British Politics For Dummies
Cheat sheets contain bite sized text that lets you know some of the key points contained in British Politics For Dummies, but in an ultra-condensed form. Want to impress your friends with your political knowhow or simply want to grasp one or two key facts? Look at the cheat sheet and find out who was Prime Minister when in Post-1945 Britain. Catch up on the key events in Britain since 1900. Discover exactly what all those political ideologies mean. This cheat sheet will give you all the basics and is a fun way to get useful information fast!
Post-1945 British Governments
Red, blue, blue, blue . . . since 1945, the Conservatives have been the dominant political force in Britain. The biggest political animal of them all was undoubtedly Thatcher, who managed to win three consecutive elections. Here's a list of British governments since 1945:
|Years in Office||Party of Government||Prime Minister|
|1955–1959||Conservative||Anthony Eden (1955–1957)
Harold Macmillan (1957–)
|1959–1964||Conservative||Harold Macmillan (–1963)
Sir Alec Douglas-Home (1963–1964)
|1974–1979||Labour||Harold Wilson (1974–1976)
James Callaghan (1976–1979)
|1987–1992||Conservative||Margaret Thatcher (–1990)
John Major (1990–)
|2005–2010||Labour||Tony Blair (–2007)
Gordon Brown (2007–10)
|2010-||Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition||David Cameron (2010-)|
Major British Political and Social Events Since 1900
Britain's political and social scene has changed dramatically over the course of a century, with the result that it's barely recognisable today. Here are just a few of the important events that have shaped our lives today.
|1907||Legalisation of trade unions|
|1908||Introduction of state pension|
|1914||Outbreak of World War One|
|1918||Women over 30 given right to vote|
|1919||Formation of League of Nations|
|1924||First Labour government|
|1928||Women allowed to vote on same terms as men|
|1929||Wall Street Crash|
|1939||Outbreak of World War Two|
|1945||Creation of United Nations|
|1944||Butler Education Act, creating publicly funded system of grammar, comprehensive and technical schools|
|1948||National Health Service established|
|1962||Cuban missile crisis|
|1967||Legalisation of abortion and decriminalisation of homosexuality|
|1969||Voting age lowered to 18|
|1973||Britain becomes member of European Economic Community (EEC)|
|1984||Start of miners' strike|
|1989||Fall of Berlin Wall signals demise of Cold War|
|1998||Good Friday Agreement|
|2001||9/11 terrorist attacks in USA|
|2003||UK and USA invade Iraq|
|2007||July bombings in London|
|2008||Global financial crisis|
Quick Definitions of Political Ideologies: the -isms
Let's face it, ideologies are confusing things. The -ism bit seems to make them so very forgettable. But not anymore! Here's a quick alphabetical guide to the major (and not so major) political ideas that inspire people to get involved in politics.
Anarchism: Can be grouped around socialistic or individualistic strains. Anarchists believe that the state and forms of compulsory government are harmful or unnecessary to people's lives.
Communism: Communists believe that the capitalist system is damaging to the interests of the masses, and that workers must unite and overturn it by revolutionary means. Communists also believe in the state ownership of all land, natural resources and industry.
Conservatism: Conservative thought is coloured by the belief that – over time – history has produced institutions and modes of government that function well, and which should be largely preserved for the future. They also believe that political change should be organic and gradual, rather than revolutionary.
Environmentalism: Key political concern is protecting and improving the condition of the natural environment. Many believe there is a need for much greater regulation of humans' interaction with the environment, as well as aspects of our lifestyles that are environmentally unsustainable.
Feminism: The belief that society and the political system is patriarchal. Feminists seek to improve the political and, particularly, the social and economic position of women.
Liberalism: The belief in protecting the rights of the individual, to ensure their maximum freedom. There have been shifts in liberal thought, the most prominent of which was the move from classical liberalism (minimal role of state, unsecured liberties) to progressive liberalism in the early twentieth century. Progressive liberals argued that civil liberties and freedoms must be safeguarded and actively protected by the state.
Socialism: Socialists are motivated by the desire to improve the quality of life for all members of society. They believe in a political system characterised by strong state direction in political and economic policy. Another key idea is the redistribution of resources to redress inequalities inherent in a free-market economy.