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Analysing The British Political System.

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HNC Social Science Politics B Analysing The British Political System 7470844 Outcome 3 Alex Leckie Langside College Glasgow The Lords Reform Following the recommendations of The Royal commission led by Lord Wakem which was tasked with looking at Lords Reform. The Labour government on the 7th February 2001 published a white paper for Lords reform. "Complementing and enhancing, not usurping the House of Commons," was the published aim of the reform. The main proposals of the governments white paper are; Remaining 92 hereditary peers to go. No seats in the Lords for new Life Peers. Reduce the size of the Lords from just over 700 to 600. Twenty per cent of peers (120 in total) to be directly elected. One hundred and twenty peers to be appointed by independent commission as cross-benchers Reduce the number of Church of England bishops from 26 to 16. At least 12 Law Lords. Fifty five per cent of peers - 332 in total - to be nominated by each political party, according to its share of the General Election vote. Minimum of 30 per cent women. Powers Remove the Lords' power to block delegated legislation. They will only be allowed to delay for three months. No other change in the balance of power between the Lords and the Commons. Many see the Labour proposals as making the Lords an inactive house with no powers to restrain the House of Commons and thus give Tony Blair the effective presidency of Great Britain as his style of government is often referred to. "Presidentialism on this scale is neither smart nor right. ...read more.


All the issues on which the Scottish Parliament can pass legislation are known as "devolved matters". The Scotland Act also specifies certain issues on which the Scottish Parliament cannot pass legislation. These are known as "reserved matters". Reserved matters include Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security. Scotland is still governed in these matters by Westminster. Political Parties The political party system is an essential element in the working of the British constitution. The present system depends upon the existence of organized political parties, each of which presents its policies to the electorate for approval. The parties are not registered or formally recognized in law, but in practice most candidates in elections, and almost all winning candidates, belong to one of the main parties. Since 1945, either the Conservative Party, whose origins go back to the eighteenth century, or the Labour Party, which emerged in the last decade of the nineteenth century, has held power. A new party - the Liberal Democrats - was formed in 1988 when the Liberal Party, which traced its origins to the eighteenth century, merged with the Social Democratic Party (formed in 1981). These three parties accounted for over 90% of the winning candidates in general elections held in 1992. Other parties include two nationalist parties, Plaid Cymru (founded in Wales in 1925) and the Scottish National Party (founded in 1934). Since 1945 eight general elections have been won by the Conservative Party and six by the Labour Party; the great majority of members of the House of Commons have belonged to one of these two parties. ...read more.


more working class voters. Voting Behaviour and the 1997 and 2001 Elections The Labour party, led by Tony Blair, secured a massive victory, with a majority of 179 seats in 1997 and followed this up in 2001 with an equally emphatic victory (by 168). This was the first time a Labour Government had been re-elected with a comfortable working majority. This may have been due to working class Conservatism The 'distinctiveness' of the parties and their policies is and has been for the past ten years or so, certainly less than it was in the days of 'Old' Labour and the Thatcherite Conservative Party. The social divisions have also become blurred - more so that in the days when social classes were clearly distinguishable, particularly in the 1950's and 60's. The Labour Party, having suffered successive defeats in 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992 had appeared to be unelectable especially if it had continued to adopt the 'Old Labour' principles of high taxation of the Middle Classes, strong links with the Trades Unions, against Council House sales etc. It had to move to the middle ground to attract the support of the middle classes. This it did to the extent that Labour were able to win in places such as Wimbledon and Putney, affluent middle class suburban areas. With there being more of a convergence towards the middle in both social terms and on the part of the political parties, people now are likely to be less committed to their voting behaviour. People will be more willing to switch allegiances if there is 'less distance to travel'. It would have been difficult for a Thatcherite to switch to voting for old Labour, but not so for a moderate Conservative to support Tony Blair. ...read more.

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