Exam review for term 1

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Randall Hansen

Britain - Constitution famously unwritten - This means that status of law can only be determined by parliament. No higher law for court to appeal to as a trump - Not really unwritten just un codified. There are some documents like magna carta, parliament acts - There are some unwritten practices like doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty which dictates that a parliament can overturn absolutely anything that came before it. Also conventions which are broadly held views of what is and is not acceptable in parliament - Parliamentary sovereignty has been slightly undermined by EU - Some argue that no const allows England to be flexible and adapt to the changing times. - This argument came under fire during the troubles - Parties - Labour, Tories and Lib Dems - Parties are anchor of British politics because 1) PM of largest party is asked to form government 2) Gouvernment rules only with confidence of house, can fall at any time. Confidence is expressed by parties. 3) members of the party are bound to party discipline. Discent can happen within cabinet but not outside. 4) opposition not necessarily bound to discipline but usually does so anyways - British party system is very stable. Major parties always get majority of votes because there are so many people who would never leave their party due to the fact that parties are rooted in class divides - Whip means parties can always rely on their members for support - Implications: Britain has most powerful party system in the world. Votes against governments are rare. A majority is essentially elected dictatorship. Political success for an individual depends heavily on the party - Legislature - Law making body - Source of power and prestige - Confirms appointments - Plays a role in budget - Helps citizens communicate with executive - Acts as a check on executive power - Parliement votes always happen along party lines - Leg History - 1. Growth of party discipline - 2. Consolidation of 2.5 party system www.notesolution.com- 3. Sharp increase in post war legislative activity reduces scope for deliberational scrutiny - 4. Thatcher falls because she loses support of cabinet and back benchers which causes consolidation of PM power somewhat under thatcher but mostly under blair. Kitchen cabinets: experts that PMs hire seperately - Legislative Process - Proposal in Whitehall (Civil Service....) - Sent to other depts. (treasury has a veto) - Cabinet signals agreement - Future legislation comitee - Parliamentary council drafts bill - Queen announces it in speech - Another legislation comitee - Then debated in HoC st - 1 reading: statement of purpose - 2 reading general provisions subject to debate - If accepted goes to standing committee rd - 3 reading, final debate vote - Then to house of lords but they dont really matter - Elections - First past the post (This supports the two party system) - Constituencies - Potential to have majority of seats with as little as 35% of vote - Unlikely for small parties - The people only really have a say in politics during elections - Limits fringe parties - Executive: - PM super powerful, can sack ministers, define broad outline of policy - Three main debates in British poltics: 1)rival models of political economy 2) Who Britain should associate with in the world (Empire? USA? EU?) and Territorial organization (Power for Scotland? Wales? Etc.) - Key difference from France...not a clear distinction between executive and legislative France - The triumph of presidential power - 4 rep was unstable 5 rep was centralized in the office of the Prez - French const design - Product of CDG - Insitutions created in 58-62 and consolidated by CDGs retirement in 69 - Pre-58 Financial crisis and Algerian crisis www.notesolution.com
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