/Commons * Central government controls local government Weak protection of Rights: * The UK constitution provides weak protection for individual rights and civil liberties. ...read more.

Conclusion

HOC: elected, lower but in reality higher because it's elected, sovereignty, 659 --> 646: 1. Legislation, Scrutiny and deliberation HOL: 731 (613 life), traditionally superior, average attendance: 415, imbalance: cons less Passing bills: - Public Bills - sponsored by government or backbench MPs - Private Bills - private businesses, local authorities, other organisations; not usually passed - Private Member's Bills - introduced by an MP often as a consequence of lobbying with pressure groups/constituency Scrutiny through: � Examine government and legislation as it passes through the House � Investigate workings of executive after enquiries are made � A system of committees: - Standing Committees - examine bills at committee stage. Permanent. - Select Committees - purpose to examine the work of the government departments (rotation system). Able to make recommendations - executive can ignore reports. Lack resources and money. Ad hoc. � Greater significance since 1997 Deliberation through: � Debates on the 'floor' - Government policy - Influence of the opposition? � Questioning Ministers and PM - Question Time - constituency/national - Prime Minister's Question Time (1994 Cash for Questions - the Nolan Report and the Downey Report) House of Lords: � 4 distinct areas of work: 1. Legislation All Bills (except money) must pass through the Lords. � Any bill put to the Lords in 2 successive sessions becomes law. � Clashes with government policy over: � Foxhunting � Homosexual rights � Higher education 2. Scrutiny � Legislation from House of Commons � Limited form of Question Time 3. Deliberation � High quality debates � More time � Not restricted in party political sense 4. Judicial � Final court of appeal � Law Lords will be transferred to the Supreme Court � Weaker legislative powers. � 1949 - Parliament Act = power to delay non-financial legislation for one year. � Salisbury Doctrine Type of Lords - Law Lords Hereditary Life Spiritual People's Wakeham Report: HOL; less lords, elected minority, remove heridatry peers, hold them accountable (15 years) Both houses: unrepresentative. UK GOV: imbalanced, bicameral, party system, checks and balances. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How effective is the British Constitution in protecting the rights of its citizens?

    3 star(s)

    The purpose of the voting system is to give the political party who wins the majority of the votes a sense of legitimacy. Without this legitimacy it is not in their power to amend or create laws as they do not have the authority to do so.

  2. Government & Politics Revision Notes

    This in turn affects how the media cover politics and therefore how the public see it. However the UK is democratic in the sense that a number of parties compete for power, giving the public a choice of candidates & manifesto's at election time.

  1. To what extent are judges neutral and independent?

    80% of judges are male, 78% went to Oxford or Cambridge, and 70% are from private schools. Only 1% of High Court judges are from ethnic minorities. They almost all come from the middle or upper classes. This narrow social and professional background means that in cases involving lower classes, homosexuals (many conservative judges may secretly oppose homosexuality)

  2. Discuss the indepedence of the UK Judiciary

    Judicial review is a process by which a government department or public body can be 'reviewed' by a judge if a British citizen feels that the department has acted wrongly. During judicial review the rule of law is applied to the government.

  1. priministers power

    the early 1980s, o 'The wide range of powers at present exercised by a British Prime Minister... are now so great as usurp some of the functions of collective Cabinet.... in short, the present centralisation of power into the hands of one person has gone too far and amounts to

  2. Evaluate the above statement and consider the extent to which you think it is ...

    3 A comprehensive discussion of the nature of Parliamentary supremacy, or Parliamentary sovereignty, may be found in Bradley and Ewing, chapter 4. Devolution issues will not be discussed here, since the Westminster Parliament retains supremacy over the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly, and it is

  1. Apart from referendums, explain three ways in which democracy in the UK could be ...

    those with a number 1 marked next to their name). If a candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the first preference votes then they are elected. If no candidate reaches this 50 per cent threshold, then the candidate with the fewest first preference votes is eliminated.

  2. Should Britain adopt a written constitution?

    a frozen continent?.[11] Therefore as we can infer from the above statements why do UK needs to have that kind of consequences infact they allows for easy modification instead. Some of the English Lawyers has said that to adopt a written constitution would be pointless, because such a constitution would

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work