Lectures on Britain - 3 (Lectures on Britain)
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LECTURE № 3THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE AND ELECTIONS IN GREAT BRITAINGreat Britain is a constitutional monarchy. Britain is administered from the centreof Westminster in London. Technically the UK is ruled by the Parliament, thePrime minister and the Monarch (at the moment the Queen Elizabeth 11 who hasbeen in power since 1953). She is formally the Head of the State.The Parliament which is the oldest in Europe (1258) made up of twochambers (палаты) — the House of Commons and the Houseof Lords.The House of Commons has 651 seats which are occupied byMembers of Parliament (MPs) who are elected by the Britishpeople during general elections which are held every fiveyears.
The country is divided into 650 constituencies (избирательные округа)each of which elects one Member of Parliament (MP).The party which wins the elections gets the most seats in the House of Commonsand forms the Government. Its leader becomes the Prime Minister.The House of Commons is presided over by the Speaker. The government partysits on the Speaker's right while on his left sit the members of the Opposition.Although Britain is called constitutional monarchy it does not have a writtenconstitution, but a set of laws. Most legislation (законодательство) originates inthe Commons.
The Bill becomes a law when it is debated and confirmed after threehearings by the MPs, then debated in the Lords and finally signed by the Queen.The House of Lords comprises about 1 200 members. The members of the Houseof Lords are not elected: they sit in the House because they are aristocrats whohave inherited their seats from their fathers or those who got the titles from theQueen and also bishops (эпископы) of the Church of England.This House has no real power but acts as an advisory council for the House ofCommons. The House of Lords may take part in legislation, but it cannotpermanently block a bill (законопроект) passed by the Commons.The House of Lords is presided over by the Lord Chancellor (Лорд Kанцлер,председатель суда) and is the highest court of appeal.The Queen opens and closes the sessions of the Parliament.The English monarchy has been interrupted only once during the Revolution andthe Cromwell republic.
Succession (наследование) to the throne is hereditary(наследственное). Formally the monarch has a number of roles. The monarch isexpected to be politically neutral, and should not make political decisions.Nevertheless ,executiveandQueen Elizabeth the Second still performs some importantlegislativeduties(исполнительныеизаконодательныеобязанности) including opening and dissolving Parliament, signing bills(законопроекты) passed by both Houses and fulfilling international duties, visitsto foreign countries, and especially those to the Commonwealth (Содружествонаций), whose interests and welfare (благосостояние) are very important to her.She started the tradition of the "walkabouts", when she walks among the publiccrowds and stops to talk to some people.
The annual Christmas broadcast made bythe Queen on radio and television has become a traditional. The Queen's husbandis Duke of Edinburgh and her heir (наследник) is Charles, Prince of Wales, whowas born in 1948, married Lady Diana Spencer and has two children, PrinceWilliam and Prince Harry. Diana died in a car accident in August, 1997. TheQueen's other children are Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.GovernmentTwo main parties in the UK are the Conservative party, descended from theold Tory party, and the Labour party, which was organized in 1906 and ismoderately socialist.
The Liberal Democrats, which is a weaker third party, wasformed by the merger (слияние) of the Liberal party and the Social Democraticparty.Both Scotland and Wales have nationalist parties whose goal is independence.The party which wins the most seats in the General Election forms thegovernment in Britain. The leader of the winning party becomes Prime Minister(PM). The PM chooses a committee of ministers called the Cabinet (about 15-25members or ministers). This is made up of a selection of senior MPs (members ofparliament) from the House of Commons and some members of the House ofLords. Each member of the Cabinet is a minister responsible for a governmentdepartment such as Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and the Exchequer (treasury).The Secretary of State for Education and Science is responsible for all the schools,universities and teachers in Britain.
The Cabinet of ministers runs the country(управляет страной) and the ministers are responsible for the principle spheres ofthe country’s life: foreign affairs, internal affairs, education, health care, etc. TheCabinet meets at the Prime Minister's house 10 Downing Street. Cabinet meetingsare held in private and the details must remain secret for at least 30 years. Cabinetministers cannot, however, do as they please! They are responsible to Parliamentand must answer their questions. Even the Prime Minister must answer questionsevery Tuesday and Thursday in the Commons — this is called Prime MinisterQuestion Time.The highest court in the UK is Supreme Court that consists of 12 judges that areselected by an independent commission and nominated by the Monarch. There is arange of subordinate courts and specialized tribunals all over the country.Historical Personalities and outstanding Prime ministersRussia’s relations with Great Britain have always been marked by chronic tensionbut.
the bombing of British cities by the Nazi planes and the German threat toBritish colonies in 1941 promoted the Military Alliance between Britain, theSoviet Union, and later the United States. Winston Churchill (1874-1965) as primeminister of that period together with the Soviet Union and the USA leaders ralliedthe British people during WW11, and led his country from defeat to victory.Unfortunately after the war the relations between Britain and the Soviet Unionchilled again.
Only a year after the Second World War in 1946 Winston Churchilldelivered his Iron Curtain Speech at Westminster College in the United States, , inwhich he called for special relationship between the United States and the BritishCommonwealth against the Soviet Union.
This speech was considered to be thebeginning of the Cold War between the USSR and the West, The formation of twomilitary alliances, NATO (1949) and the Warsaw Pact (1855) strengthened theCold War, which lasted until 1989.Among the personalities of postwar period we must remember, of course, the firstfemale Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who became Britain’s ConservativeParty leader in1979. During her three terms, she cut social welfare programs,reduced trade union power, privatized certain industries and got the nickname “theIron Lady”.The years after Margaret Thatcher are characterized by the victory of the LabourParty represented by Tony Blair and David Cameron, who in their foreign policybelieved in a “special relationship” with the USA. This relationship is based upon ashared language, strong Anglo -- Saxon culture, and particularly strong privaterelationships between Prime Minister Churchill and Roosevelt during the war andbetween M. Thatcher and Reagan in the 1980s.
Special relations of Tony Blair andBush led to the war in Iraq after the attack on the World Trade Center in New Yorkin 2001) and later to Blair’s resignation.Britain has encouraged the development of a strong arms industry to supply thearmedforces,andbecamethesecondlargestarmstraderinternationally. Britain still spends proportionally more on defense than otherNATO members.Since 1972 the UK has got very close relationships with the European Union andits headquarters in Brussels. The country joined the European EconomicCommunity (EEC or “Common Market”) in 1975.But last summer a veryinteresting phenomenon took place.
During his last electoral campaign DavidCameron promised the people of the UK that in case of his victory he wouldlaunch a referendum whether to stay in the EU or leave it. The United KingdomEuropean Union membership referendum, also known as the EU referendum andreferendum took place on Thursday 23 June 2016 . Absolutely surprisingly forDavid Cameron and the European Union the referendum resulted in an overall voteto leave the EU, by 51.9% to 46.6%, on a national turnout of 72% making it thehighest ever for a UK-wide referendum and also the highest turnout for anynational vote since the 1992 UK General Election Scotland backed Remain by62% to 38%, while 55.8% in Northern Ireland voted Remain and 44.2%Leave.New words appeared Brexin or Brexit? What does Brexit mean? It is aword that has become used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit, in a same way as Brexin meansEU membership in it.
.What happened after the referendum? David Cameron resigned after losingthe referendum and Britain got a new Prime Minister - Theresa May who was theformer home secretary. Like D. Cameron, Teresa May was against Britain leavingthe EU but she said she would respect the will of the people.Nothing would happen immediately. Firstly, following a vote to leave the EU, theUK Parliament would have to endorse the referendum and prepare legislation toaffect the divorce. Commentators suggested that it would take at least two years,perhaps longer, for everything to be put in place. This transitional period would bespent negotiating a withdrawal agreement and the basis of the new relationshipswith the remaining EU countries.Answer the questions:1.
Which political parties in the UK do you know?2. How do elections take place?3. How many Chambers (Houses) are there in the British Parliament? What isthe difference between them?4. Who is the head of the Government?5. What is a cabinet?6. Call any great political figures in the UK who you remember.7. What is Brexit?Translate from Russian into English:Британский парламент состоит из двух палатПроводить выборыВыигрывать выборыОбразовывать правительствоСвод законовНаследовать, наследникиНе иметь реально властиСовещательный СоветПринимать участиеЗаблокировать законопроектВысший Аппеляционный судПринимать политические решенияИсполнительные и законодательные обязанностиОткрытие и роспуск парламентаВыполнение обязанностейБлагосостояниеБыть ответственнымУправлять страной.