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Question from an American

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posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 02:12 PM
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I'm curious as to how politics work in the UK. I had plenty of ancestors from England, some of whom helped found the first New England colonies.

For example, what role, if any, does the Queen play? Who decides what?

I'm just curious.




posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 03:34 PM
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Is it really that difficult to look this stuff up yourself?
Even a long look at this section of PTS would educate you a lot.

OK, a few pointers -

We in the UK have a 'constitutional Monarchy'

Basically the theoretical idea is the Monarch is notionally the head honcho but in reality devolves those actual powers to Parliament where we have political parties doing the actual business of gov (and yes, even members of those parties which were losers in our general election get to participate sitting on and even chairing the various Parliamentary committees etc).

We don't directly elect our Prime Minister; that post comes to the leader of the party which wins the largest number of seats in Parliament in our general election whuch happens usually every 4 years (although the actual legal 'term' time limit is 5yrs. Our politicians like to try and time the general election to suit their chances as best as possible.).

We vote for our Parliament in the general election by the 'first past the post' electoral system but PR (proportional representation) is used in some other polls (like the European Parliamentary elections, elections for Mayor and some local gov elections).

The three main political parties in the UK are the Labour party, the conservative party and the Liberal party. Other partys are represented at Westminster but these are much smaller and tend to be, mainly, the various (some small 'n', some large 'n') nationalist parties from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There; that should give you a few avenues to persue yourself.


[edit on 22-10-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 03:59 PM
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No need to be snarky now.


I'm just interested in hearing it from the people here at PTS, is all.

For example, our government is SUPPOSED to be a constitutional republic, but in reality it doesn't work that way.



posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 05:38 PM
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Originally posted by Amethyst
No need to be snarky now.


I'm just interested in hearing it from the people here at PTS, is all.

For example, our government is SUPPOSED to be a constitutional republic, but in reality it doesn't work that way.


Sminkeypinkey wrote an excellent overview of the British political system. However, there are a couple of points I would like to add.

As far as I understand it, the US *IS* a constitutional republic - power is devolved to the states by a centralised federal body, while adhering to the written word of a constitution that stands as the core of all political life in America. The Right to Bear arms for instance is a central tenant of American beliefs, as is the the right to free speech. Can you please expand on how America is not actually a constitutional republic?

In Britain there is no formal constitution as such. Instead there is an 'unwritten' constitution, where a number of documents consist of the British consitution such as:

*Statutes like the Magna Carta of 1215 and the Act of Settlement of 1701
*Laws and Customs of Parliament; political conventions
*Case law; constitutional matters decided in a court of law
*Constitutional experts who have written on the subject

The two basic principles of the British constitution are The Rule of Law and The Supremacy of Parliament.

I agree with Sminkeypinkey that this is a very complicated subject and you really need to do some research to learn more about the British political system.

[edit on 22-10-2005 by kedfr]



posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 06:12 PM
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Originally posted by Amethyst
No need to be snarky now.


- I really wasn't trying to come over as in any way bad tempered about this.

The facts of the thing are really something for a hell of a lot more than a couple of quick paragraphs. Talk about complex.

Bear in mind that is also long before you get anywhere near the kind of 'yeah those are the supposed ways it's meant to work but the reality is....' kind of thing you alluded to in you own comments about the US system(s) of gov.

Just as with the way in the US it's a hell of a deep topic even if superficially it seems straight forward.
(an illustration of this would be you own US Constitution which looks simple enough until you consider the vast number amendments and miles of judgements etc interpreting it and implementing it at national and state level, or not as the case may be.

....and we don't even have a written constitution!
)

But in our case there are also meaningful connections between today's law and that of over 800yrs old (as kedfr nicely pointed out with the Magna Carta reference
).



posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 07:22 AM
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and we don't even have a written constitution!


The joys of democracy!

sminkeypinkey, that was a nice overview of our system old chap




For example, what role, if any, does the Queen play?


She is head of state and the commonwealth, She can disolve Parliament if she wants and rule on her own, but that would result in a blacklash from Parliamanet.



posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 08:17 PM
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Hey Amethyst its good to see another constitutionalist on the board. I'm a bit of an amatuer political scientist. And I love politics and learning about our worlds differant political systems. The Brits in IMO have a more complex and less straight forward system of government than we do. Sminkey and Infinite may not agree but they were brought up under that system so I guess its all relative. As far as researching these things don't mind Sminkey its probably raining were he is so he's probably not in that good of a mood.
Just kidding Sminkey



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by danwild6
don't mind Sminkey its probably raining were he is so he's probably not in that good of a mood.




You're not wrong mate.

It's been blowing a gale and pissing down here almost all weekend and into today....the joys of winter coming to the British Isles.

(still we must count our blessings, at least it's not like some poor sods have had to endure lately in the Gulf of Mexico area, eh?)



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 02:51 PM
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True, but fortunately I live in California so we just have to deal with an earthquake ever century or so.



posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 01:07 PM
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I was having a political chat with one of my friends after my dad explained the key difference between U.S and U.K politics. Blair can pretty much do what he wants but the only reason he doesn't do everything he wants is to keep support. Whereas Bush needs the votes from Congress and other such places. Also Blair can over rule the House of Lords by using the Parliament Act, which renders everything useless really.

Only problem in Britain is the lack of parties, who's gonna vote for Lib Dem? And the current state of the Conservatives is bad.

The Queen and monarchy are just ambassadors really.



posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by mashup
I was having a political chat with one of my friends after my dad explained the key difference between U.S and U.K politics. Blair can pretty much do what he wants but the only reason he doesn't do everything he wants is to keep support. Whereas Bush needs the votes from Congress and other such places. Also Blair can over rule the House of Lords by using the Parliament Act, which renders everything useless really.

Only problem in Britain is the lack of parties, who's gonna vote for Lib Dem? And the current state of the Conservatives is bad.

The Queen and monarchy are just ambassadors really.


Blair cannot do "what he likes" he needs parliament backing before he runs around doing anything he likes.

There is shed load of parties in the UK

The Queen is head of state, not an ambassador
she is in control, not Blair.

Who is going to Vote for the Lib dems? seeings they are the third largest party in the UK, then a alot.

Key differeint between the US and UK, is the US is a republic and Britian is not.


[edit on 28-10-2005 by infinite]



posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 12:29 AM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
Is it really that difficult to look this stuff up yourself?
Even a long look at this section of PTS would educate you a lot.
[edit on 22-10-2005 by sminkeypinkey]


And that delightful response will also tell you all you need to know about the general behaviour of the population as well.



posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 04:42 AM
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The reason I said that the monarchy are ambassadors is because they represent Britain.



posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by Winchester Ranger T
And that delightful response will also tell you all you need to know about the general behaviour of the population as well.


- Wow, spot the highly selective quote.

What sparked this off and got your panties so twisted, huh?


So come on then Winchester, where is your 'on topic' helpful and in depth 5000 word + essay on the matter (with references etc)?

I was simply trying to point out (as I was at pains to point out in my 2nd post on the topic, in a polite way) that it is surely not exactly asking too much if people make a little effort themselves in what is a hugely complex matter.

If you looked you would also have noted that I did not just curtly cut Amethyst off and went on to give him/her the outline asked for.
An outline that was appreciated by other posters here, if you bother to look, actually.

If any "delighful" response here is indicative of anyones' bad attitude I'd suggest your one is.

What on earth was the point of it but to make a (small, ridiculous and uncalled for) dig at another poster?



[edit on 29-10-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 08:47 PM
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I thought your initial response was rude and ignorant, simple as that.

Ask yourself this, if an American had asked you that question to your face, would you have provided the same response.

I wasn't planning on conducting a lesson in manners, but you did ask, and you seem to have such an immediate need.



posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 06:35 AM
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This always ends up happening on these boards....



posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 07:45 AM
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Man,
You got to love Americans



posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 08:57 AM
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Post deleted as I can't be annoyed and I'm not lowering myself to play your ridiculous and highly infantile little game Winchester.

You crack on if you must.



[edit on 30-10-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



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