The British democratic system depends on political parties and there has been a party system of some kind since the 17th century. The Conservative and the Liberal parties are the oldest and until the last years of the 19th century they were the only parties elected to the House of Commons.
The Conservatives, often called the Tories, have always been the party of the Right, the party of big business, industry, commerce and landowners. It can broadly be described as the party of the middle and upper classes although it does receive some working class support. The party represents those who The Political Parties. believe in private enterprise as opposed to state-owned undertakings. The Tories are the most powerful party and are often called a party of business directors. (The word “Tories” is an Irish name for thieves and was applied to the Conservatives by their opponents, but later they adopted the name to describe themselves).
The Tories were opposed by the Whigs, a rude name for cattle drivers. In the middle of the 19th century the Liberal Party (or the Whigs) represented the trading and manufacturing classes. Its slogan of that time was “Civil and Religious Liberty”. During the The Political Parties. second half of the 19th century many working people looked at the Liberal Party as an alternative to the Conservatives and their policy. At the end of the 19th century and in the first two decades of the 20th century, the Liberals lost the support of working – class voters.
Around 1900 the Labour Party was formed as the political arm of the trade unions. It was the party that drew away working people’s support. The Labour Party has always had strong links with the trade unions and receives financial support from them. While many Labour voters are middle-class The Political Parties. or intellectuals, the traditional Labour Party support is still strongest in industrial areas.
There are also some other parties:the Social Democratic Party, the Liberal Democrats. The Green Party, The Communist Party, the National Front, the Scottish National Party and the Welsh National Party.
Exercise 1. Turn the following verbs into nouns denoting the doer of the action.
To support; to vote; to manufacture; to own; to oppose; to believe; to elect; to win; to defend; to direct; to represent; to preside.
Exercise 2. Rearrange the sentences putting the words in the correct word order.
1) The party, the rich, traditionally, is, the The Political Parties. Conservative Party, and, supported, privileged, by.
2) Today, representation, almost, parliamentary, insignificant, and, the Liberal Party, the membership, is, of.
3) A victory, was, at the beginning, the Labour Party, of, the formation, of, movement, the century, of, the labour.
4) Extremely, the Labour, the difference, policies, between, and, to tell, it’s, the Conservative, difficult.
5) To be, the major, parties, activists, members, tend, party, in, of, political, each, hard-working.
Exercise 3. Answer the following questions.
1) What are the dominant parties in modern Britain?
2) What is the difference between the two main political parties?
3) What do you know about the activities of the The Political Parties. Green Party in Britain?
4) What is the role of the Liberal Party?
5) What is the ruling party in Great Britain now?
Exercise 4. Imagine that you are a reporter of the Russian newspaper “Izvestija”. Interview the Conservative party member (the Labour party member) on the aims of their national and local policies.
Exercise 5. Translate into English.
Политическая партия в Великобритании – это организация людей, разделяющих одинаковые взгляды на методы управления страной и пытающихся добиться власти, чтобы воплотить эти взгляды в реальность. Цель любой британской политической партии состоит в том, чтобы добиться избрания как можно большего числа своих кандидатов в парламент The Political Parties., поскольку партия, добившаяся большинства, формирует правительство. Из 650 кандидатов, прошедших в парламент, несколько человек войдет в правительство, а остальные будут заседать в парламентских комитетах. Премьер-министром становится лидер победившей на выборах партии. Таким образом, в Великобритании на выборах большее значение приобретает политика, и меньшее – обаятельность кандидатов – в отличие, скажем, от Америки.
Exercise 6.Role play.
Work in two groups, one - acting MPs supporting the bills to be introduced the other – rejecting it. Discuss all pros and cons of the bills given below, and give your arguments:
- The UK accepting the “Euro” as payment.
- Cancelling the heredity principal of Lords as MPs.
- Restrictions of The Political Parties. monarch’s powers in the UK.
- Efficiency of the multi-party system.