British Studies Web Pages



What's in This Issue

How much do you know about the British system of government? Which party is in power? How many women are there in the British Parliament? What changes are taking place in the British and Polish systems? How do Poles feel about the changes taking place in both Poland and Europe? Answers to these and many other questions can be found in this edition. But we hope you will find it not only a good source of information but enjoyable too.


This edition has the title Government but you will find much more inside. It is intended also to serve as an introduction to parliament and politics, there are items on the EU and you will find links to material on local government too.


Constitutional change has been a significant feature of political life in the UK in recent years and has been matched by considerable reform in the civil service and the organisation of government departments. Devolution receives attention in The Quiet Revolution - Genies Out of Boxes? and A Quick Guide to UK Devolution (with Devolution Quizzes to test your knowledge). Much more on Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales can be found in our Identity issue. We have tried to reflect these continuing changes and have provided an extensive list of websites which will enable you to keep yourself up-to-date.


Parliament is strongly covered in our Background Information section in such items as A Parliamentary A to Z and A Tale of Two Houses about the House of Lords, as well as in items we are able to reprint from FCO publications Constitution and System of Government. Here you can find out about Magna Carta, the origins of political parties, the Speaker and so on. Students’ views - The British System of Government gives replies to questions asked by Polish students on UK government. The election process is described in First Past the Post-elections in Britain and in Is Parliament representative?


The European dimension

For a wider European focus and to give opportunities to contrast the Polish system we have European Accession and the UK, Poland and the EU - On the Road to Accession and Reforms in Polish Government.


Keeping updated

As many details about who is in the cabinet change frequently and unpredictably, and major elections occur at least once every five years we have given extensive discussion in our Government and Politics - links section of websites where you can find up-to-date information. Some very useful sites for getting up-to-date information are Dod On line, Number 10 and the BBC Politics pages


On the other hand if it is news and comment you want - try The Guardian whose full news coverage is online daily and in fully accessible archive. This is the best source for information about politics and political parties, while through our Government and Politics - links you will get directly to the websites of the parties themselves.


If you want to find out about government for instance the Health Service, environmental protection, social security, transport policy and so on, see our website review of UKonline. Ukonline is the British government’s website on everything connected with government at national and local levels, and in Scotland, Wales (available in Welsh) and Northern Ireland as well as in England.


In the classroom

Many of the items in Background Information and Articles and Issues are followed by both brief and extended activities but in addition we have a Government Quiz and a Government Crossword with some Devolution Quizzes as well. How much have you learned from our other items?


If you want more materials and activities from British Studies textbooks you can find discussion and references to them in Government and Politics - bibliography.


In the library

We also have some more serious in-depth articles for those who want some more sophisticated analysis. New Labour, New Language is a review of a book by Norman Fairclough which takes a look at politics from a linguistics perspective. Other Academic Articles provides further background material.


Finally, to show just how pervasive government and politics is we have Government fare - a Recipe for raised veal pie, popular it seems among MPs in the Houses of Parliament!

Produced in Poland by British Council © 2003. The United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity.