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OP/ED: ATSNN Fact File: United Kingdom

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posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 08:29 PM
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I was made aware today in some other post that not everyone knows about British politics and its anachronisms. I have also wanted more British orientated news stories to survive here on ATSNN. It seems the vast majority of news items here are American in nature. To do my bit to help remedy the situation some what I felt a little handy background info and factoids might kindle some interest in Old Blighty. If any other members want to post an ATSNN Fact File about their country to assist us in reading news items pertaining to said country, please do!
 


The United Kingdom Of Great Britain

Comprised of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II
Rough International Equivalent: Governor General/President (excluding United States)

Factoids:
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne since June 2nd 1953.
- Head of the Church of England
- Queen Elizabeth II is the second longest serving head of state in the World
- Queen Elizabeth II is head of state for:
The United Kingdom
Antigua and Barbuda
Australia
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Canada
Grenada
Jamaica
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Solomon Islands
Tuvalu
- Queen Elizabeth II is head of state for over 125 million people across the globe


Prime Minister: Tony Blair
Rough International Equivalent: President (United States)

Factoids:
- Longest serving Labour Prime Minister
- Center-left


Chancellor of the Exchequer: Gordon Brown
Rough International Equivalent: Treasurer/Finance Minister/Secretary of the Treasury

Factoids:
- Longest serving Chancellor since the Reform Act of 1832
- Widely tipped to become the next Prime Minister
- Public fueding between himself and Tony Blair was common in 2004


Home Secretary: Charles Clarke
Rough International Equivalent: Interior Minister

Factoids:
- Some claim Charles Clarkes latest reforms modify British legal codes that have been established since the Magna Carta 1215AD
- From 1992 to 1997 he was head of Quality Public Affairs, a public affairs management consultancy firm.


Foreign Secretary: Jack Straw
Rough International Equivalent: Secretary of State

Factoids:
- Jack was brought up by a single mother on a council estate
- After the 2001 election he was widely expected to be become Transport Secretary but surprised everyone by becoming Foreign Secretary


Deputy Prime Minister: John Prescott
Rough International Equivalent: Vice President

Factoids:
- Widley viewed as a rogue after he punched a protestor in the face during a protest rally 17th May 2001
- Had a jug of iced water thrown over him at the Brit Music Awards by Chumbawamba lead singer.


Defence Secretary: John Reid
Rough International Equivalent: Defence Secretary

Factoids:
- Considered one of Labour's "hard men" ("tough men")
- The first Catholic Secretary of State for Northern Ireland


Leader of the Opposition: Michael Howard
Rough International Equivalent: Leader of the second largest political party (seats)

Factoids:
- Son of immigrants that escaped the Nazis in Europe
- Will resign as leader of the Conservative Party at the end of the year (2005)


Leader of the Liberal Democrats: Charles Kennedy
Rough International Equivalent: Leader of the third largest political party (seats)

Factoids:
- Wife had a baby during this years general election which hampered his appearances at crucial times
- Leader of the most sucessful third party in British politics


Parliament:

Comprised of two houses of parliament. The Upper House and Lower House.

Lower House
Rough International Equivalent: The House of Representatives
The House of Commons is comprised of 646 elected representatives and the leader of the House of Commons is the Prime Minister. This house has more power than the Upper House.

The British House of Commons has been in continual existance since the 14th century.


Upper House
Rough International Equivalent: Senate
The House of Lords is comprised of 731 unelected Lords. The lords contain 2 archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England (called Lords Spiritual) as well as 706 members of the peerage.

The British House of Lords was also created in the 14th century but was abolished after the English civil war in 1649 by the revolutionary government. It was reinstated again in 1660.

Since the 19th century the powers of the House of Lords have steadily been reduced. The House of Lords can only delay bills of a non-monetary nature and can only use their suspensive veto for 12 months following the Parliament acts.

The current labour government abolished the practice of hereditary peerage with the House of Lords Act 1999. This provided 92 seats for elected representative peers.


Law Lords
Rough International Equivalent: Supreme Court
In addition to its role in parliament the House of Lords contains one of the highest judicial bodies in the United Kingdom. Known as the Law Lords this body consists of Lords with legal experience.


Privy Council
Rough International Equivalent: Supreme Court
The highest legal body in the United Kingdom. The Privy Council's membership is for life and its members are drawn from the democratically elected government of the time. Notable Privy Council members are Tony Blair, Margret Thatcher and David Blunket.


Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the (Privy) Council: Baroness Amos
Rough International Equivalent: Senate Majority Leader and member of Supreme Court

Factoids:
- Baroness Amos is the first black woman to become a sitting member of the British cabinet
- Baroness Amos was born in Guyana
- The British government nominated Amos to lead the UN's Development Programme in 2005.


Former Prime Minister: John Major

Term: 1990 - 1997
Party: Conservatives (Tory)
Factoids:
- Considered an extremely dull and uncharismatic leader. He was portrayed as a grey coloured puppet to convey this fact in the satirical TV show - Spitting Image.
- In 1997 the Conservative party, under Major, suffered the worst election defeat since 1832. Losing to the Labour Party led by Tony Blair.


Former Prime Ministers: Baroness Margaret Thatcher

Term: 1979 - 1990
Party: Conservatives (Tory)
Factoids:
- Nicknamed the "Iron Lady"
- First woman Prime Minister of Great Britain
- Personal friend and staunch political ally of US President Ronald Reagan
- Famously demanded of the European Union, "I want my money back" in 1984 and won an annual £2 billion (US$3.6billion) rebate because of it. The rebate exists to this day and is known as the "British rebate"


Former Prime Ministers: James Callaghan

Term: 1976 - 1979
Party: Labour
Factoids:
- Nicknamed "Sunny Jim" or "Big Jim"
- His Prime Ministership was dogged by a Labour minority in the House of Commons

[edit on 20/8/05 by subz]




posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 09:58 AM
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Did you know that since 1689 when the British parliament passed its Bill of Rights, that a standing British army has to be annually authourized by parliament. Its a formality but the British monarch is not allowed to keep a standing army at times of peace without the consent of parliament.



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 09:59 AM
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I really love this submission. I wish we had an appropriate category for these "fact file" type submissions. This isn't an OP/ED...it's a wonderful piece of knowledge you've shared with us non-Brits. I hope we see more of these from members in various countries. I learned a great deal about your multi-faceted political structure.

Thank you!


[edit on 8-21-2005 by Valhall]



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 10:03 AM
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Great post. I would love to see more type of posts about countries from all over the world. Just a positive fact based thread is very nice and informative.



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 10:03 AM
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Excellent post! I'm English and I might learn something from it! LOL
Don't we still have the Falkland ISlands too? Or am I misunderstanding something?



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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Totally agree with Valhall...great post



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 10:10 AM
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And our constitution isn't written down either! plus our MP's are not allowed to question or speak of the future of the monarchy(in parliament that is) either!(in parliament that is) our democracy is great!


Interesting fact, i have been informed, that there is a nice group of MP's who support a republican movement in the UK i.e replacing the Queen with an elected head of state.



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 10:15 AM
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Don't we still have the Falkland ISlands too? Or am I misunderstanding something?


Of course, its very important to us. Its rich in natural resources



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:12 AM
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I think they (Falklands) are classed as "possessions" and not countries right? Im not sure to be quite frank.

Thanks for the compliments about the thread. I also think its not technically an Op/Ed but my Opinion was to get people interested and atleast "clued up" on British politics so that British news items here on ATSNN can have a life span greater than a nano-second. It was important for this info to be at hand on ATSNN and not some disjointed forum somewhere else on ATS because people reading the news here should know this info.

[edit on 21/8/05 by subz]



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:14 AM
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infinite, the idea of this has existed for a long while however it would be annoyingly hard to push through Parliament until after the present Queen's death.

Mostly because she does a good job and nobody likes big ears. :|

Also the fact as head of State she has control of the Royal Forces (RAF, etc.) and there always is that slight fear she might not go willingly.

The T.A. of course being Parliaments Army and the people, but of course after National Service and the removal of legal fire-arms Parliament doesn't really have much of an armed forces.

Prior to this the two were always there to keep each other in balance.

The Royal Family to make sure Parliament do not bring about a Police State and take away our rights and Parliament to make sure the Queen doesn't do such a thing.

(Bill of Rights 1689-United Kingdom)



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:16 AM
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Falkland Islands are classed as British overseas territory. It is a territory that is under the sovereignty and formal control of the United Kingdom but is not part of the United Kingdom proper (Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

"Overseas territories should be distinguished from crown dependencies (the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which have a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom), and protectorates (which were not formally under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom). They should also not be confused with Commonwealth realms, which are independent states sharing the same sovereign as the United Kingdom."
en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:21 AM
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For those who don't know...

The Commonwealth is what was called The British Empire, but it was renamed to the Commonwealth


i think it was in the 1920's (i could be wrong) that the British Empire as renamed The Commonwealth.



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:25 AM
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"The Commonwealth of Nations is an association of independent sovereign states, most of which are former colonies once governed by the United Kingdom as part of the British Empire.

It was once known as the British Commonwealth, and some still call it by that name, either for historical reasons or to distinguish it from the other commonwealths around the world. However, in most member states it is known simply as as the Commonwealth. The two exceptions are Australia and The Bahamas, where 'Commonwealth' refers to the Australian federation and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas respectively, and 'Commonwealth of Nations' is used instead." en.wikipedia.org...

It's a lot more than a group of Nations. They pretty much all agreed to do what is in the best interests of them all and to protect the people of each one. Which is why I have such a problem with Blair/Zimbabwe since he is not upholding this.



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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Well...I had to wait a LONG time to get to give you your WATS vote, subz! I couldn't do it until the blasted thing got upgraded! But I "gotter dunnn".



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:36 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall
Well...I had to wait a LONG time to get to give you your WATS vote, subz! I couldn't do it until the blasted thing got upgraded! But I "gotter dunnn".

Thanks Val! Coming from you that means an incredible amount to me.


*We need a Cheshire Cat smiley face!*



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:39 AM
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Side note on the commonwealth theme.

you ever wondered how many extra UN votes that gives Great britian. my reconking its atleast 5

As in time of war, i was told my old friend of my fathers, that all common wealth countries came under United kingdoms control more directly under the crowns control.
He used to brag about how we had the biggest army in the world. 1billion+ of poor souls to pick from.

Also another little note, when reagan invaded Grenada in 80s , the United Kingdom were" techincally "at War. I was told a story that the Late Queen mum(God bless her soul) called Maggie thatcher up and demand the Royal Navy set sail and defend Gernada(To the americans the Queen mum, was a battleAxe) In the end Grenada was in desprate state anyway, in dire need of money to prop up there encomony and rebiuld alot of there 19th century country. After Maggie blasted Reagan down the Phone, The USA pick up the tab to the tune of several Billion $$ if i remeber correctly.



[edit on 21-8-2005 by owell]



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 11:48 AM
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Originally posted by owell
Side note on the commonwealth theme.

you ever wondered how many extra UN votes that gives Great britian. my reconking its atleast 5

As in time of war, i was told my old friend of my fathers, that all common wealth countries came under United kingdoms control more directly under the crowns control.
He used to brag about how we had the biggest army in the world. 1billion+ of poor souls to pick from.

Also another little note, when reagan invaded Grenada in 80s , the United Kingdom were" techincally "at War. I was told a story that the Late Queen mum(God bless her soul) called Maggie thatcher up and demand the Royal Navy set sail and defend Gernada(To the americans the Queen mum, was a battleAxe) In the end Grenada was in desprate state anyway, in dire need of money to prop up there encomony and rebiuld alot of there 19th century country. After Maggie blasted Reagan down the Phone, The USA pick up the tab to the tune of several Billion $$ if i remeber correctly.



[edit on 21-8-2005 by owell]


owell, you'll actually find it is the Royal Family's Army, not Parliament.

It's why it's called the "Royal Air Force" or "Royal Army", the Territorial Army is actually Parliament's Armed Forces.

And yes, if the U.K. was attacked by Land/Air/Navy, the Commonwealth joins in to protect us and if they are we do the same.



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by Odium


Mostly because she does a good job and nobody likes big ears. :|

Also the fact as head of State she has control of the Royal Forces (RAF, etc.) and there always is that slight fear she might not go willingly.

The T.A. of course being Parliaments Army and the people, but of course after National Service and the removal of legal fire-arms Parliament doesn't really have much of an armed forces.



(Bill of Rights 1689-United Kingdom)


If what you say is true, why then is the queen not listed in the chain of command for the RAF? Do not know about the RA but I did look up the RAF and she is not listed in their chain of command.

Command Structure RAF



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 12:03 PM
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Lol i was just trying too inform without being... all Term correct... as such.

you know speaking laymans english ..

if notice i said the "crowns control"


but im glad you wrote it all properly it will help others understand.

[edit on 21-8-2005 by owell]



posted on Aug, 21 2005 @ 12:08 PM
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shots, next time I get to go into College I'll grab you the name of the book.

My law teacher has it to actually show us the power to Queen/Royal Family have as the head of state in this Nation which have never been removed (however they are hardly used).

Another example is the Royal Family can if need be dissolve Parliament if they think that the MPs are not doing what is in the best interest of the people.

List of things go on...




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