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S.L.Barkova, D.V.Ivanova, М.М.Тukodova

UK and US

(Political Setup)

Rostov-on-Don

2004

С.Л.Баркова, Д.В.Иванова, М.М.Тукодова

«соединенное королевство

и

соединенные штаты»

(Политическая система)

Ростов-на-Дону

2001

Учебное пособие предназначено студентам, изучающим курс международного регионоведения, международных отношений, а также широкого круга лиц, изучающих английский язык, желающих расширить свой лексический запас и углубить свои знания о странах изучаемого языка.

Пособие состоит из 12 разделов. Каждый раздел включает оригинальные тексты, в которых широко представлен систематизированный лингвострановедческий материал о политических и культурных проблемах США и Великобритании. Задача пособия – ознакомить студентов с работой органов местного самоуправления и сформировать у них определенную систему знаний о данных реалиях стран изучаемого языка.

Содержание текстов и структура упражнений дают возможность научить студентов вербально действовать в различных ситуациях, близких к реальным (как в устной, так и письменной коммуникации), а также могут использоваться для различных видов чтения, как углубленного, изучающего, так и для ознакомительного.

Послетекстовые упражнения носят коммуникативный характер и рассчитаны на активизацию лексического материала. Таблицы и схемы, представленные в пособии, способствуют формированию у студентов умений сопоставлять, анализировать, делать выводы, т.е. развивают поисковую творческую деятельность студентов. Иллюстративный материал (ребусы, кроссворды, таблицы и схемы) используется для презентации, семантизации и закрепления языкового материала, позволяющих лучше понять читаемый текст, представить себе реалии, не имеющие аналогов в русском языке.

В заключение следует подчеркнуть, что к учебному пособию прилагается материал для аудирования.

Unit 1 parliament

1. Before reading the text, match a word on the left with a definition on the right.

1. constitution a) a national body which represents the

people of a state and has supreme legislative powers within the state

  1. parliament b) a large room used for formal meetings

  2. policies c) a document which defines the

composition, powers and relations of the head of state, legislature, executive and judiciary

4. chamber d) a formal statement of a proposed new law

which is discussed and voted on

  1. authority e) an independent, politically organized

community of people living in a fixed part of the world under the authority of a sovereign government

  1. M.P. f) a set of ideas agreed on by people in

authority

7. bill g) the head of the UK government

  1. monarch h) the right or power to act, command,

judge, etc.

  1. P.M. i) a person elected by voters in a UK

constituency to represent them in the House of Commons

10.state j) the head of state

1.1.Test your general knowledge in the quiz below.

  1. Great Britain is

a) an absolute monarchy

  1. a constitutional monarchy

  2. a federal republic

  1. Which of the following are parts of the UK?

  1. England

  2. Eire

  3. Scotland

  4. Ulster

  5. Wales

3. The UK is

  1. a federation of states

  2. a unitary state

  3. a union of kingdoms

4. The head of the state is

  1. the Prime Minister

  2. the Monarch

  3. the Lord Chancellor

5. The constitution of the UK is

  1. written

  2. unwritten

  3. codified

  1. Legislation in the UK is made by

  1. Parliament

  2. the House of Lords

  3. the House of Commons

  4. Law Lords

1.2.Now read the text and see if you were right.

The british parliament

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a constitutional monarchy. This means that it has a monarch ( a king or a queen ) as its Head of State. The monarch has very little power and can only reign with the support of Parliament.

There is no written constitution in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom constitution is not embodied in a single document. It is a set of rules, many of which are customs or ‘conventions’ (unwritten rules) that have come to be accepted through the fact of being observed though they have no defined authority. Acts of Parliament (also called ‘laws’ or ‘statutes’) have defined some aspects of the constitutional system. This system is flexible and can be altered by Act of Parliament, or by general agreement to create, change or abolish a convention.

In the UK the ultimate legislator is Parliament, for in the traditional constitutional theory Parliament is sovereign. «Parliamentary sovereignty» means, first, that all legislative power within the realm is vested in Parliament, or is derived from the authority of Parliament - Parliament thus has no rival within the legislative sphere - and it means, secondly, that there is no legal limit to the power of Parliament. Parliament may therefore, and constantly does, by Act, delegate legislative powers to other bodies and even to individuals, but it may also, by Act, remove these powers as simply as it has conferred them.

So, the British Parliament has absolute supreme authority to pass any law and cannot limit the power of future Parliaments to legislate as they choose. However there are some external limits to Parliamentary sovereignty. These limits are international obligations of the UK as a member state of the European Economic Community.

Parliament in the United Kingdom is based on the principle that the people of the country hold ultimate power. They can exercise this power at least every five years, by voting for the person that they want to represent them in Parliament, and by voting in a Government.

Parliament’s main functions are law-making, authorizing taxation and public expenditure and examining government policy, especially proposals for expenditure. It discusses what the Government has done, is doing and intends to do, points to the Government’s errors and attempts to change and modify its policies.

The British Parliament is made up of three institutions. They are the monarchy and two chambers. The upper chamber is known as the House of Lords. The lower chamber is called the House of Commons. Parliament and the monarch have different roles in the government of the country, and they only meet together on symbolic occasions such as the coronation of a new monarch or the opening of Parliament. The House of Lords, which is an unelected chamber, has only limited powers. In reality, the House of Commons, which is made up of the elected members known as Members of Parliament ( abbreviated to MPs ), is the only one of the three which has true power. It is here that new bills are introduced and debated. If the majority of the members are in favour of a bill it goes to the House of Lords to be debated and finally to the monarch to be signed. Only then does it become law. Although a bill must be supported by all three bodies, the House of Lords cannot reject the bills that the House of Commons wants to pass, and the monarch has not refused to sign one since the modern political system began over 200 years ago.

The British democratic system depends on political parties, and there has been a party system of some kind since the 17th century. The political parties choose candidates in elections. There are sometimes independent candidates, but they are rarely elected.

The party which wins the majority of seats in the House of Commons forms the Government and its leader usually becomes Prime Minister. The most senior members of the Government are called the Cabinet.

The largest minority party becomes the Opposition. In doing so it accepts the right of the majority party to run the country, while the majority party accepts the right of the minority party to criticize it. Without this agreement between the political parties, the British parliamentary system would break down. The Opposition develops its own policies. It is the aim of every opposition party to gain power at the next election and it therefore has to make sure that it is properly prepared to govern the country. The most senior members of the Opposition are called the Shadow Cabinet which is headed by the Leader of the Opposition.

It is the job of Parliament to make sure that the Government is working properly and in the public interest. Every Member of Parliament, no matter what political party he or she belongs to, has to examine the work of the Government. The Opposition plays the leading part in this.

  1. What should the order of the following statements concerning the main political institutions in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland be?

  1. In reality, the House of Commons is the only one of the three which has true power.

  2. The most senior members of the Government are called the Cabinet.

  3. The Opposition is the major political party opposed to the party in power.

  4. The House of Lords is an unelected upper chamber.

  5. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a parliamentary monarchy.

  6. The party which wins the majority of seats in the House of Commons forms the Government.

  7. The House of Lords only has limited powers.

  8. The House of Commons is a lower chamber made up of the elected members.

  9. The monarch has very little power and can only reign with the support of Parliament.

  10. The leader of the majority party in the House of Commons becomes Prime Minister.

  11. The British Parliament is made up of three institutions: the monarchy, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

  12. It has a monarch ( a king or a queen ) as its Head of State.

1.4. Answer the following questions.

  1. How can the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland exercise their power?

  2. When do Parliament and the monarch meet?

  3. When did the monarch refuse to sign a bill last time?

  4. When did a party system appear in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

  5. What are the duties of Members of Parliament.

  6. What are the main functions of Parliament?

  7. What are the aims and functions of the Opposition?

  8. How can a Bill become an Act of Parliament?

  9. What prevents the British parliamentary system from breaking down?

  10. What is meant by the term «a constitutional monarchy»?

  1. Complete the sentences below.

  1. The United Kingdom constitution is not...

  2. Some aspects of the constitutional system of the United Kingdom are defined by...

  3. The principle, Parliament in the United Kingdom is based on, is that...

  4. Parliament discusses what...

  5. The monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons are...

  6. New bills are introduced and debated in...

  7. The bills cannot be rejected by ... if ... wants to pass them.

  8. ... are rarely elected.

  9. The Opposition accepts the rights...

  10. To gain power at the next election is ...

1.6. Complete the following puzzle. The definitions are given below. The first letter of each word is given to you.

1

P

_

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2

C

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3

O

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4

B

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5

S

_

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6

C

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7

M

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8

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9

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1. The Monarch + the House of Lords + the House of Commons.

  1. An unwritten rule.

  2. The largest minority party.

  3. A formal statement of a proposed new law which is discussed and voted on.

  4. An Act of Parliament.

  5. The most senior members of the Government.

  6. The system of government in which a single person called King or Queen holds the office of head of state.

  7. The head of the British Government.

  8. The act or process of passing a law.

1.7. Complete the following dialogue making use of the phrases below.

  1. Most willingly.

  2. Certainly not.

As a matter of fact...

  1. Nothing of the kind. Actually...

  2. To a certain extent. In fact ...

  3. This isn’t exactly what I mean. The fact is that ...

  4. On the one hand ..., but on the other hand ...

  5. Sure.

To begin with ...

In fact...

And besides...

  1. As for ...

  2. That’s all right. You’re welcome.

  3. As far as I know ...

  4. OK. If I am not mistaken...

  5. As far as ... are concerned...

... to say nothing of ...

To sum it up ...

  1. Frankly speaking ...

  2. It was a pleasure.

1) 1. Could you do me a favour and give some information on the British Parliament?

2...............................................................................................................

2) 1. Would you mind telling me if the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an absolute or constitutional monarchy?

2. .............................................................................................................

3) 1. Do you mean to say that the monarch is not Head of State?

2. .............................................................................................................

4) 1. From what you say I understand that it is the monarch that power belongs to.

2. .............................................................................................................

5) 1. Excuse my interrupting you. Did I get you right? Do you mean that the monarch doesn’t reign at all?

2. .............................................................................................................

6) 1. I see. If I remember rightly, there isn’t any constitution in the United Kingdom at all, is there?

2. .............................................................................................................

7) 1. Sorry, I didn’t quite get you. I wonder if you’d mind explaining to me what is meant by the term «the United Kingdom constitution»?

2. .............................................................................................................

8) 1.Now we know where we are. By the way, do you think there is an advantage of having such a constitutional system?

2. .............................................................................................................

9) 1. I’m afraid I’ve taken too much of your time. But I’d be much obliged to you if you could answer some more questions.

2. .............................................................................................................

10) 1. Do you by any chance know what principle the British Parliament is based on?

2. .............................................................................................................

11) 1. Could you tell me how they exercise this power, please?

2. .............................................................................................................

12) 1. I hate to bother you again, but could you mention Parliament’s main functions?

2. .............................................................................................................

13) 1. I wonder if you’d mind giving your opinion of the British Parliamentary system?

2. .............................................................................................................

14) 1. Thank you, you’ve been very helpful.

2. .............................................................................................................

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