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UNIT 1: CULTURE AND SOCIETY

Political processes and goals
The British political system
The British political system is often spoken of as a twoparty system. This does not mean that there
are only two parties, "but that there are only two parties (Labour and Conservative) with, a realistic
chance of…

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Outside England, the system is complicated by the inclusion of nationalist parties competing in just
one specific country. In Northern Ireland the system is further complicated because local elections
use a system of proportional representation known as the single transferable vote to elect the 108
members of its Assembly. The…

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Although the United Kingdom lacks a written constitution, it has what is known as a 'constitutional
monarchy'. The Queen acts as head of state but the responsibility for passing laws is Parliament's,
even though the monarch gives the royal assent to each bill that becomes an act of Parliament.
(This…

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No
The monarchy is an outdated institution,
It is undemocratic because it relies on an accident of birth.
It is a symbol of inequality.
Only formal and ceremonial responsibilities remain.
It is a waste of money.
The Commonwealth is an outdated institution and individual countries make their own
decisions.

Processes…

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totalling about 100 members. At the heart of the executive are the prime minister and the senior
ministers, who are chosen by the prime minister as members of the cabinet.

The prime minister is the head of the government, chairing the cabinet, providing leadership and
being the government's national representative.…

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Recent prime ministers
The prime minister's office in 10 Downing Street has grown significantly in recent years and has a
staff of nearly 200, including some important civil servants and special advisers appointed from
outside government. A prime minister's leadership style is vital. Margaret Thatcher's forceful,
decisive and domineering style…

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The cabinet's main functions are:
approving government business in Parliament
discussing major policy issues and reaching a decision on them
ratifying major decisions taken elsewhere ('rubber stamping', according to critics)
receiving reports on key issues and policy developments
helping to settle disputes that might arise between government departments

Key term…

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In 1928, when the voting age for women was reduced from 30 to 21, all UK adults (with a tiny
number of exceptions) were given the right to vote if they registered to do so (in 2005 there were 44
million names on the electoral register, although only 61 %…

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disadvantages small parties with thinly spread national support and unfairly advantages the
two main parties
requires winners only to gain a plurality of the votes cast rather than a majority -- 66% of MPs
elected in 2005 did not gain a majority of the votes cast
means that votes are…

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This is a broadly proportional system that is likely to ensure that votes are of equal value. The
winning party or coalition requires more than 50% of the votes cast, and voters have a wider degree
of choice from a range of candidates. However, it is less accurate in matching…

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