Political Systems of France and Britain
SEMINAR II A DESCRIPTION OF TWO WESTERN EUROPEAN POLITICAL SYSTEMS
FRANCE AND GREAT BRITAIN
I chose these two systems, which interest me for different reasons. The British system is one that has evolved over many centuries, with both small and large adjustments along the way to keep in on course. In contrast to this, the French model has changed dramatically on several occasions, and can rarely have been described as stable. However, in 1958 Charles de Gaulle made some brave changes to the constitution, which after being approved by the French public, set the scene for the classic semi-presidential system that we see today.
Despite these opposing histories, there are many similarities between …show more content…
The Lords has traditionally been the upper chamber, with a hereditary, aristocratic character. However, largely under Labour initiatives it has undergone dramatic reform, which is still in progress. There still remain some hereditary peers, but most are nowadays appointed peers. It holds powers to suggest amendments, and delay legislation, which mean that the Commons often seeks a compromise position to get a bill passed through the Lords.
The civil service is a part of the executive, the difference being that it is politically neutral, and so must be prepared to work with any government.
The central core of the civil service is organised into a number of Departments of State. Each Department is led politically by a senior Minister, supported by a small team of junior Ministers. In most cases the senior Minister is known as a Secretary of State and is a member of the Cabinet. Administrative management of the Department is led by a head civil servant known in most Departments as a Permanent Secretary. The majority of the civil service staff in fact work in executive agencies, which are separate operational organisations reporting to Departments of State.
Devolution is a fairly recent trend that has changed the face of British politics. Scotland now has its own parliament, and Wales and Northern Ireland both have national assemblies. Most members of these new