Structure 2014-2015

Please see below an outline of the structure of GV311: British Government. The course will be held on Tuesdays from 5.00pm to 6.30pm throughout the Michaelmas and Lent terms in NAB.LG.09.

GV311 course programme
Week   Date Title and summary Lecturer  Venue 
 1 7 October 2014

Introduction to GV311
Considers British government and politics in its wider context and discuss the case for understanding the constituent parts of the system

Tony Travers  NAB.LG.09
 2 14 October 2014

Philosophical influences and ideas
The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats are underpinned by concepts and ideas that have been formed over several hundred years. Introduces the key philosophical influences that affect contemporary British politics and intellectual debate

Paul Kelly  NAB.LG.09
 3 21 October 2014

Evolution of State and Constitution
The development of the key institutions, notably the Monarchy and Parliament, which constitute today’s system of government, plus possible reforms to the Constitution

Martin Loughlin  NAB.LG.09
 4 28 October 2014

Development of modern British government
Changes since 1945, in particular, will be examined, including the creation of a fully-democratic franchise, the development of mass welfare, the end of Empire, the increase in the scale of the State and demands for increased transparency and accountability

Alan Sked NAB.LG.09
5 4 November 2014

Parliament and government
Will consider the operation of the UK Parliament today, including key officers, the Parliamentary roles of government and Opposition, the legislative process, committees and all-party special interest groups

George Jones NAB.LG.09
6 11 November 2014

The Civil Service and quangos
The development of the contemporary civil service, in particular its traditions of impartiality and generalisation, the structure of central government departments and the willingness of successive governments to reconfigure Whitehall will be analysed

Kate Jenkins NAB.LG.09
7 18 November 2014

Sub-national and local government
The importance of 19th century municipal development and the subsequent decline of local government power will be examined, along with its constitutional implications. Devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be analysed

Tony Travers NAB.LG.09
8 25 November 2014

Public finance and taxation
Examines the way taxation is determined and levied, and how public expenditure is planned and controlled. The operation of the Treasury as Britain’s ‘finance ministry’ within the context of the Parliamentary and legislative frameworks will be described

Tony Travers NAB.LG.09
9 2 December 2014

Political Parties and Elections 1/2
The development of political parties will be described as will party loyalty and bases of support. Protest voting and extremist parties will be analysed. The voting systems used in UK national and local elections will be examined

Patrick Dunleavy NAB.LG.09
10 9 December 2014

Political Parties and Elections 2/2
As Above

Patrick Dunleavy NAB.LG.09
11 13 January 2015

The judiciary, the courts, justice
Judges, the court system and wider justice arrangements are a major element in the British constitutional arrangements. European institutions also have a role. This lecture will consider the institutions concerned, recent reform and the range of views about possible future change

Conor Gearty NAB.LG.09
12 20 January 2015

Recent Reform
Reforms to Parliament and other key institutions, including issues such as the number of MPs and constituencies, changes to Parliamentary procedures, new types of committee and reform of the House of Lords will be examined

Gerry Stoker NAB.LG.09
13 27 January 2015

Scotland and the UK
Devolution to Edinburgh has created a radically separate political and governmental system since 1999, with further fiscal reform due to take place in 2016. The issues which emerged from the 2014 referendum and consequent demands for ‘devo-max’ will be examined

Jim Gallagher NAB.LG.09
14 3 February 2015

Policy-making and external influences
Will consider the ways policy is made and the processes it goes through prior to implementation. Party election manifestos, the use of special advisors, independent inquiries, think tanks, lobbyists and other elements in the evolution and delivery of government policy will be considered

Ed Page NAB.LG.09
15 10 February 2015

Media, politics and government
To consider the way the press, TV and radio have traditionally been seen as a key feature of British government and politics. Can new media sustain investigative journalism and expose wrong-doing in government? Statutory restrictions on the media and the way politicians relate to powerful media organisations will be examined

Charlie Beckett NAB.LG.09
16  17 February 2015

Select Committees
To examine the evolution of Parliamentary select committees within the UK Parliament, in particular the reforms initiated in the early 1980s. How have select committees evolved and what are their key functions today?

George Jones NAB.LG.09
17 24 February 2015 Accountability to Parliament
To examine the accountability of government to Parliament in the light of Parliamentarians’ belief there is a need for more effective scrutiny of the executive, in particular in relation to failures of procurement contracts and/or IT systems. The role of the Public Accounts Committee will be examined in detail
Richard Bacon MP NAB.LG.09
18 3 March 2015

British government’s relations with Europe
These lectures will consider the UK’s formal relations with the European Union, the Council of Europe, and other European institutions. Europe has had massive impacts on UK politics which affect domestic politics, with a continuing debate about the country’s relationship with the EU

Simon Hix NAB.LG.09
19 10 March 2015 Britain and Europe 2/2
As above
Simon Hix NAB.LG.09
20 17 March 2015 General Elections In Britain
The conduct and outcome of historic and recent general elections will be considered within the context of the 2015 contest. Is the 2015 election different from earlier ones or is the pattern set? Is Britain moving towards more coalitions and fewer one-party governments?
Vernon Bogdanor NAB.LG.09
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