Europe

United Kingdom Politics and Law

Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a parliamentary monarchy in Western Europe with the capital London. The United Kingdom occupies most of the British Isles. England is essentially a hill country. It is joined by west Wales and north Scotland with higher mountains. The climate with rapidly changing weather patterns is oceanic and becomes rougher towards the north.

Great Britain was the first country on earth to industrialize at the end of the 18th century. The industrial society also accentuated the social differences between upper class, middle class and working class. Before that, the rise to the world’s largest colonial power had begun. Efficient seaports were built and areas with a high population density emerged, especially in the Midlands. The metropolitan areas also attracted many immigrants, first from Ireland, after World War II from the Commonwealth of Nations and, since the 1990s, from East Central Europe, especially Poland. By the beginning of the 20th century, London had grown to become the largest city in the world.

Even today, the British capital is an important financial and cultural metropolis. The transition to the service society modernized the country, but led to major social upheavals due to the decline of the coal and steel industry. Agriculture has long been made up of productive large farms. Oil and gas from the North Sea and nuclear power plants made Great Britain energy self-sufficient.

According to directoryaah, England is the “motherland” of parliamentarism with the House of Commons representing the people, a two-party system and a strong culture of public debate. There is no such thing as a written constitution. The monarchy, represented by the House of Windsor, guarantees the cohesion of the nation and the Commonwealth of Nations. Although a member of the European Community from 1973 onwards, British policy towards European integration was mostly aloof. The decision in favor of Brexit resulted from a systemic crisis in British parliamentarism and brought about a domestic political confrontation that had hardly been known since the 19th century.

National symbols

The national flag is the Union Jack. – The coat of arms (since 1837) shows the coat of arms of England in the squared shield in fields 1 and 4 (three gold lions in red, heraldically referred to as “leopards”), in field 2 that of Scotland (a red lion in gold within a red lily border), in field 3 that of Ireland (a golden harp in blue). The shield is covered by the dark blue ribbon of the Order of the Garter with his motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense” written in golden letters (a rogue who thinks evil). Shield holders are the English lion and the neck-crowned unicorn of Scotland, entwined with a chain; they stand on a green floor with the badges of England (rose), Scotland (thistle) and Ireland (clover). The banner underneath bears the motto “Dieu et mon droit” (God and my right).

National holiday is the official birthday of the reigning monarch (second Saturday in June).

Parties

Due to unrestricted majority voting, the UK and Northern Ireland have a de facto two-party system. The Conservative and Unionist Party, which is determined by traditional political values, is opposed to the Labor Party, which is more oriented towards the political center. The Liberal Party that followed the First World War lost most of its electorate to the Labor Party, formed an electoral alliance with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1981; In 1988 it was merged to form the Social and Liberal Democrats and a year later it was renamed Liberal Democrats. From 2010–2015 they were involved in government responsibility as part of a coalition with the conservatives. While the Democratic Left (successor organization to the Communist Party of Great Britain) has little political influence, the Green Party (founded in 1973 as the Ecology Party) has developed into a force to be taken seriously. The right-wing populist United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), founded in 1993, supports Great Britain’s exit from the EU. On a regional basis, the Plaid Cymru (English Welsh National Party) formed in Wales and the Scottish National Party in Scotland. Northern Irish Parties (Northern Ireland) are also represented in the House of Commons; the Democratic Unionist Party has supported a minority Conservative government since 2017.

Unions

According to the organizational principles of trade unions, there are four main types: craft unions, industrial unions, white collar unions and general unions. Around a quarter of the employees are unionized. The largest umbrella organization for England and Wales is the Trades Union Congress (TUC), founded in 1868, to which (2018) 48 trade unions with around 5.5 million members belonged. As a result of several laws by the Thatcher government directed against the trade unions, the number of members and the influence of the trade unions have declined significantly in recent decades (trade unions, shop stewards).

Military

The total strength of the professional army amounts to 152,000 soldiers. In the event of war, around 81,000 members of the Regular Reserve (former professional soldiers) are also available, as are around 30,000 part-time soldiers of the Territorial Army who voluntarily undertake regular training and exercises. The army comprises around 87,000 soldiers. It is divided into the headquarters of the ARRC, an armored division, a mechanized division, an airborne, an artillery, an engineer, a logistics and a medical brigade as well as 2 anti-aircraft regiments and 3 light infantry battalions. There are 32,000 soldiers in the Navy (Royal Navy) and 33,000 in the Air Force (Royal Air Force). The Strategic Nuclear Forces (Trident submarines) have 1,000 military personnel. A significant part of the British armed forces are stationed or deployed abroad. – Great Britain is a founding member of NATO.

United Kingdom Politics