British political parties??

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emmageddon
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I’m American and I don’t understand how the British political party system works even a little bit. Also: why do you have so many political figureheads? Why is there a prime minister and a royal family? AND a parliament?

I’m sorry for my ignorance we just aren’t taught about non-American politics here and I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll answer any questions you have in return about our messed-up system too!
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MidgetFever
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Moved to UK Politics
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JMR2020.
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(Original post by emmageddon)
I’m American and I don’t understand how the British political party system works even a little bit. Also: why do you have so many political figureheads? Why is there a prime minister and a royal family? AND a parliament?

I’m sorry for my ignorance we just aren’t taught about non-American politics here and I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll answer any questions you have in return about our messed-up system too!
In the US the powers are separated, so the President is elected separately to Congress. In the UK, only MPs in parliament are elected, and the party with the majority of the MP’s support becomes the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is the head of government not the head of state. In America the President is both head of government and state, but the Queen here is the head of state.
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Moose-er
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So parliament is like congress except one chamber of parliament (the house of lords) is unelected and legislation goes through the house of commons then lords, unlike the US way of passing through both houses simultaeneously . The prime minister is the head of the executive, which is comparible to the president's political powers. The Queen is the head of state, just as the president is ,so is responsible for representing the country. In the US the president is both the executive and the head of state and also is not a member of congress where as in the UK all members of government are members of parliament (in the uk government means just the executive rather than all 3 branches of government).
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emmageddon
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(Original post by JMR2020.)
In the US the powers are separated, so the President is elected separately to Congress. In the UK, only MPs in parliament are elected, and the party with the majority of the MP’s support becomes the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is the head of government not the head of state. In America the President is both head of government and state, but the Queen here is the head of state.
That makes sense. But how many parties are there? Listening to British news makes it sound like there are dozens but some might just be nicknames.
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JMR2020.
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(Original post by emmageddon)
That makes sense. But how many parties are there? Listening to British news makes it sound like there are dozens but some might just be nicknames.
There are two pain parties Labour and the Conservatives, but smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats, Greens, and regionalist parties such as the SNP also play a large role in British politics.
The only nickname I can think of is Tories for the Conservatives.
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emmageddon
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(Original post by Moose-er)
So parliament is like congress except one chamber of parliament (the house of lords) is unelected and legislation goes through the house of commons then lords, unlike the US way of passing through both houses simultaeneously . The prime minister is the head of the executive, which is comparible to the president's political powers. The Queen is the head of state, just as the president is ,so is responsible for representing the country. In the US the president is both the executive and the head of state and also is not a member of congress where as in the UK all members of government are members of parliament (in the uk government means just the executive rather than all 3 branches of government).
So the House of Lords is just random men or women with family titles and no real qualifications to be involved in government? (No judgement by the way. We elected an orange talk-show misogynist so we aren’t in a place to criticize anyone’s governmental officials for lack of qualifications)
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Moose-er
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(Original post by emmageddon)
So the House of Lords is just random men or women with family titles and no real qualifications to be involved in government? (No judgement by the way. We elected an orange talk-show misogynist so we aren’t in a place to criticize anyone’s governmental officials for lack of qualifications
Outt of almost 800 lords,92 are there because they inherited the position, the vast majority of members were appointed by previous governments due to certain achievements or experience so there are alot of former politicians and businessmen who are lords
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emmageddon
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(Original post by Moose-er)
Outt of almost 800 lords,92 are there because they inherited the position, the vast majority of members were appointed by previous governments due to certain achievements or experience so there are alot of former politicians and businessmen who are lords
Oh ok that makes me feel a little better. Thanks!
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Napp
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(Original post by emmageddon)
That makes sense. But how many parties are there? Listening to British news makes it sound like there are dozens but some might just be nicknames.
2 in the British parliament in Westminster (Tories/Labour) followed by a host of smaller ones
SNP leads in Holyrood and Plaid cymru in Wales
Then there are dozens of quasi parties (more like pressure groups) such as UKIP, Brexit party et al. who might hold some local political seats but are an utter irrelevance to everyone else.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by emmageddon)
That makes sense. But how many parties are there? Listening to British news makes it sound like there are dozens but some might just be nicknames.
Tories and Labour get 65-80% of the vote and our first past the post usually produces majority governments, other than the Liberals and SNP the others don’t really matter too much outside of local elections.
(Original post by Napp)
2 in the British parliament in Westminster (Tories/Labour) followed by a host of smaller ones
SNP leads in Holyrood and Plaid cymru in Wales
Then there are dozens of quasi parties (more like pressure groups) such as UKIP, Brexit party et al. who might hold some local political seats but are an utter irrelevance to everyone else.
Plaid don’t lead in Wales.
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Napp
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Tories and Labour get 65-80% of the vote and our first past the post usually produces majority governments, other than the Liberals and SNP the others don’t really matter too much outside of local elections.

Plaid don’t lead in Wales.
My mistake.
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Iñigo de Loyola
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(Original post by emmageddon)
I’m American and I don’t understand how the British political party system works even a little bit. Also: why do you have so many political figureheads? Why is there a prime minister and a royal family? AND a parliament?

I’m sorry for my ignorance we just aren’t taught about non-American politics here and I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll answer any questions you have in return about our messed-up system too!
A rough explanation:
Britain is a constitutional monarchy. This means we have a monarch who can make decisions but chooses to delegate them to Parliament.
Parliament is made up of two chambers, the Lords and the Commons. The Commons propose legislation and the Lords add amendments and say whether they support it or not.
The Commons is made up of 650 MPs, who are elected from each constituency (in America this would be a Congressional district). The Lords is made up of quite a few groups which I'll list here:
• Church of England bishops (we don't have seperation of the church and state in the UK and the C of E is the official religion)
• Hereditary noblemen (elected by their fellow aristocrats)
• Government appointees (picked by the Prime Minister)
Britain has a two and a half party system - what this means is that either Labour or the Conservatives will always be the largest party in government, but they may have to rely on smaller parties like the Scottish National Party or the Liberal Democrats to get bills through and may not always hold a majority.
The parties are:
The Conservatives
The main right-wing party in Britain. Generally divided into liberals (an important note - liberal in Britain means libertarian in America, liberal in America means Blairite in Britain) and conservatives. Liberals want a small state and right-wing economic policies, conservatives are more nationalist and also want right-wing economic policies (a bit like American republicans). For some random reason they are also called Tories.
Labour
The main left-wing party in Britain. Similarly to the Conservatives, they are divided into ”Old Labour” and ”New Labour”. Old Labour refers to socialists (like Bernie Sanders) and New Labour refers to centrists (what you call liberals). Jeremy Corbyn (the current leader) supports more socialist policies and led Labour to their worst defeat since 1935.
Liberal Democrats
Used to be the third party of British politics until the fees scandal. What happened was that they promised not to raise university fees before they agreed to go into coalition with the Conservatives. They then voted in favour of raising fees and became very unpopular with students. Following this they supported the EU when Britain voted to leave and did get a few more seats at the last election because of this.
Green Party
Very socialist, but also environmentalist. They do quite well in Brighton (a very leftist town in Southern England).
The Brexit Party
A right-wing party led by Nigel Farage that supported Brexit. Now that Brexit's happened nobody's really sure what the point of them is.
Scottish National Party
Like the Liberal Democrats, but they also want Scotland to be independent.
Plaid Cymru
Also very much like the Liberal Democrats, but support Welsh culture and people using Welsh in schools.
There's also Northern Irish politics which is quite complicated given one of the politicians involved was a very well known terrorist in the 1980s, and many of the parties are based on ethnic and/or religious lines.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by Napp)
My mistake.
If polling holds up for the next year then it looks close between the Tories and Labour for the win but Welsh elections are sadly more proportional so it will produce a Lab-Plaid coalition.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by LiberOfLondon)
A rough explanation:
Britain is a constitutional monarchy. This means we have a monarch who can make decisions but chooses to delegate them to Parliament.
Parliament is made up of two chambers, the Lords and the Commons. The Commons propose legislation and the Lords add amendments and say whether they support it or not.
The Commons is made up of 650 MPs, who are elected from each constituency (in America this would be a Congressional district). The Lords is made up of quite a few groups which I'll list here:
• Church of England bishops (we don't have seperation of the church and state in the UK and the C of E is the official religion)
• Hereditary noblemen (elected by their fellow aristocrats)
• Government appointees (picked by the Prime Minister)
Britain has a two and a half party system - what this means is that either Labour or the Conservatives will always be the largest party in government, but they may have to rely on smaller parties like the Scottish National Party or the Liberal Democrats to get bills through and may not always hold a majority.
The parties are:
The Conservatives
The main right-wing party in Britain. Generally divided into liberals (an important note - liberal in Britain means libertarian in America, liberal in America means Blairite in Britain) and conservatives. Liberals want a small state and right-wing economic policies, conservatives are more nationalist and also want right-wing economic policies (a bit like American republicans). For some random reason they are also called Tories.
Labour
The main left-wing party in Britain. Similarly to the Conservatives, they are divided into ”Old Labour” and ”New Labour”. Old Labour refers to socialists (like Bernie Sanders) and New Labour refers to centrists (what you call liberals). Jeremy Corbyn (the current leader) supports more socialist policies and led Labour to their worst defeat since 1935.
Liberal Democrats
Used to be the third party of British politics until the fees scandal. What happened was that they promised not to raise university fees before they agreed to go into coalition with the Conservatives. They then voted in favour of raising fees and became very unpopular with students. Following this they supported the EU when Britain voted to leave and did get a few more seats at the last election because of this.
Green Party
Very socialist, but also environmentalist. They do quite well in Brighton (a very leftist town in Southern England).
The Brexit Party
A right-wing party led by Nigel Farage that supported Brexit. Now that Brexit's happened nobody's really sure what the point of them is.
Scottish National Party
Like the Liberal Democrats, but they also want Scotland to be independent.
Plaid Cymru
Also very much like the Liberal Democrats, but support Welsh culture and people using Welsh in schools.
There's also Northern Irish politics which is quite complicated given one of the politicians involved was a very well known terrorist in the 1980s, and many of the parties are based on ethnic and/or religious lines.
They are known as the Tories because the Tory Party evolved into the Conservative Party albeit the Peelites who won the argument did become the Liberal Party.
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Iñigo de Loyola
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(Original post by Rakas21)
They are known as the Tories because the Tory Party evolved into the Conservative Party albeit the Peelites who won the argument did become the Liberal Party.
:ta:
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