British politics, notes Tony Wright, is arguably Britain's greatest gift to the world. In this Very Short Introduction, Wright offers a brilliant interpretative essay on the British political system. The author, an academic and recent Member of Parliament, illuminates the key characteristics and ideas of the British tradition, and investigates what makes British politics distinctive, while emphasizing throughout the book how these characteristics are reflected in the way the political system actually functions. Each chapter is organized around a key theme, such as the constitution or political accountability, which is first established and then explored with examples and illustrations. This in turn provides a perspective for a discussion of how the system is changing, looking in particular at devolution and Britain's place in Europe. For the second edition, Wright considers how the system continues to evolve in light of the fall of New Labour, the arrival of David Cameron, and "big society" thinking and he explores the impact of issues such as immigration and terrorism, parliamentary scandal, and the financial crash of 2008.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjectsfrom Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocativeyet always balanced and completediscussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
About the Author
Tony Wright is Professorial Fellow in the Department of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a Labour Party politician, a former Member of Parliament, and author of many books on British politics.
Table of Contents
1. The Britishness of British politics
2. The constitution: old and new
3. Arguing: the political conversation
4. Governing: the strong centre?
5. Representing: is the party over?
6. Accounting: heckling the steamroller?
7. The end of British politics?
References and further reading
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is from the same series as the (fairly good) introduction to HIV/AIDS I read a little while back, but is unfortunately not a good. I had expected it to be written along similar lines, but instead of explaining how the British political system works in small words for those (like me) who do not understand it, the author has written an essay on "what makes our politics so British" and its similarities and differences to politics in other countries. I was alternately bored and confused by the whole thing, and probably wasn't helped by the fact that the book immediately fell to bits. I shall probably recycle its many pages.