What is Western Europe?



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Lecture Overview

  • What is Western Europe?
  • Impressions
  • Why Study it?
  • Themes and Challenges
      • Country vs. Comparative
      • Conflict vs. Cooperation
      • Parliamentary vs. Presidential
      • Integration vs. Disintegration

What is Western Europe?

      • now many former Soviet satellite states have accession agreements with the European Union
      • Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia are set to join on 1st May 2004

What is Western Europe?

  • Traditional definition
      • all countries - about 2 dozen to 30 states that were located west of the “iron curtain”
      • all countries of the ‘first world’ - that is, advanced industrial and often liberal democracies
  • Since 1990
      • fall of Berlin wall, decomposition of the former Soviet empire diminished the importance of the traditional distinction b/w East and West Europe

Defining Western Europe

  • For now, though, it makes some sense to adhere to the traditional definition of Western Europe
      • the common experience with capitalist development
      • in most cases, the longer experience with liberal democratic institutions

What is Western Europe?

  • - two dozen countries and city states
      • counting Andorra, Lichenstein, Vatican City, San Marino
      • some ‘outside’ the geography of Western Europe
          • (egs Cyprus, Iceland, Finland, Greece)

Democracies, but…

  • those states in Europe which did not come under Soviet control/influence
      • first world states
      • some dictatorships until very recently (Portugal until 1974; Spain until 1975-77; Greece until 1975)

Why Study Western Europe?

  • Three broad reasons:
      • cultural/philosophical significance of the region over history
      • geopolitics - esp. during Cold War
          • Europe a battleground for Superpower confrontation
      • comparative political laboratory
          • despite shared heritage, geography
          • wide variations in political conditions and institutional structures

Main variations in Political Regimes

  • Countries fall into three broad types based on role of political authority in the economy:
    • a) pluralist
    • b) étatist (‘statist’)
        • More interventionist – industrial policy; state ownership & control
        • e.g., France and to a much lesser extent Italy
    • c) democratic corporatist
        • e.g., Sweden and to a more limited extent Germany

Themes and Challenges

  • Country versus Comparative approach
      • integral nature of the components of the political systems
      • appreciate the evolution of political life and institutions, and the historical rootedness of contemporary practices
      • common framework of text facilitates comparison across systems

Themes and Challenges

  • Conflict versus Cooperation in West Europe
      • a troubled continent
          • two world wars in the past 100 years
          • battleground during Cold War

A Common Future?

      • Emergent supranationalism in EU
          • broadening from original 6 states (BENELUX, Italy, France, West Germany) in 1957 to 15 member states in 1995
          • 13 more states lined up for membership, with prospects of more to come!

Themes and Challenges

  • Parliamentary versus Presidential Systems
      • most European states are parliamentary democracies
        • A fusion of executive & legislative power
      • France, however, an interesting ‘hybrid’ system
      • encourage you to make comparisons with the more familiar Presidential model as epitomized by the US
        • Powers separated w/ checks & balances
      • do different configurations of executive/legislative relations matter?

Themes and Challenges

  • Integrationversus Disintegration
      • some see it as paradoxical that West European state sovereignty being simultaneously eroded from above (EU) and below (regional autonomist movements)
      • UK
          • Scottish and Welsh parliaments; Northern Ireland’s Assembly
      • France
          • Breton, Basque, Corsican separatist movements
      • Italy
          • Lombardy League, etc.
      • Spain
          • Catalan & Basque nationalism

Hancock et al. (2003)

      • Third edition
      • Country – by – country organization (and EU)
      • Only materials on countries covered included on exams
      • You are not responsible for materials on Sweden & Russia in the text

Second Lecture Overview

  • Themes and Challenges in Study of Western Europe
      • Country vs. Comparative
      • Conflict vs. Cooperation
      • Parliamentary vs. Presidential
      • Integration vs. Disintegration
  • State-Building in Western Europe
  • The United Kingdom
      • State-building
      • The Unwritten Constitution
        • Sources of constitution
        • Parliamentary supremacy

Main variations in Political Regimes

  • Countries fall into three broad types based on role of political authority in the economy:
    • a) pluralist
        • e.g., UK and the EU
        • State involvement primarily via regulation
    • b) étatist (‘statist’)
        • More interventionist – industrial policy; state ownership & control
        • e.g., France and to a much lesser extent Italy
        • “dirigisme” – “state led” development
    • c) democratic corporatist
        • e.g., Sweden and to a more limited extent Germany

Themes and Challenges

  • Conflict versus Cooperation in West Europe
      • a troubled continent
          • two world wars in the past 100 years
          • battleground during Cold War

A Common Future?

      • Emergent supra-nationalism in EU
          • broadening from original 6 states (BENELUX, Italy, France, West Germany) in 1957 to 15 member states in 1995
          • 13 more states lined up for membership, with prospects of more to come!

Themes and Challenges

  • Parliamentary versus Presidential Systems
      • most European states are parliamentary democracies
        • A fusion of executive & legislative power
      • France, however, an interesting ‘hybrid’ system
      • encourage you to make comparisons with the more familiar Presidential model as epitomized by the US
        • Powers separated w/ checks & balances
      • do different configurations of executive/legislative relations matter?

Themes and Challenges

  • Integration versus Disintegration
      • some see it as paradoxical that West European state sovereignty being simultaneously eroded from above (EU) and below (regional autonomist movements)
      • UK
          • Scottish and Welsh parliaments; Northern Ireland’s Assembly
      • France
          • Breton, Basque, Corsican separatist movements
      • Italy
          • Lombardy League, etc.
      • Spain
          • Catalan & Basque nationalism

Emergence of States in Europe

  • Geopolitical map of Europe made and remade continuously over past 2000 years
    • Empires
        • Egs., Rome; Austria-Hungary; Napoleon
    • Mini-states/principalities
    • “Modern” sovereign territorial state normally dated from Treaty of Westphalia, 1648

The State-building Process

  • State-building essentially involves consolidation of control over territory by a political force/system
    • Extraction of resources by political authorities (taxation)
    • Establishment of legitimacy against rivals (e.g., Church)
    • ‘successfully claim a monopoly of the legitimate use of force’ (Weber)
  • “War makes the state, and states make war.” (Charles Tilly)
  • Establish uniform legal codes, measurement systems that make transactions and exchange easier
    • In some cases, cultural penetration/standardization (France)
    • conducive to market-based capitalist development

Emergence of States in Europe

    • Establish uniform legal codes, measurement systems that make transactions and exchange easier
      • conducive to market-based capitalist development
    • 1700-1800s emergence of nationalism to legitimize the new state formations
        • political ideology in which nations should govern themselves; the boundaries of the nation should be congruent with the boundaries of the state

The ‘Mother of Parliaments’ – The United Kingdom

    • first country to industrialize
      • Coal mining, iron & steel, railways & canals, weaving, all ushered in the Industrial Revolution
      • by early 1800s, Britain the ‘workshop of the world’
    • A “pattern state” (Hans Daalder)
      • Gradual democratization over centuries
      • Naval versus army bases of state power
    • expanded as world’s leading imperial power
      • by 1900, 25% of all world’s population lived under the British empire

The British Empire

British State-building

  • England ‘unified’ under Roman occupation
    • Julius Caesar invades 55 BC
      • "All the Britons paint themselves with woad, which gives their skin a bluish color and makes them look very dreadful in battle."

Roman Britain (55BC ~ 400AD)

  • A lasting legacy
    • Cities/Forts
    • Roads

Anglo-Saxon/Norman England

  • After Romans left, return to regional kingdoms
  • Core expansion out of Wessex (Hampshire)
  • Norman invasion (1066)
      • William the Conqueror

Patterns in State-Building

  • United Kingdom comprised of four components
      • England & the “Celtic Fringe”
    • Each has its own history of independent statehood
    • Each has its own distinctive form of integration within the UK state

Component Parts of the UK

  • Core/Center
    • forms by gradual expansion of this core, eventually to encompass entire UK
    • Prior advantages in economy – fertile ground

Constituent Parts of the UK

    • Wales
        • Unified in 950; developed an elaborate governmental/legal system
        • Centuries of conflict w/ kings of England
          • 1301 – English king made eldest son “Prince of Wales”
          • Tradition continues today
        • 1536 - conquest & institutional (though not cultural) assimilation
        • First “act of union” in 1536 announced the English intention "[henceforth] . . .to utterly extirpate all and singular the sinister usage and customs differing from the same nglish laws]."

Scotland

  • Wars of independence – 13th-14th centuries
      • “Declaration of Arbroath”- 1320 - one of the earliest expressions of nationalism
      • "It is not for honour nor riches, nor glory that we fight but for liberty alone, which no true man lays down except with his life."
  • Scotland
        • 1603 – “Union of Crowns”
        • 1707 -- “Act of Union”
        • elite accommodation and considerable Scottish autonomy
        • separate Church; Bank (currency); educational system; and legal system

Ireland

    • English armies invaded Ireland for centuries
    • Elizabeth I – Protestants sent to colonize Ulster – 1600s
    • Union -1801-1921 – integrated into UK
      • Ireland given 100 seats in Commons and 32 in Lords
    • Protestant minority, with British backing, discriminated against Catholics; spawned Irish nationalism
        • Easter 1916 uprising
    • Partition (1921)
        • Eventually 26 counties in south given independence in 1922; 6 counties in north (Ulster) remain with UK as “Northern Ireland”

Regional Differences 1980s – (UK = 100)

Third Lecture Overview

  • British Constitutionalism
      • The Unwritten Constitution
        • Sources of constitution
        • Parliamentary supremacy

The Unwritten UK Constitution

  • “In England (sic) the Parliament has an acknowledged right to modify the constitution; as, therefore, the constitution may undergo perpetual changes, it does not, in reality, exist. The Parliament is at once a legislative and a constituent assembly.”
      • Alexis de Toqueville (1805)

Sources of UK Constitution

  • Four main ones:
      • Statutory law
          • passed by Parliament in normal legislative process
          • e.g., 1679 - Act of Habeus Corpus
      • Common law
          • judicial interpretations of laws become precedents
          • ‘stare decisis’ -”let the decision stand”
      • Convention/tradition
          • e.g., that Monarchs give consent to laws
          • last royal veto in 1707
      • Works of Authority
          • academic commentaries on constitution (e.g., Wheare, Jennings)

Constitutional Principles- 1

  • Bicameral parliament
      • House of Commons
      • House of Lords
  • Bills need to be approved by both houses
  • Development of “asymmetrical bicameralism”
      • House of Commons ascends; House of Lords descends in importance.

Parliamentary supremacy

  • Parliamentary sovereignty (or parliamentary supremacy)
      • A.V. Dicey - 19th Century constitutional lawyer and author of several ‘works of authority’
      • “…the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognized by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside legislation of Parliament.”
          • NO meaningful JUDICIAL REVIEW!
      • In reality, however, there are some checks on parliamentary power

Constraints on Parliamentary Supremacy

      • Norms, traditions, liberal democratic values
      • Party organizations (esp. traditional Labour Party)
      • Bureaucratic power
      • European Union law / institutions
          • emergence of ‘qualified majority voting’ (QMV) in Council of Ministers
          • European law takes precedence over domestic for all member states
      • Referenda
          • European Union membership in 1975“
          • “Devolution” in 1979 and again in 1997
  • Pro Welsh devolution poster, 1997

Constitutional Principles- 2

  • Constitutionalism
      • ‘rule of law’
        • judicial independence
      • government not arbitrary but follows rules
      • respect for civil rights
        • (but no written ‘Bill of Rights’)

Charter 88 (excerpt)

  • “You don’t have the right to a fair trial.
  • “You don’t have the right to be treated equally whatever your race, religion, or sexuality. You don’t have the right to privacy, the right to protest, or the right to an education.
  • “We’re talking about Britain.
  • “Your rights have no protection.
  • “We have no positive legal rights in this country. We only have the permission to do what the law doesn’t expressly forbid. So any government can pass laws that whittle away at fundamental rights we thought were secure.”
  • Source: http://www.gn.apc.org/charter88/politics/bill.html

Fourth Lecture Overview

  • British Constitutionalism
      • Democratization in Britain
  • Institutions of Parliamentary Government
    • The Westminster Model
        • Dual Executive
        • House of Lords

19th Century Democratic Transitions

    • 2 routes for gradual democratization
      • Democratizing the Commons
      • Reform of the House of Lords

Democratizing the Commons - Electoral Reform

  • Entered the 19th century dominated by wealthy individuals from rural England
      • by 1830, large cities created by the Industrial Revolution (lLeeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham, etc.) had NO representatives in H of C
      • “rotten boroughs” - seats in Commons for places with next to no population
          • “Old Sarum” – near Stonehenge, 2 MPs and no population!

Extending the Franchise

  • Seven acts that each expanded the rights to vote and participate in political life
  • 1832 - “The Great Reform Act”
      • increased electorate’s size by about 50% by granting middle class land owners (£10 property owners) right to vote
  • 1867 & 1884 Reform Acts
      • gradual removals of property restrictions
      • each act roughly doubled the size of the electorate

Extending the Franchise

  • 1918 - universal suffrage for males over 21 yrs. and females over 28 yrs.
  • 1928 - eliminated the gender differential
  • 1948 - eliminated ‘university constituencies that gave graduates 2 votes, one in constituency of residence and one in university
  • 1969 - lowered voting age to 18

The Westminster Model

Dual Executive

  • Head of State - The Monarchy
      • The “Dignified” Part of the British Constitution according to Walter Bagehot (The English Constitution, 1867)
      • Symbolic role
          • non-partisanship at the top
          • continuity/tradition
      • no real “power”
      • Bagehot argued in 1867 that Britain had become a ‘disguised republic’ and that power had passed - almost unnoticed by the public - to the efficient parts of the constitution, which in the case of the political executive means Prime Minister and Cabinet

Bicameral Parliament

  • House of Lords - “upper house”
      • power declines as Britain democratizes
        • in Bagehot’s terms, moved from the efficient to the dignified parts of the British constitution
      • Recently reformed - Fall 1999
      • attempt to increase its legitimacy and efficacy, and reduce the role of ‘hereditary peers’
      • reduce partisan advantage to Conservative party an important motivation
      • pre-2000 had been about 1,200 peers - most hereditary and large majority Conservative

Reforming the Lords

  • House of Lords
      • until 1911 the Lords could veto any legislation passed by the Commons
      • as age of democracy progressed, the body’s (legitimacy declined
  • Parliament Act 1911)
      • limited Lords’ veto power
        • could now only delay financial matters for 30 days and normal non-financial legislation for 2 years
        • further limited powers in 1949
  • Recent Reforms (1999->)
      • Abolition the objective of Blair Government
      • Agreed to allow 92 seats to remain for ‘hereditary peers’ to gain Conservative support for rapid passage of reform
  • http://www.parliament.uk/panoramas/hlords.htm

Wakeham Commission Recommendations (1999)

  • 550 members,
    • a minority of them elected from the regions
    • most of the rest chosen by a powerful Appointments Commission which would have massive powers to determine the make-up of the second chamber.
  • Commission would be responsible for ensuring that around 20 per cent of the new House are independent crossbenchers and that the second chamber, of which the clear majority would be unelected, should proportionately reflect votes cast at the previous general election.
  • Otherwise, let the institution evolve!

Composition of Lords (1/2000)

Sixth Lecture Overview

  • Institutions of Parliamentary Government
    • The Westminster Model
        • House of Commons
        • Passage of Legislation
        • MPs Roles

House of Commons – Composition

    • 659 Members of Parliament (MPs)
    • each elected from electoral districts using the Single Member Plurality (SMP) electoral system
      • one member from each district
      • elected by a ‘plurality’ formula
          • winner has more votes than any other candidate
      • well-known distortion associated with SMP systems
          • more shortly on this

MPs

      • Must win local party association’s nomination (and be acceptable to party leader)
        • Not necessary to live in your constituency (or “riding”)
      • Paid £56,358 per year (4/2003)
        • Up to a maximum of £120,000 in expenses for staff support & office, London living expenses, plus travel allowance
        • Enough for 2-3 full-time assistants, in constituency and/or London
      • Average constituency served has about 67,000 electors
      • MPs overwhelmingly “WASP”
        • Since 1918, 4,531 individuals have served as MPs
        • 252 have been women (6% of all MPs)
          • 64% of women MPs have been Labour members
        • 118 women elected in 2001 (18% of 659)

Commons as of July 2002 (2001 election)

  • Labour 410
  • Conservative 164
  • Liberal Democrat 53
  • Scottish National Party/
  • Plaid Cymru 9 (SNP 5/PC 4)
  • Ulster Unionist 6
  • Democratic Unionist 5
  • Sinn Fein 4 (Have not taken their seats)
  • Social Democratic & Labour 3
  • Independent 1
  • Speaker & 3 Deputies 4 (Do not normally vote)
  • Total 659
  • Government majority 165
  • 330 MPs needed to form a majority government

Four Primary Functions of House of Commons

  • Educating the public
      • ‘mobilizing consent’
      • legitimation
  • Improve legislation
      • ‘policy refinement’ if not policy making
  • Recruitment of executive
  • Executive accountability
      • Question period
      • Select committees

Passing Laws

    • To become law, bill must pass House of Commons, House of Lords*, and receive Royal Assent
    • Party Cohesion / Party Discipline
    • Not “government by parliament” but “government through parliament”

Legislation

  • Government Bills –
    • introduced by Prime Minister or Cabinet Minister
        • about 90% pass each session!
        • Relatively few
          • average of Thatcher/Major under 50 per session
        • Very few actually ‘defeated’
        • about 10% are withdrawn by the government
  • Private Members’ Bills
        • lottery to select among all proposed
          • 20 drawn from about 400 proposed
        • debated only on about a dozen Fridays
        • very few pass
          • total of 256 passed of more than 2,000 introduced b/w 1983-2002

The Commons’ Legislative Process

    • First reading - normally by a Cabinet Minister;
        • no debate permitted; published in Hansard
    • Second reading
        • major debate on principles of proposed legislation 2-3 wks. after first reading
    • Committee stage - Standing & Select
        • all committees mirror the House in partisan composition, so government majority is assured
        • prior to 1979, a different committee established for each piece of legislation called standing committees
        • May be referred to a select committee, and if so, it will report on the bill
        • still responsible for the detailed, clause-by-clause scrutiny today
          • Amendments possible
        • under reasonably tight gov’t party control
        • new members for each committee/piece of legislation

Seventh Lecture Overview

  • Institutions of Parliamentary Government
    • The Westminster Model
        • Passage of Legislation
        • Adversarial Politics
        • MPs Roles

The Commons’ Legislative Process

    • First reading - normally by a Cabinet Minister;
        • no debate permitted; published in Hansard
    • Second reading
        • major debate on principles of proposed legislation 2-3 wks. after first reading
    • Committee stage - Standing & Select
        • all committees mirror the House in partisan composition, so government majority is assured
        • prior to 1979, a different committee established for each piece of legislation called standing committees
        • May be referred to a select committee, and if so, it will report on the bill
        • still responsible for the detailed, clause-by-clause scrutiny today
          • Amendments possible
        • under reasonably tight gov’t party control
        • new members for each committee/piece of legislation

House of Commons - Legislative Stages (cont.)

      • Report stage – back to the House, further amendments considered
      • Third reading (no amendments, short debate) and vote
        • Normally, voice vote sufficient
        • Divisions – MPs file out to the lobby and are counted as they re-enter through doors marked “Aye” or “Nay”

Budget procedures

    • Chancellor of the Exchequer presents budget
      • An annual appraisal of the economy
      • Outline the government’s economic plan
        • Describe tax implications and changes
      • Normally, Finance Bill introduced the same day
        • Since 1968, most controversial matters in the Finance Bill taken up by a ‘committee of the whole’ (i.e., the entire H of C, with no speaker in the chair)
        • Rest sent to a (slightly larger than normal) standing committee

Adversarial Politics

  • The operative principle of parliamentary systems is the ‘fusion of executive and legislative power’
    • Government leader (Prime Minister) and Executive (cabinet) sit in House of Commons
        • effective government by a majority party or coalition (Her Majesty’s Government)
        • continually opposed by a vigorous, vigilant opposition (Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition)
    • Worth noting that this is also the basis of the British legal system that we inherited
  • http://www.parliament.uk/panoramas/hcomms.htm
  • http://www.parliamentlive.tv/

The Speaker

    • The ‘referee’ for parliamentary procedure & debates
    • An MP
      • After 2001, will be elected by MPs
        • Successive ballots until one person has a majority
      • Impartial
        • Resign from party upon selection
        • Normally do not vote in divisions of the House, but occupant of the chair can cast the decisive ballot in the event of a tie
        • Normally runs unopposed in elections
      • Salary same as a cabinet member (£128,000 – 4/2003)


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