Should today’s Britain be viewed as a success story?

Must use class notes that I will attach and the textbook for the course (Andrew Marr, A History of Modern Britain). The

first page of notes is about the paper and the suggested direction of the paper. Other sources to use:
-Kathleen Burk, The British Isles since 1945
-Nigel Knight, Governing Britain since 1945
-Richard Weight, Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000
-Mark Garnett and Richard Weight, Modern British History: The Essential A-Z Guide
-Paul Addison, No Turning Back: The Peacetime Revolutions of Post-War Britain
-Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard, A Class Act: The Myth of Britain’s Classless Society
-Ferdinand Mount, Mind the Gap: The New Class Divide in Britain
-Ashely Jackson, The British Empire: A Very Short Introduction
-Robert Peston, How Do We Fix This Mess
Second topic
• This is easier and more open
• Talk about anything we’ve talked about
• How do you measure success? Is it just economic growth? Is it social integration? Is it the role of women in

society? Is it sporting success?
• If you measure it in sports UK isn’t much of a success
• Focus on two topics (class and gender, gender and race, etc.) maybe focus on 3 main areas
• Short punchy intro where you tell what the main areas we are looking at
• In first third of paper give some historical background
• Want extra research
• Central 3rd of paper should be me analyzing has Britain been a success story
• Wants to know what we think, doesn’t want people to tell him back what he said
• He wants intelligent supposition
• Conclusion should be a bit longer than introduction, should be 2 or 3 paragraphs
• Speculative conclusion, do more than summarize
• Say where you think Britain is going in near future
• Comparative analysis with America for an A grade
• Need citations/footnotes
• More research=better grade
• To cite lecture put name of professor, date, and subject

Course Objectives
• To provide an academic understanding of contemporary Britain.
• The history of the present: how did we get here?
• Five themes: 1) society, 2) culture, 3) economics, 4) domestic politics, and 5) external relations
• Three lecturers with an explicit aim of encouraging interconnections and debate between themes.
• Differences in opinion between sources and faculty should encourage intellectual independence
Assessment Methods
• 70%; a 1,500-word essay (c. 5 pages), which is due by 9 am on Tuesday of week four (9 June). The essay will be

graded and returned during the internship phase of the program.
• Note that there is a 3% penalty deduction per day for this element of the final grade if the essay is submitted

after the deadline
• There is a one-hour seminar devoted to discussing these two essay questions
• Q. To what extent is the Britain of today still shaped by the impact of the Second World War?
• Q. Should today’s Britain be viewed as a success story? (Consider in relation to the challenges faced since 1945)
• Andrew Marr: A History of Modern Britain (textbook)
• Four sources: lecture, textbook, films, field trips
• 30%, two-hour quiz, 50 questions (10 from today’s lecture), not expected to get a 100, grade on a curve
Does class still matter in Britain? Bob’s your uncle
• Bob’s your uncle speaks to the passing of privilege through generations
Post-war Prime ministers (ON QUIZ, look at pictures)
• Anthony Eaton – thought good idea to top off Egyptian government and not tell Americans, US refused to deal with

British conservative government until this man resigned
• Harold Milland – resigned in 1963
• Home – took over after Milland
• David Cameron – current prime minister, went to Eaton then Oxford and was in an elite dining club with Boris

Johnson, got PPE 1st (British 4.0)
• All 4 were in succession and went to same school, Eaton college and Oxford University – shows Britain is elitist
Why class still matters? Failure of social mobility in post-1945
• British government became more interventionist as result of Blitz
• Jewel of interventionist state is welfare state (created during 40s)
• More you pay in taxes should lead to more success and more social mobility because of a better education system

but its not working
• George Osborne, St. Paul’s in London and Magdalen, Oxford – Chancellor
• Boris Johnson – studied Classics
Social Mobility
• Britain has some of the lowest social mobility in the developed world
• According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, earnings in Britain are more likely to

reflect father’s income than any other country
• Education key engine of social mobility, but achievement not balanced fairly. For the poorest fifth in society,

46% have mothers with no qualifications at all. For the richest, it’s only 3%
• Strong link between social mobility and inequity. UK has both. Only Portugal in Western Europe is more unequal

with less social mobility.
• Have fees on higher education now
Why do you think these images were so important in the 2015 election?
• Conservatives won first overall majority in general election since 1992, first conservative cabinet since 1997

(election+5 yr term)
• Nice kitchen is elitist, smaller kitchen is more like the common people
• David Cameron and George Osborne out in construction area without workers, charity
The economy
• Bank of England, UK central bank, established 1694
• Interest rates have been at a record low of 0.5% since March 2009
• Examples of previous rates: July 2007=5.75%; June 1998=7.50%; Oct 1989=14.88%; Oct 1981=15.13%
• Why low interest rates? National debt has risen from 43% GDP in 2007/8 to 88% in 2015
• Consequence of “credit crisis” which began in the UK in Sept 2007 with run on Northern Rock
• Government intervened to rescue huge players in banking sector
• Age of austerity since – politics of curbing public spending to pay off national debt
• London and south-east performing well under austerity measures, rest of UK struggling. London is pulling up UK as

a whole to make Britain one of the fastest growing economies in Europe
• London as a node point in globalization
• What do you think of the political implications are to this north-south divide?
• UK recovering faster than other European countries from crisis, not suffering from Eurozone crisis
HS2: Highspeed 2: Initially London to Birmingham, and then on to Leeds and Manchester by 2033
• Attempt at a greater inter-connectedness within UK to latch on to London’s inter-connectedness in world
Housing crisis – house supply problem
• Huge imbalance between supply and demand
• Biggest immigration wave in 2004 (3-4M), not enough houses
• In 2004 UK joined EU
• Good thing they immigrated but not enough houses
• Nation of home-owners becoming a nation of renters
• 2000: 74% of homes owner-occupied, 2015: 64%
• Beveridge Report 1942 (blueprint of Welfare State) – squalor one of five giants to be tackled
• More council homes built by Tories in 1950s than any other decade; also significant private house building
• By 1970s more owner occupiers than renters
• Rising population, net migration and fewer houses being built has led to demand exceeding supply: huge price

• Upshot: affordability crisis and likelihood of property bubbles
• Only answer – more house building, but necessary political will to do this was not certainly evident in 2015

The EU, the Eurozone crisis, and the possibility of Brexit
• EU 28 member states, 505 M people
• Euro currency of 17 member states, first used Jan 1999 and second most traded currency in the world
• Eurozone crisis aka European sovereign debt crisis (rising government debt levels as a result of the on-going

banking crisis since 2007)
• Politics of EU in Britain. Issue of sovereignty and where really power resides
• Conservative election pledge for referendum on EU membership by 2017 if majority
• Should England leave? Obama said no
• Can they compete without backing by EU? Where does power reside? EU or Parliament?
• Brexit
Nicola Sturgen – head of Scottish National Party, said to be most powerful woman in Britain
• Scottish had first referendum since 1975 to leave UK (voted 53.3% no)
• A conclusive victory for the union (UK), but then the SNP’s landslide in 2015 general election (winning 56 out of

59 seats in Scotland) reopened questions of Scotland’s future
• What are the implications of the SNP vote?
• Does is constitute pressure on Westminster to get best devolution deal possible for Scottish Parliament or is it

a signal that attitudes have changed on independence since 2015 referendum?
• Britain’s membership in EU also in doubt. Cameron has promised an in-out referendum on a renegotiated

relationship (e.g. reclaiming some powers first) by 2017 if the Conservatives win next election in 2015
South-east needs to share prosperity, London is going to be destroyed if Scotland leaves or if UK leaves EU,

economic benefits are going elsewhere
Will Scotland be in the UK for much longer? yes
Will the UK vote to stay in European Union? yes
By end of course be as familiar with Drizzy Rascal as Margaret Thatcher
Know relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Sid Vicious (member of Sex Pistols)
• Sang God Save the Queen
• Wore swat symbol
Vivian Westwood
• Fashion designer
• Wore swat sticker because it was most hated symbol in Britain
• Dame
Richard Branson
• Britain’s most successful entrepreneur
• Sir
Benjamin Disraeli
• Jewish PM
• Conservative
George Orwell
• Went to Eaton
• Socialist

The US Constitution
• Republic
• Written Constitution
• Separation of Powers
• One-person Executive
• Federal State
The UK Constitution
• Monarchy
• Unwritten Constitution
• Parliamentary System
• Cabinet Government
• Unitary State
• Part of Supranational Organization (EU)
Part 1: Monarchy
• Gives speech on first Parliament opening each year, only time she wears crown
• She doesn’t write the speech, PM does
• Can’t sound excited because she has to sound impartial
• People don’t like social aspect of monarchy, don’t like that the head of state is the head of state because she

was born into it, emphasizes point that in UK you are born into your class
• Has power to dismiss PM if he isn’t behaving constitutionally
• Queen guards constitution
Part 2: Unwritten Constitution
• Based on precedent
• As long as everybody follows it then it works
• Books (not legal books) that describe constitutional history in Britain
• Parliamentary Sovereignty – whatever Parliament says is the law, they control everything including how they rule,

they could abolish monarchy or house of commons or change how many people are in Parliament, flexible but mindset of

constitution is traditionally conservative, don’t want to change anything if they don’t have to
Part 3: Parliamentary System
• In theory Parliament has a lot of control, but actually they are pretty weak
• Mixed separation of powers
• The House of Commons (green benches) are important part of Parliament, have the real power, only elected chamber,

has close relationship with executive branch
• MP – member of Parliament, 650 MPs (?), want to reduce number but how are you going to get Parliament to pass a

law to put some of them out of office
• The House of Lords (red benches) is not elected
• 650 districts (?), each person votes for one person and then everybody elected in each district makes up

Parliament, direct voting
• Turnout in British elections is lower than normal, now about 2/3
• Most MPs are gray-haired white men, 29% are women and it’s the highest its ever been, 6% of Parliament is

minority, but about 14% of British population are minorities
• Nearly all MPs are middle class, so class is not well represented, MPs are now much more professional (lawyers,

academics, a few businessmen, and lots of people who have been politicians their whole lives)
• MPs used to be all businessmen who settled down after making money, so it used to be more upper class
• No term limits, so people stay 15-20 years, oldest member is 84 and has been in Parliament ~50 years
• MPs can claim expenses for anything necessary to do their work, a few years ago an MP leaked these charges – one

charged for porn, one charged for mortgages for second homes, one charged for a duck pond supply shed at home, so now MPs

have a bad name and people say they are just in it for money and are all cheats
• People elect Parliament, and then Parliament chooses PM and they usually choose leader of the biggest party in

lower house of legislature
• People care more about their party and not about the actual MP, vote for MP who is in the party whose leader they

want to be PM
• PM has no fixed tenure, can be voted out by any day by house of commons, doesn’t usually happen because PM knows

it can happen so they try and make MPs happy
• The Legislative Process (Commons) – huge confusing flow chart with multiple readings and votes
• House of Lords has legitimacy problems since they aren’t elected
• Until 1999 most of the House of Lords were there by heredity
• Ushers of churches are appointed to House of Lords by Archbishop (who is appointed by PM)
• Queen appoints lords by advice of PM so they can appoint them from the party of commons
• Lords are appointed for life but the title is not hereditary, it dies with them, given this title for good

service to nation (top generals, admirals, surgeons, ex members of house of commons)
• Joke and say best way to be a lord is to make a big donation to the party in control, not totally a joke
• Average age of house of lords is 70 because you have to have done something to get appointed
• Still have some hereditary members, only way Tony Blair could reform house of lords was to agree to keep some at

least temporarily until the house was reformed
• Some people say House of Lords debates are more interesting
o People from different backgrounds so somebody also has something to say
o Doctors talk about medical issues, defensive issues talked about by generals/admirals
o Outcome of vote is less predictable because there are a lot of independents because they aren’t elected so they

don’t need to claim a party
• No PM or House of Commons wants the Lords to have power or feel legitimate, want them to be seen as weak
• If Lords ever pass something against commons then commons would say how rude of them to against what the people

want and get rid of the law
• Some people say constitution is not satisfactory
o House of Lords is not good
o Once people get into power they generally stay
o No checks and balances in system
o Britain has elected dictatorship
Part 4: Cabinet Government
• Cabinet as group is executive branch
• PM doesn’t make decisions, group as whole makes decisions
• PM appoints members of cabinet
• PM controls agenda of meetings and committees
• PM can dismiss members of cabinet (technically queen does, but she decides things on advice of PM)
• Seems like PM has total control over the cabinet, but he doesn’t because cabinet is made up of MPs
• PM has to appoint a few people of the other party and different opinions to balance the opinion of the party and

keep everybody happy
• If PM resigns and its in between elections, most likely person to become next PM is another member of cabinet, so

the members of cabinet are PM’s biggest supporters and biggest rivals
• Margaret Thatcher, PM 1979-90 (conservative), very aggressive
• John Major, PM 1990-97 (conservative), pathetically weak because he only had the majority by 1 so he had to keep

his party together on everything and at end of term that was very hard, ended up just doing nothing so that they wouldn’t

have disagreements
• Tony Blair, PM 1997-2007 (labour), people voted for Tony Blair even though they weren’t in labour party because

they liked him so much, known as control freak of labor party, strong in everything except economic policy
• Gordon Brown, PM 2007-10 (labor), been in charge of economic policy for 10 years and then crisis hit so his

career ended and his PM term went terribly, all he wanted in life was to be PM and once he finally got it, it went

horrible, Blair was smiling always and so people thought Brown was angry and gloomy, but he had reason to be upset

because thinks were so bad for him, weak PM (not really his fault, more for circumstances), people blamed him for

economic downturn
• David Cameron, PM 2010-current, a lot of conservatives don’t like him, will always be a weak PM no matter what he

• When PM has big and united majority and party likes him and cabinet supports him, PM can be like dictator because

checks and balances are behind him and everybody agrees with him
• When PM has no majority, cabinet doesn’t like him, party doesn’t like him, he has almost no power because they

say unless you do what I want I will vote against you
Part 5: A Unitary State (or, at least, not a federal one)
• UK (63M): England (53M), Wales (3M), Scotland (5M), Northern Ireland (2M)
• Nationalist parties found in 20s, started getting elected to Parliament in 60s, been growing since especially in

• Scottish Nationalist party came about when oil was found in Scotland and so they wanted all the money from the

oil to go to Scotland
• Scottish Parliament – Scottish media focuses on Scottish parliament and not London so now it has its own

political drama, SNP has majority and want independence, only 45% said they wanted independence on referendum
• SNP just won majority in general election so people think they want independence
• 20% of Welch people speak Welch, people don’t want government taken over by people who don’t speak their language
• Northern Island has no flag because they can’t agree on a flag (but they can’t agree on anything), some people

are Irish Nationalist (want to be part of Republic of Ireland), some are unionists
• Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont – similar powers to Scottish Parliament, but works differently, to get any

law through you have to have majority support in unionist party and in nationalist party, cabinet has to represent every

party in assembly
Part 6: Part of a Supranational Organization
• EU has power to force countries to do things they wouldn’t do by themselves
• An EU law overrides national law
• EU just used to have agricultural and trade power and 9 countries, now its expanded a lot geographically and

politically, they are involved in every branch of life
• Top legislative body in EU is council of EU
• Commission (appointed) proposes changes to EU law and then the council (made up of people from every member

state, meets in secret) and the parliament (meets in public, but is weaker than council) makes a codecision
Power in EU lies with PM if cabinet is with him, essentially people, on other matters its EU, on some matters its

Scottish Parliament and Irish National Assembly, British constitution is pretty complicated

Britain sings “Land of Hope and Glory” as a song of national pride but its an imperialist song
79th biggest land area in the world at 93k
22nd biggest population with 63M people
GDP 5th biggest country
National symbol: lion, king of the jungle
At its height, GB was about a quarter of the world
Each colony was expected to pay its own way
For 300M people, 150k troops
British empire rested on racism
• White people esp. British people have a genius for governing that the other people don’t posses
• Think of Americas as more racists than themselves because according to Brits the Americans were also a minority
Right wings would say that 70-100 years ago Britain was a global empire ruling ¼ of the world and now there just

an island off of Europe and part of the EU, must’ve gone wrong in the last few years
Weird thing isn’t that Britain lost all these countries, its that they had them in the first place
Britain is only 2% of the world’s population
Until 16th C Britain was not an important country
• Small island off Europe, out of the loop
Then get Colombian Era
Just wanted to make money
Trafalgar – British navy defeated French navy in 1805(?)
Britain has naval bases all around the world
• Control Gibraltar, Suez, and most of the Mediterranean
• Singapore
• Hong Kong
• Sydney
• Falkland Islands
• Because navy had ships all over all the oceans, explorers felt safe because the navy was around
Lost America because British couldn’t fight a land war in a big country, could only fight on sea
Britain was first industrial country
• Cotton from the US – fabric – sold all over the world
• Half of world trade carried in British ships
In 19th C took New Zealand, but besides that they didn’t go in for any new colonies because they made money by

controlling trade
Wanted people to buy imperially and buy goods from within the empire rather than goods from other places
Britain in 20th C wanted peace, said we’ve taken so much of world there’s nothing else we could want and got just

the opposite
Elephant vs. whale aka Germany vs. England aka army vs. navy
Germany started building big ships and England got curious why because they had a huge land army and not many

colonies, so then Britain thought that Germany want new colonies
People thought GB would fight with France, instead of Germany
Steel and iron output started going up
Brits saw this a treat because if Germany took over France and Russia they would eventually come to Britain
In WWI British lost 15% of entire national debt
Poor people didn’t have right to vote in GB until 1918
Had British empire exhbitition
Neville Chamberlain at Munich in Munch in 1938, had to avoid a major war
Chamerlain was probably worst PM in Germany, everybody hated him, he tried to make piece with Hitler
1940 is the biggest and worst year in history of GB because GB took over every country had them cornered
Countries in Africa started declaring independence
Robert Clive conquered Bengal 1757, tricked people into letting British take over
Sir Henry Havelock crushed “the Indian Mutiny” 1857
Mahatma Gandhi, Indian nationalist
A positive legacy?
• The rule of law
• The idea of liberty
• Representative government
• Christian missions
• English as a world language
• International trade
• Globalization
UK real GDP has been rising, but it doesn’t count in for inflation
• Population increasing
UK real earnings is rising but not as smoothly, pretty bumpy
• Starts to decline in 2002
6th largest country by nominal GDP and 3rd in Europe, looks like they are going to overtake France
19th richest
14th best to live in
GDP per capita is $39,511 compared to US at $54,597
• We won’t feel like we are living in a place poorer to the US because we are in London
Part 1: Where we are & What we do
• UK agricultural, industrial and services sectors similar to US
• Agricultural: 0.6% to 1%
• Industrial: 21% to 19%
• Services: 78.4% to 80%
• Produce 60% of their own food
Other primary industry is oil and gas (energy)
• 6th biggest producer in 2000, now 20th biggest producer
• Biggest oil producer in EU and 2nd biggest in gas
• 98% off shore
• Trying to increase nuclear power
o Have 16 nuclear stations
• Increasing renewable energy
o Biggest producer in offshore wind farms
o Expensive
• About 1/3 of energy is imported now, mostly from Norway
Manufacturing has shrunk rapidly
• In middle of 20th century, 50% of economy was manufacturing
UK dominates economy in aerospace firms
• BAE Systems
• Rolls Royce
• Cobham
No mass producing car industry, but still make a lot of top of the market cars (niche marketing)
• Jaguar (owned by Indian firm)
• Bentlyn (owned by Volkswagen)
• Daimler
• Rolls Royce (owned by BMW – german)
• McLaren
• Landrover
• Don’t sell that many, but don’t need to sell many to make a lot of money
Some mass market production
• Ford
• Honda
• Nissan
• Toyota
• Vauxhall
British producers only producing about 1/3 of the cars, but they are producing the high-tech third
British Leyland was an example of British fail
• Tried to mass produce in 1970s
• Got horrible reputation so it didn’t work
Also does well in pharmaceuticals
• GlaxoSmithKline was first company to sell medicine in pill form, specializes in diabetes, anti-cancer
• Astra-Zeneca specializes in heart medicine
Biggest service industry is NHS (national health service)
• Publicly owned, government insurance
• Only about 8% have private insurance
• Probably 5th biggest employer in world (doesn’t compare to US department of justice or Chinese army)
• Spends less per head than US does by a lot
Creative industry is a big growth area for Britain (6% of national income and growing)
• Entertainment
o 2nd biggest exports of television and music because of the English language
• Fashion
• Video games
• 7 of top 50 universities in world
• About 15% of students are from overseas
• Exporter of education because of people from overseas
• In London about 1/3 of students are from overseas
o India, Malaysia, China
• Big area
• Goes up and down with exchange rates
• 8th most visited country in the world
• London does very well, most visited city along with Bangkok and Paris
• The London Stock Exchange
o Next to St. Pauls but not publicized because Irish nationalists targeted old LSE with a bomb
• 8% of national income comes from national income, but only 4% of work force
• Produces 12% of tax revenues
• More people work in New York, but London is biggest international financial center
• 4th biggest stock exchange
• Lloyds of London is a major insurance market
o Began with maritime shipping
o Insures large things such as space ships and oil crafts
“The City”
• London Stock Exchange
o Between time zones of US and far East
• Lloyds of London
• Euronext.Liffe
• London Metal Exchange
• London Bullion Market
• ICE Futures
• Baltic Exchange
94 of 2000 largest firms are British
• Has more companies than any other European country
• Biggest is HSBC (#15)
o Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation
o In Britain because Britain used to have major role in those cities’ economies
o One of worlds biggest banks
• Another big firm is Vodafone (#40)
o not big in America
o Major player in Europe and Africa
o Produced walkie-talkies for battle and then they became smaller and smaller and eventually turned into mobile

o 2nd biggest mobile phone producer
• 3rd biggest in Britain is BP (#41)
o British Petroleum
o Dominates North Sea oil and gas
o Expanded into other markets (renewable wind energy)
• #56 Prudential
• #100 Lloyds Banking Group
• #105 Rio Tinto
o Mining company
• #135 GlaxoSmithKline
• #153 Standard Chartered
o Bank
o Leading bank in Asia
• #163 Aviva
o Insurance
• #175 Legal & General
o Insurance
Major destination and source of foreign investments
• 2nd to US in both categories
35% of people in industrial sector work for foreign companies
1M people in UK work for American firms
UK is very relaxed about foreign takeovers
17th most globalized nation
Part 2: How we got here & Why we grumble
• UK gave world factory system
• Coal mining all over UK
• ½ the iron in 1850, ½ of cotton, 2/3 of coal
• GDP in 1820 was 3x that of the US
• In 1870, US was catching up, but still biggest in Europe
“The Workshop of the World”
• Until first world war
• Open to free trade
• Switched from agriculture to industrial very quickly
People think British economy went wrong around 1900 because Germany and US were catching up
John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)
• Most famous British economist of 20th C and arguably most famous of the 20th C in the world
• UK government ignored Keynes in 30s (controversial)
• Keynes said government should spend to get demand growing and get jobs growing
In Second world war UK was state run economy
• Rationing
• Government taking over economy seemed to be success
• Was only working because the government was the biggest customer (army)
Nationalization – government bought major industries
• Coal 1946
• Electricity 1947
• Railways 1948
• Healthcare 1948
• Road haulage 1948
• Gas 1949
• Steel 1951 & 1967
• Rolls Royce 1971
• British Petroleum 1974
• National Enterprise Board 1975
• British Leyland 1976
• British Aerospace 1977
• Became mixed economy
• About 20% of economy being run by government on a break-even sense
“Keynesian Social Democracy” or “The Post-War Consensus” 1940s-1970s
• Mixed economy
• Tripartite corporatism
o Idea that corporation should be run by government, CBI, TUC (trade union)
• Demand management
o Government should alter own spending to get full employment
• Full employment leads to:
o Welfare state
o Promotion of equality
o Regional policy
• Unemployment dropped permanently
o “you’ve never had it so good”
Not everything was so good
• International trade started dropping
• Having trouble keeping fixed exchange rate
• Other countries getting ahead
• In 1950s US was way ahead in GDP and UK was second
• In 1970s, UK was in 5th place in GDP
• Inflation was all over the place, got up to 25% annual inflation in 70s, had persistently higher inflation than

other places
Trade union militancy?
• Trade unions were rioting over everything
• Government was pleading with unions to be reasonable and they weren’t listening
• Some say it was because of communist infiltration (not really what happened despite a few radical groups)
• Workers were concerned with wage rates not keeping up with inflation
Aristocratic culture?
• A little bit of truth that people

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