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This book seeks to review the state of political issues early in the twenty-first century, when New Labour is in its second term of office. As part of the updating process it became necessary to choose which political issues are important. The book includes the main issues which appear in current Advanced Level Politics syllabuses. In the case of Edexcel, which offers a specific political issues option in its A2 specification, all the specified issues have been included. The book deals with the process of constitutional and political change which are issues in themselves. It also includes material on constitutional reform (incorporating the recent development of human rights in Britain), and devolution. The book includes the global recession and other recent political developments and looks at the important issues in British politics since 1945. It examines the key issues of British politics today: economic policy, the Welfare State, law and order, environment policy, Northern Ireland, issues concerning women, European integration and the European Union, and the impact of the European Union on Britain. The book also deals with the European Union and Britain's relationship to it. Finally, it must be emphasised that Britain's relationship to the European Union is in itself a political issue which has fundamentally changed the party system.

Contextual, analytical and theoretical issues

termed the ‘new political science of British politics’. Each serves to highlight a distinctive aspect of the issue of causality; and each has a special relevance to labour studies in general and to the political science and the political economy of Labour in particular. They are: ● ● ● ● the relationship between structure and agency, context and conduct; the relationship between the discursive and the material, between the ideas held about the world and that world itself; the relative significance of political, economic and cultural factors; and the relative

in Interpreting the Labour Party
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Factions or parties?

might lead to alterations of policy. That argument cannot be pushed further. The British political scene between the accession of George III and the outbreak of the American War was a time when the two sides in Parliament were ‘administration’ and ‘opposition’. That terminology was the usual language of debate.4 Within that simple political context there existed distinct factions, but the political scene was in detail far more complex than that depicted in the broad strokes of this study. Some individual politicians, conspicuously Charles Townshend, occasionally

in George III
Interpreting the unions–party link

Labour’s mid-term election losses in 1999 and the 2001 election campaign, in which the unions played a crucial role. After the 2001 campaign, though, bitter conflict erupted over the Government’s drive to place more public services under private sector management, and discontent over New Labour’s stance on EU labour market policy became more intense. To younger students of British politics, this public conflict may have appeared novel. Since the mid-1980s most unions had supported Labour’s organisational and policy modernisation under Neil Kinnock and John Smith. Only

in Interpreting the Labour Party

ITLP_C01.QXD 18/8/03 9:54 am Page 8 1 Understanding Labour’s ideological trajectory Nick Randall The Labour Party is habitually considered the most ideologically inclined of all British political parties, and ideological struggle has been endemic within the party since its foundation. It is no surprise, therefore, that studies of the party have endeavoured to understand why Labour’s ideology has shifted repeatedly throughout its history. This chapter considers those efforts. A large and varied literature is available to explain Labour’s ideological movements

in Interpreting the Labour Party
Debates about potential and ambition in British socialist thought

Gordon Brown’s party conference speech in 2007 represents something of a landmark in British political history in the extent to which it placed the idea of encouraging people’s talents and ambitions at the centre of his political vision. It also points to some ways in which an emphasis on encouraging the development of people’s potential, talents and ambitions has been, and can continue to be, of substantial benefit to socialists, in terms both of helping them to win elections and achieving some of their deepest objectives of equality and empowerment. Two brief points

in In search of social democracy

a ‘good thing’, while Labour enjoyed a healthy 56–27 per cent lead over the Conservatives on race relations. This, together with Conservative divisions on race and the limited impact of its asylum 194 Philip Lynch message, allowed Labour to promote a positive message on race without suffering an electoral backlash.43 Conclusion Two broad visions of British identity are evident in contemporary British political discourse. The first is a pluralist perspective on Britishness that emphasises the multinational character of the UK state and seeks an updated British

in The Conservatives in Crisis
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political science apparently has this character. (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics , Book 1:2) A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar. (H. L. Mencken, Prejudices , 1925) Readers will peruse this book in vain if they seek an outline of the British political system

in Understanding political ideas and movements
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professions had a more immediate impact. Nevertheless, progress in the early part of the twentieth century remained slow. Between 1928 and the 1960s, therefore, the women’s movement retreated into the background of British politics. When it re-emerged in the 1960s, the impetus came from the USA. Radical feminism and the New Left A crucial event in the development of the modern women’s movement was the publication of an American book – The Feminine Mystique – written by Betty Friedan in 1963. Friedan’s work was a devastating criticism on a culture which had come to be

in Understanding British and European political issues

Independent MP Martin Bell since 1997, but in which Bell was not standing in 2001 – the net Conservative gain from other political parties was effectively nil. Just as four years before, their first task was the choosing of a new leader. William Hague’s reforms may have ended the parliamentary party’s monopoly in leadership selection, but the parliamentarians remained extremely important, far more so than in other British political parties. The new rules involved the party’s wider membership in the country (see Chapter 5), but only once the incumbent leader has resigned

in The Conservatives in Crisis