Traditional British values

How often does the Cabinet normally meet?

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How often does the Cabinet normally meet?

  1. Bi-weekly

  2. Daily

  3. Monthly

  4. Weekly

  1. What politicians are members of the Shadow Cabinet?

  1. Civil servants working in the Government

  2. Peers from the House of Lords

  3. Senior members of the main opposition party

  4. The remaining MPs in Government who are not in the Cabinet

  1. What is the name of the system that governs how MPs are elected into the House of Commons?

  1. Electoral College system

  2. First past the post system

  3. Proportional representation system

  4. Absolute majority

  1. What is the name of the official record of proceedings in Parliament?

  1. Hansard

  2. Parliament News

  3. The Recorder

  4. Westminster hour

  1. What are the roles of the Whips in Parliament? Select two correct roles from below:

  1. Responsible for discipline in their party

  2. Ensure attendance of MPs at voting time in the House of Commons

  3. Ensure the House of Commons is always safe and secure

  4. Keep order in the House of Commons during political debates

  1. How many parliamentary constituencies are there?

  1. 464

  2. 564

  3. 646

  4. 664

  1. A by-election is held

  1. Half-way through the life of a Parliament

  2. Every two years

  3. When an MP dies or resigns

  4. When the Prime minister decides to call one

  1. What is an important ceremonial role that the King or Queen performs?

  1. Chairing proceedings of the House of Lords

  2. Meeting weekly with Prime Minister

  3. Opening of a new parliamentary session

  4. Voting in the House of Commons in case of a tie

  1. Who is the monarch not allowed to marry?

  1. Anyone who is not of royal blood

  2. Anyone who is not a Protestant

  3. Anyone who is under the age of 25

  4. Anyone who was born outside the UK

  1. When did all 18-year-olds get the vote?

  1. 1918

  2. 1928

  3. 1939

  4. 1969

  1. When did the UK join the European Union?

  1. 1965

  2. 1973

  3. 1989

  4. The UK is not a member of the EU

  1. What is the name of the patron saint of Scotland?

  1. St Andrew

  2. St David

  3. St George

  4. St Patrick

  1. What flower is traditionally worn by people on Remembrance Day?

  1. Poppy

  2. Lily

  3. Daffodil

  4. Iris

READING-2 (Famous Brits)
Read the article about the legacy of Margaret Thatcher. Take a look at the italicized word combinations, explain and expand on them. Search the Internet for the background information on the asterisked items

April 13, 2013

The Economist

ONLY a handful of peacetime politicians can claim to have changed the world. Margaret Thatcher was one. She transformed not just her own Conservative Party, but the whole of British politics. Her enthusiasm for privatisation launched a global revolution and her willingness to stand up to tyranny helped to bring down the Berlin wall. Winston Churchill won a war, but he never created an “-ism”.

The essence of Thatcherism was to oppose the status quo and bet on freedom—odd, since as a prim, upwardly mobile striver, she was in some ways the embodiment of conservatism. She thought nations could become great only if individuals were set free. Unlike Churchill’s famous pudding*, her struggles had a theme: the right of individuals to run their own lives, as free as possible from micromanagement by the state.

In her early years in politics, economic liberalism was in retreat, the Soviet Union was extending its empire, and Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek* were dismissed as academic eccentrics. In Britain the government hobnobbed with trade unions (“beer and sandwiches in Number 10*”) and handed out subsidies to failing nationalized industries and primed the pump through Keynesian demand management. To begin with the ambitious young politician went along with this consensus. But the widespread notion that politics should be “the management of decline” made her blood boil. The ideas of Friedman and Hayek persuaded her that things could be different.

Most of this radicalism was hidden from the British electorate that voted her into office in 1979, largely in frustration with Labour’s ineptitude. What followed was an economic revolution. She privatized state industries, refused to negotiate with the unions, abolished state controls, broke the striking miners and replaced Keynesianism with Friedman’s monetarism. The inflation rate fell from a high of 27% in 1975 to 2.4% in 1986. The number of working days lost to strikes fell from 29m in 1979 to 2m in 1986. The top rate of tax fell from 83% to 40%.

Her battles with the left—especially the miners—gave her a reputation as a blue-rinse Boadicea*. But she was just as willing to clobber the right, sidelining old-fashioned Tory “wets” and unleashing her creed on conservative strongholds, notably by setting off the “big bang” in the City of London. Many of her pithiest put-downs were directed at her own side: “U-turn if you want to,” she told the Conservatives as unemployment passed 2m. “The lady’s not for turning.” She told George Bush senior: “This is no time to go wobbly!” Ronald Reagan was her soulmate but lacked her sharp elbows and hostility to deficits.

She might not be for turning, but she knew how to compromise. She seized on Mikhail Gorbachev as a man she “could do business with” despite warnings from American hawks. She backed down from a battle with the miners in 1981, waiting until she had built up sufficient reserves of coal three years later. For all her talk about reforming the welfare state, the public sector consumed almost the same proportion of GDP when she left office as when she came to it.

She was also often outrageously lucky: lucky that the striking miners were led by Arthur Scargill, a hardline Marxist; lucky that the British left fractured and insisted on choosing unelectable leaders; lucky that General Galtieri decided to invade the Falkland Islands when he did; lucky that she was a tough woman in a system dominated by patrician men (the wets never knew how to cope with her); lucky in the flow of North Sea oil; and above all lucky in her timing. The post-war consensus was ripe for destruction, and a host of new forces, from personal computers to private equity, aided her more rumbustious form of capitalism.

The verdict of history

Criticism of her comes in two forms. First, that she could have done more had she wielded her handbag more deftly. Hatred, it is true, sometimes blinded her. Infuriated by the antics of left-wing local councils, she ended up centralizing power in Whitehall. Her hostility to Eurocrats undermined her campaign to stop the drift of power to Brussels. Her stridency, from her early days as “Thatcher the milk snatcher*” to her defenestration by her own party, was divisive. Under her the Conservatives shrank from a national force to a party of the rich south. Tony Blair won several elections by offering Thatcherism without the rough edges.

The second criticism addresses the substance of Thatcherism. Her reforms, it is said, sowed the seeds of the recent economic crisis. Without Thatcherism, the big bang would not have happened. Financial services would not make up such a large slice of the British economy and the country would not now be struggling under the burden of individual debt caused by excessive borrowing and government debt caused by the need to bail out the banks. Some of this is true; but then without Thatcherism Britain’s economy would still be mired in state control, the commanding heights of its economy would be owned by the government and militant unions would be a power in the land.

Because of the crisis, the pendulum is swinging dangerously away from the principles Mrs Thatcher espoused. In most of the rich world, the state’s share of the economy has stubbornly risen. Regulations—excessive as well as necessary—are tying up the private sector. Businesspeople are under scrutiny as they have not been for 30 years and bankers are everyone’s favourite bogeyman. And with the rise of China state control, not economic liberalism, is being hailed as a model for emerging markets.

For a world in desperate need of growth, this is the wrong direction. Europe will never thrive until it frees up its markets. America will throttle its recovery unless it avoids overregulation. China will not sustain its success unless it starts to liberalise. This is a crucial time to hang on to Margaret Thatcher’s central perception: that for countries to flourish, people need to push back against the advance of the state. What the world needs now is more Thatcherism, not less.
Reading Notes:

*Milton Friedman - was an American economist and writer. He was a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and is known for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory. A survey of economists ranked Friedman as the second most popular economist of the 20th century after John Maynard Keynes."

Friedrich Hayek - an Austrian, later British, economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism. In 1974, Hayek shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Gunnar Myrdal) for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and ... penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena"
LANGUAGE FILE to Reading 2
Ex.1 Choose nouns from the list that follows that collocate with the verbs below. Give as many synonyms to the verbs as you can.

disease, arms race, rage, change, influence, emotions, conflict, a cause, authority, war, a bomb, recession, retirement, a way of life, aggression, a case, principles, charges, power, terror, anger

to espouse

to be ripe for

to be mired in

to stand up to

to dismiss

to wield

to unleash

to set off

Ex.2 Fill the gaps with the verbs from the previous exercise according to sense and collocability patterns

  1. After weeks of confrontation with police “silent standing” ______ a new wave of protests in Turkey.

  2. There is no doubt that the leaders of the world's eight largest economies still ______ enormous power.

  3. Most of the eurozone remains ______ a severe recession – now spreading from the periphery to parts of the core.

  4. As a society, we must ______ terrorism and not allow fear and anxiety to dominate our lives.

  5. Blair saw the Quartet role as a continuation of the principles he had ______ as prime minister.

  6. Nato today ______ accusations by Amnesty International that it committed war crimes during its air war against Kosovo and Serbia.

  7. The time is not yet _____ settlement in Scotland.

  8. Demonstrators gathered outside the Cypriot parliament to ______ their anger at bailout tax proposals.

Ex.3 Translate the following sentences into English using collocations from Ex.1

  1. Президент США Барак Обама заявил Конгрессу, что пришло время реформировать иммиграционную систему.

  2. Она отказывается регистрироваться в социальных сетях, называя их пустой тратой времени.

  3. Все политические силы, пользующиеся влиянием в обществе, по итогам выборов в Армении оказалась в парламенте.

  4. Только после победы в решающей партии сдержанные игроки сборной Швеции дали волю чувствам.

  5. Согласно результатам проведенного исследования 47% опрошенных молодых людей не разделяют политических взглядов своих родителей.

  6. Греция погрязла в политических распрях и спустя неделю после выборов правительство по-прежнему не сформировано.

  7. На Филиппинах снос городских трущоб вызвал целую волну протестов.

  8. Хотя армия готова противостоять агрессии врага, но конфликт должен быть решен мирным путем

SPEAKING-3 Team Work + Individual Statements
In 2010 the BBC conducted a television poll to determine whom the United Kingdom public considered the greatest British people in history. The poll resulted in nominees including Guy Fawkes, who was executed for trying to blow up the Parliament of England; Oliver Cromwell who created a republican England and Richard III, suspected of murdering his nephews. Diana, Princess of Wales was judged to be a greater historical British figure than William Shakespeare by BBC respondents to the survey. The highest-ranked then living person was Margaret Thatcher, who placed 16th. Perhaps the most surprising high entry was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose 2nd place was due largely to "students from Brunel University who have been campaigning vigorously for the engineer for weeks."

In teams make your own list of 5 people known for their unparalleled contribution in changing the course of history.

Go to the full list of 100 Greatest Britons Choose the person whose contribution to British history in your opinion is the greatest. Get ready with a 3-minute statement making the case for your choice.
READING-3 (British Class System)
Pre-reading: What is social class? Do class divisions exist only in monarchical societies? Do democratic societies recognize classes?

Read the texts and answer the questions that follow:


It's said that the British are obsessed with class, but does the traditional hierarchy of ‘working’, ‘middle’ and ‘upper’ class really exist anymore? And does social class even matter in 21st century Britain?

Can a Victorian system still be relevant today?

The labels ‘working’, ‘middle’ and ‘upper’ first appeared in the 19th century as a way of classifying the sharp social differences that arose in Britain as it led the world in the Industrial Revolution. But can a Victorian system designed to describe the relationship between industrial workers, managers and owners still be relevant today?

We simply don’t know. It’s clear that social divisions have far from disappeared, and the traditional language of class still pervades public affairs, shapes political thinking, and influences our personal careers. So what does class really mean in Britain in the 21st century?

It used to be thought that social class was defined by the occupation. Teachers or doctors, for instance, have different income levels, job security, and social experiences than ambulance drivers or gardeners.

Another way of putting this is to say that people in professional occupations have different lifestyles to people who earn money by physical labour. But our economy and our lifestyles have changed profoundly since these categories were invented, so this may no longer hold true.

Indeed, some sociologists have come to see classification by occupation as too simplistic, and argue that social class actually has three dimensions: economic, social, and cultural. To measure an individual’s ‘resources’ in each of these dimensions, sociologists look at many factors which can collectively be referred to as ‘capital’.

Economic capital is about wealth (your occupation, earnings, assets and savings).

Social capital is about social connections (the sort of people you know, how many people you know and whether you are engaged in any organised groups, like political parties, sports teams, shared hobbies or social clubs)

Cultural Capital is about interests. (your education, your participation in cultural activities and how you like to spend your free time)

Policy makers tend to focus primarily on the economic dimension of class. Concepts like progressive taxation (taxing richer people more heavily than poorer people) are a good example of this.

Increasingly, the social dimension of class is receiving some attention, with initiatives to improve networking opportunities for people who are otherwise socially excluded.

But the cultural aspect of class has so far largely been ignored, perhaps because it is a broad yet subtle concept that can be difficult to measure. The problem is, if we don’t measure it, we can’t know how important it is and how much it influences people’s chances in life.

There is strong evidence to suggest social class divisions have not disappeared from British life. Indeed, there is some evidence that class matters more in contemporary Britain than it did a couple of decades ago. And the global financial crisis and subsequent recession may even have acted to make class divisions more, rather than less defined.
Do you agree that nowadays a class can be defined by the occupation? Which of the capitals in your opinion is central to shaping a class?


August 21, 2012

Economies are evaluated in regard to what extent where you are born determines where you end up. In a culture which values people’s talents and hard work, social mobility is an indication of whether society is succeeding in ensuring that skills and effort, and not background, allow people to progress. Social mobility is the key to a society which is ostensibly meritocratic. If social mobility is low it suggests either that there are factors other than an individual’s talents (such as a rigid class structure) affecting people’s life chances or it means that the education system is not ensuring those from poorer backgrounds gain the skills necessary for success in a capitalist economy. Social mobility acts as an indication of whether an education system is working and whether professions are open to those from diverse backgrounds. If a public education system is succeeding in helping the worst off then you will see a more socially mobile society.

The concept of social mobility is predicated on a hierarchy of incomes or professions. There are professions such as law and business management, which are economically distinct from shelf stacking and fishing. Social mobility works on the condition that there are classes of jobs which pay significantly better whilst there are other classes of jobs which pay less. It is social mobility’s aim to ensure that people can move between these socio economic groups.

The aim of intergenerational social mobility is to enable those born to parents in poorer income bands move into better-paid jobs. Social mobility has such widespread support as a societal aim, because a society in which people can end up in better paid and arguably more desirable jobs seems fair.

Furthermore, social mobility ensures that professions include those from diverse backgrounds. Many people argue that it is important that professions like law, journalism and politics are not simply middle class professions. This is because people from poorer backgrounds may have particular experiences, which will improve those industries. For example, a journalist from a working class background may understand certain news better than journalists from middle class backgrounds.

However, social mobility has been criticised, at least to the extent it acts as a smokescreen to other issues. Social mobility inherently involves individuals from one class moving to another class. Marxist commentators have pointed out that this has several drawbacks. Firstly, social mobility is ultimately unworkable. No society can have every single person join the higher paid jobs. There are not enough of these jobs and society requires people to be in working class jobs. How would society function without nurses, cleaners and workers?

This connects to a further criticism. The Marxist philosopher G.A. Cohen argued that the working class as a whole are unfree to move between classes. Although some people can move between classes it is true that there are not enough opportunities for the whole of the working class to leave. There are simply not enough jobs – there is only the opportunity to leave for a minority of individuals. Instead Cohen argues we should accept the principle ‘I want to rise with my class, not above my class.’ By this, Cohen means we should strive to improve the conditions of the less well off rather than seek to ensure that only a few gain better standards of living by moving class.

Another criticism of social mobility is that it is not a reality. Some people contend that it is impossible for any individual to move between classes. This argument is falsified by the evidence because there are many examples of people not ending up in the same economic position they were born in.

Although Cohen’s criticism is a strong one it is still the case that social mobility is very important within society. People should not be constrained by their background. If young people born in poverty want to become doctors or lawyers then it is important that society allows them to. Even if it is the case that only a minority of people from the poorest background are able to leave, a fair society would be one which allows the people who want to end up somewhere differently in life to do so. Everyone has different talents and ambitions and the extent to which one achieves success with them should not be determined by birth.

Give your own definition of what social mobility is. Say, if in your understanding social mobility is directly linked to education. Is Marxist criticism of social mobility justified?
hierarchy of class

social differences / divisions

to have different lifestyle to other people

economic, social and cultural dimensions of class

to improve networking opportunities (возможности для налаживания контактов)

socially excluded people (ant. social inclusion)

to affect/influence people’s life chances

the importance of social mobility

to value people’s talents and hard work

to ensure that skills and effort allow people to progress

meritocratic society

to affect people’s life chances

from poorer background / diverse background

to be constrained by background

SPEAKING - 4 Class Discussion

  1. In teams make a list of factors (lifts) that promote social mobility. Rank them from the most to the least efficient. Present your lists to the class.

  2. What is downshifting? Why do people choose to downshift? Is it at all a matter of choice?

READING-4 (British Monarchy)

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