Government and politics constitution 1


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Government and politics constitution 1

  1. 1. Government and Politics Lesson 1: Constitution
  2. 2. Homework tasks: Weeks 2 and 3 • Set up blog • Read at least two broadsheet newspapers per week. Keep cuttings relevant to course in file. • Listen to radio 4 • Watch Newsnight • Research media platforms. How is the political sphere presented across a variety of media platforms? • Read the textbook when set specific pages
  3. 3. Classwork term 1 • Group presentations • Seminars • Campaigns • Comparative studies: USA and Europe • Exam techniques
  4. 4. Unit 2:1 The UK Constitution • Main features: – The constitution is a SET OF PRINCIPLES. In the UK it is unwritten • Function of the Constitution: – Determines HOW political power is distributed – Can be either FEDERAL as in the USA ie shared between the centre and the regions – Can be UNITARY as in the UK when all the real power is with central government – Also determines the balance of power between the PM / President, Government and Parliament and the bicameral chambers
  5. 5. Other Functions Of The Constitution • Determines the work of other institutions • Determines the limits of Govt power (in the UK govt power= total, in the USA govt power= limited) • Assesses the rights of the citizen against the state • Establishes rules of nationality (citizenship) • Amendments: formal (USA) evolved (UK)
  6. 6. Codification • Codification (or the formalising of a constitution/ amendment of it) often occurs at a critical time in a country’s history. • UK: two tier legal system; higher laws and ordinary laws
  7. 7. Un Codified Constitutions • Entrenchment: protects the constitution from long and short-term amendment – eg human rights (most recently an issue since became a part of EU law) When a new amendment is required to an un codified constitution, special arrangements are established – A referendum( putting the issue to the vote of the general public) or – Special parliamentary procedures
  8. 8. Question: • To what extent do you agree that the current system of government in the UK undermines the constitution Or • Compare the constitutions of the UK and one other country from the table on p153. In what ways does codification affect the autonomy of the government and parliament?
  9. 9. Case study • Compare the functions of the US Supreme Court with the UK House of Lords
  10. 10. Homework: For 16/9/10 • Read Evaluating Codification (p155) Extension: Student activity (p159) case study
  11. 11. Glossary terms from this lesson • Constitution= set of principles by which a country is governed • Bicameral= two chambers (in UK House of Commons and House of Lords) • Sovereignty= ultimate political power • Evolved amendments= changes to the constitution that occur over time • Codification= the formal recording of the constitution of a country • Entrenchment= the adherence of a country to aspects of the constitution over time
  12. 12. Some key points about the UK constitution • UK- Parliament is SOVEREIGN • Constitution is UNWRITTEN