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The British Polity,9780321216663
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The British Polity



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This is the 5th edition with a publication date of 2/9/2010.

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  • The British Polity
    The British Polity


The British Polityis an engaging and comprehensive survey of the structure and process of British government. Offering an insiderrs"s analysis, Philip Norton examines the debates surrounding Britainrs"s political history and culture, constitution, parties and elections, branches of government, media, and relations with the European Union. Throughout,The British Polityfollows a theme of continuity and change that draws on historical and institutional knowledge and that helps to explain contemporary British politics.

Author Biography

Philip Norton (Lord Norton of Louth) is Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Legislative Studies at the University of Hull. He also serves in the House of Lords.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xiii
Introductionp. xviii
The Contemporary Landscapep. 1
Land and Populationp. 2
Linguistic and Racial Differencesp. 5
Religionp. 7
Classp. 9
Educationp. 13
Marriage, Family, and Social Demographyp. 16
Employmentp. 17
Personal Wealth and Taxationp. 19
Conclusionp. 20
The Political Culturep. 22
Political Socializationp. 23
Familyp. 23
Educationp. 23
Occupationp. 24
Locationp. 25
Mass Mediap. 26
A Complex Mixp. 26
The Political Culturep. 27
Orientation toward Problem Solvingp. 27
Orientation toward the Political Systemp. 29
Orientation toward Cooperation and Individualityp. 33
Orientation toward Other Peoplep. 35
Adapting or Declining?p. 37
Past and Present: Historical Perspective and Legaciesp. 43
Historical Perspectivep. 44
The Emergence of Parliamentary Governmentp. 44
The Welfare State and the Managed Economyp. 49
The Politics of Thatcher and Blairp. 53
Great Britain or Little England?p. 56
Legacy of Empirep. 56
Legacy of Warp. 57
Legacy of Classp. 58
Legacy of Political Institutionsp. 58
The Political Environmentp. 62
The Uncodified Constitutionp. 63
Forms of Expressionp. 65
Sourcesp. 65
Means of Amendmentp. 68
Interpretationp. 69
Main Provisionsp. 69
Parliamentary Sovereigntyp. 70
The Rule of Lawp. 72
Unitary (or Union) Statep. 73
Parliamentary Government under a Constitutional Monarchyp. 74
The Changing Constitutionp. 77
European Union Membershipp. 77
Constitutional Reform under a Labour Governmentp. 79
Conclusionp. 81
The Electoral System: Campaigns, Voting, and Votersp. 84
The Electoral Structurep. 86
Electorsp. 86
Constituenciesp. 88
Campaignsp. 93
Candidatesp. 96
Candidate Selectionp. 100
Electionsp. 103
Voting Behaviorp. 105
Explanations of Voting Behaviorp. 109
Classp. 109
Consumptionp. 110
Locationp. 110
Issuesp. 113
Performance Evaluationp. 113
The Current Debatep. 115
A Dysfunctional Electoral System?p. 115
An Effective Electoral System?p. 118
A New Electoral System?p. 119
Alternative Electoral Systemsp. 121
List Systemp. 121
Single Transferable Vote (STV)p. 121
Additional Member System (AMS)p. 121
Alternative Vote (AV)p. 121
Supplementary Vote (SV)p. 122
Alternative Vote Plus (AV PLUS)p. 122
Political Parties: More or Less Than a Two-Party System?p. 127
The Parties in Britainp. 128
The Conservative Partyp. 130
Party Organizationp. 140
Party Fundingp. 142
The Labour Partyp. 143
Party Organizationp. 152
Party Fundingp. 154
Third Partiesp. 155
The Liberal Democratsp. 156
Scottish and Welsh Nationalistsp. 160
Northern Ireland Partiesp. 161
Other Partiesp. 162
Decline in Two-Party Supportp. 164
Structural Dealignmentp. 166
Policy Orientationp. 167
Performancep. 168
Decline in Party Supportp. 169
Disillusionmentp. 169
Displacementp. 170
Disinterestp. 170
Conclusionp. 171
Interest Groups: Insiders or Outsiders?p. 175
Types of Interest Groupsp. 176
Sectional Interest and Promotional Groupsp. 176
Insider and Outsider Groupsp. 177
The Development of Interest Groupsp. 179
Sectional Interest Groupsp. 180
Laborp. 180
Businessp. 182
Agriculturep. 183
Promotional Groupsp. 184
Relations with Governmentp. 185
Pluralismp. 186
Corporatismp. 186
Policy Networksp. 186
The Period up to 1979p. 187
Insider Croups: Institutionalizationp. 187
Insider Croups: Tripartismp. 189
Outsider Groups: Greater Activityp. 190
From Tripartism to Pluralism: The Period of Conservative Government, 1979-97p. 192
High Policy: Exclusionp. 192
Medium and Low-Level Policy: Inclusionp. 193
Lobbying Governmentp. 194
Lobbying Parliamentp. 194
Lobbying the European Unionp. 196
Policy Networks: Lobbying under Labourp. 197
The Current Debatep. 198
Conclusionp. 201
Governmental Decision Makingp. 204
The Executive: Government at the Centerp. 205
The Structurep. 206
The Prime Ministerp. 206
Prime-Ministerial Powersp. 208
The Cabinetp. 215
Ministersp. 223
Departmentsp. 226
Agenciesp. 227
Civil Servicep. 228
Nondepartmental Public Bodiesp. 231
The Current Debatep. 233
The Presidential Modelp. 233
The Baronial Modelp. 236
The Bureaucratic Modelp. 237
The Power Dependency Modelp. 240
Conclusionp. 242
The European Union: Government above the Centerp. 246
From Community to Unionp. 247
Constitutional Implicationsp. 251
Economic Implicationsp. 254
Political Implicationsp. 256
Institutions of the European Unionp. 258
Elections to the European Parliamentp. 262
The Current Debatep. 265
The New Assemblies: Government Beyond the Centerp. 271
Scotland and Walesp. 272
Demands for Devolutionp. 272
The Scottish Parliamentp. 276
The National Assembly for Walesp. 279
Northern Irelandp. 281
Backgroundp. 282
"The Troubles"p. 283
Attempts to Achieve a Solutionp. 284
The Anglo-Irish Agreementp. 285
The Downing Street Declarationp. 286
The Good Friday Agreementp. 287
Resolving the Conflictp. 289
Regional Government in Englandp. 291
The Current Debatep. 293
Conclusionp. 296
Local Government: Government Below the Centerp. 298
The Changing Structure of Local Governmentp. 298
Reforms under a Conservative Governmentp. 300
Reforms under a Labour Governmentp. 301
The Changing Face of Local Governmentp. 303
Elections and Membersp. 305
Powers and Financep. 308
The Current Debatep. 310
Scrutiny and Legitimationp. 313
Parliament: Commons and Lordsp. 314
The House of Commonsp. 317
Membersp. 317
Functionsp. 322
Legislationp. 324
Executive Actionsp. 328
Parliamentary Questionsp. 328
Debatesp. 330
Select Committeesp. 333
Early Day Motionsp. 337
Correspondencep. 338
Private Party Meetingsp. 338
Links with the Citizenp. 339
The House of Lordsp. 342
Membership and Functionp. 346
Membersp. 346
Functionsp. 347
Parliamentary Reformp. 351
The House of Commonsp. 352
The House of Lordsp. 354
Retainp. 355
Reformp. 355
Replacep. 355
Remove Altogetherp. 356
The Power of Parliamentp. 356
The Decision-Making, or Pluralist, Viewp. 357
The Non-Decision Making (or Elitist) Viewp. 357
The Institutional Viewp. 358
The Monarchy: Above the Fray?p. 362
The Current Debatep. 366
The Exercise of Political Powersp. 367
The Cost and Activity of Members of the Royal Familyp. 369
The Future of the Monarchyp. 374
Conclusionp. 378
Enforcement and Feedbackp. 380
Enforcement: The Courts and the Policep. 381
The Judicial Systemp. 383
Criminal Casesp. 383
Civil Casesp. 386
The Judiciaryp. 387
A Developing Constitutional Rolep. 389
Greater Judicial Activismp. 389
Membership of the European Communityp. 390
Constitutional Reform since 1997p. 390
The Police Forcep. 392
Crime and the Fear of Crimep. 395
Corruptionp. 397
Poor Relationship with Certain Communitiesp. 398
The Current Debatep. 400
Background and Recruitment of Judgesp. 400
Miscarriages of Justicep. 401
A More Powerful Judiciaryp. 403
Conclusionp. 405
Communication and Feedback: The Mass Mediap. 408
The Press and Broadcasting in Britainp. 409
The Internetp. 414
Political Influencep. 416
The Current Debatep. 421
Privacyp. 421
Political Biasp. 423
Creating Newsp. 425
Publishing Offensive Materialp. 426
Conclusionp. 427
Conclusionp. 429
Future Directions: The Polity under Challengep. 430
The Extent of Changep. 431
Demands for Changep. 432
A Settled Polityp. 432
Demands for Changep. 433
Different Approaches to Constitutional Changep. 434
A Fundamental Dividep. 437
The Liberal Approachp. 438
The Traditional Approachp. 440
Problems for the Partiesp. 445
External Challengesp. 448
Conclusionp. 449
Select Reading Listp. 452
Glossaryp. 458
Indexp. 464
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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