Politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
Charles de Gaulle
Politicians in Britain do not have a good reputation. To describe someone who is not a professional politician as a «politician» means to criticize him or her, just regard them with a high degree of suspicion. Here is a satirical description of a «model» top-rank politician: «… A candidate for a Prime Minister must have the following qualities: he must be malleable, flexible, likeable, have no firm opinions, no bright ideas, not be intellectually committed, and be without the strength of purpose to change anything. Above all, he must be someone who can be professionally guided, and who is willing to leave the business of government in the hands of experts».
Complete the following text with the words and expressions from the box, using them in the appropriate form.
| To appoint; prominent; local councils; minority;
To elect (2); proportion (3) to appeal.
Some people suppose that there are few women and members of the ethnic (a)________ in Parliament. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister, yet she never (b)_________ a woman to her Cabinet, and until 1983 the (c)__________ of women (d)__________ to the House of Commons was under 5% . In the election in 1992, 59 women (e)__________ to the House of Commons. This total is still below the (f)_________ in other European countries.
Although the Conservatives choose few women as their candidates for the House of Commons’ seats, women are very active in the affairs of the party as a whole. The Labourists have also tried to (g)_________ to women voters by giving women (h)__________ positions. In all parties, a higher (i)___________ of women is elected to (j)___________ than the House of Commons.
10. Speak on:
1. Great Britain as a monarchy and the powers of the Queen.
2. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of power.
3. The Prime Minister and his (her) powers.
It’s interesting to know
The first Prime Minister in the history of England was Sir Robert Walpole during the reign of King George I (1714 – 1727). In fact he was filing the role of the King at Council meetings, that George with his poor grasp of English could not manage (born in Germany the King never learned English and was never happy in England, always preferring his beloved Hanover).
The term Cabinet was first used during the reign of Charles II. At that time the King used to summon a few favoured members of his Privy Council for consultations in his private apartments and such courtiers became known as members of his «Cabinet».
The official residence of the Prime Minister (PM) does not have a special name. Nor, from the outside, does it look special. It is not even a detached house! Inside, though, it is much larger than it looks. It is in this house that the Cabinet meets. The PM lives «above the shop» on the top floor. The Chancellor of the Exchequer lives next door, at No. 11, and the Government Chief Whip at No. 12, so that the whole street is a lot more important than it appears. Still there is something very domestic about this arrangement. After the government loses an election all three ministers have to throw out their rubbish and wait for the furniture vans to turn up, just like anybody else moving house.
Тема № 11
1. Some new words to the text:
Comprise включать в себя
Upper chamber верхняя палата
Lower chamber нижняя палата
Constitute основывать, устанавливать
Safeguard охрана, защита
To scrutinize рассматривать, рассмотреть
Issue вопрос, предмет обсуждения
To attract привлекать
To deliver произносить, высказывать
To draw up составлять, выписывать
2. Read and translate the text:
The UK Parliament
Parliament is the most important democratic institution in the United Kingdom. It comprises the House of Lords (the upper chamber), the House of Commons (the lower chamber) and the Monarch as its head. The House of Lords and the House of Commons sit separately and are constituted on entirely different principles. The legislative process involves both Houses of Parliament and the Monarch.
The main functions of Parliament are:
- To make laws regulating the life of the community;
- To provide, by voting for taxation, the means of carrying on the work of government;
- To protect the public and safeguard the rights of individuals;
- To scrutinize government policy and administration, including proposals for expenditure;
- To debate the major issues of the day;
- To examine European proposals before they become law.
Parliament has a maximum duration of five years. Each term is divided into sessions, which usually last for one year – normally ending in October or November when Parliament is «prorogued», followed shortly by the State Opening of Parliament.
The State Opening of Parliament marks the start of the new parliamentary session. It is the main ceremonial event of the parliamentary year, attracting large crowds, both in person and watching on television. The Queen delivers her speech from the Throne in the House of Lords. The speech is given in the presence of members of both Houses. Although the speech is made by the Queen, the content of speech is entirely drawn up by the Government and approved by the Cabinet. It contains an outline of the Government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session. Following the State Opening, the government’s programme is debated by both Houses.
3. Find in the text the words and expressions which mean the following:
- to include
- the upper House
- to be based on principles
- law-making process
- the term of service
- to discontinue a session of the British Parliament
- to protect the rights
- to examine in much detail
- to write a speech
- to pronounce a speech
- a plan/brief review of the Government’s policies.
4. Make up as many word-combinations as you can using the following words (A, B) and translate them:
5. Say if it is right or wrong. Give a full answer:
1. The House of Lords is the most important democratic institution in the United Kingdom.
2. Parliament comprises the House of Commons and the Senate.
3. The executive process involves both Houses of Parliament and the Monarch.
4. Parliament has a maximum duration of five years.
5. The State Opening of Parliament marks the end of the new parliamentary session.
6. The speech is given in the presence of members only of the House of Lords.
7. The House of Lords and the House of Commons sit together and are constituted on similar principles.