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CHANGES IN THE LIFE OF PEOPLE






Like many modern developed countries, the United Kingdom has a mixed economy. This means that some sectors of the economy are operated by the government and some are operated by private businesses. Since World War II (1939-1945), Britain has worked to balance the mix of private and public enterprises in order to maximize the country’s economy and ensure the economic well-being of its citizens. Historically, Britain’s Conservative Party has sought a stronger private component in the mix while the Labour Party has sought to strengthen the public component. Both parties are committed to a healthy mix of both elements, however. After World War II the government nationalized, or took over, a number of large and troubled industries. These included coal, electricity, transport, gas, oil, steel, certain car and truck manufacturing, shipbuilding, and aircraft building. Since the 1950s, the government has privatized a number of these industries, selling them to private firms. The first sales were the steel and road transportation industries. The Conservative governments between 1979 and 1996 denationalized oil companies, telecommunications, car and truck production, gas, airlines and aircraft building, electricity, water, railways, and nuclear power. By privatizing these industries, the government hoped they would become more efficient, due to pressure by stockholders demanding profits. Nevertheless, the government continues to regulate these newly privatized industries by controlling prices and monitoring performance. The government also seeks to encourage competition in the economy and increase productivity by sponsoring and subsidizing training and educational programs.

Britain was once covered with thick forests, but over the centuries the expanding human population steadily deforested nearly the entire country, felling trees for fuel and building materials. Despite the fact that trees grow quickly in the cool, moist climate of the United Kingdom, only remnants of the great oak forests remained at the end of the 20th century.

At one time the fishing industry not only provided a cheap source of protein for Britons, but it was also the training ground for the Royal Navy. Today fishing is a less vital economic activity, although the industry provides about 54 percent of Britain’s fish supplies and involves both deep-sea fishing and fish farming. Fish and fish products are both imported into and exported from Britain. Substantial amounts of fish oils and fish meals are imported, along with saltwater fish and shellfish. Exports are significantly less than imports. Sea-ports play a great role in the life of the country. London, Liverpool and Glasgow are the biggest English ports, from which big liners go to all parts of the world. GB exports industrial products to other countries and imports food and some other products.

Of great importance for Britain is ship-building industry. It is concentrated in London, Liverpool and Belfast. In recent decades over fishing and conservation restrictions imposed by the European Union have caused a decline in the deep-sea industry. Fishing remains an important source of employment in many ports in Scotland and southwestern England. Angling, or sport fishing, is one of the more popular hobbies in Britain.

Mining has been enormously important in British economic history. Salt mining dates from prehistoric times, and in ancient times traders from the Mediterranean shipped tin from the mines of Cornwall. These tin mines are almost completely exhausted today, and the last tin mine in Britain closed in March 1998. Britain’s abundant coal resources were critical during the Industrial Revolution, especially because the coal was sometimes conveniently located near iron and could be used in the iron and steel manufacturing processes. These mined resources were so important to the Industrial Revolution that entire populations moved to work at coal and iron sites in the north and Midlands of England. Today the iron is almost exhausted, and even though most good-quality coal seams are depleted, coal is still the third most mined mineral in Britain. Besides coal, raw materials for construction form the bulk of mineral production, including limestone, dolomite, sand, gravel, sandstone, common clay, and shale. Some china clay and salt are also extracted. Small amounts of zinc, lead, tin, silver, and gold are mined.

Coal and iron mining developed as Britain’s dwindling forests created the need for another energy source, and new smelting techniques made iron implements cheaper to produce. An agricultural revolution in the 18th century introduced new crops and crop rotation techniques, better breeding methods, and mechanical devices for cultivation. This coincided with a rapid increase in population, in part due to better hygiene and diets, providing both consumers and workers for the new manufacturing operations. During the Industrial Revolution new methods of manufacturing products were developed. Instead of being made by hand, many products were made by machine. Production moved from small craft shops to factories, and population shifted to urban areas where these factories were located. Cotton textile factories using newly developed steam-powered machines produced more goods at a lower cost per item. Textiles, shipbuilding, iron, and steel emerged as important industries, and coal remained the most important industrial fuel. The Industrial Revolution dramatically raised the overall standard of living. Scotland is also a major producer of computers. The so-called Silicon Glen between Glasgow and Edinburgh employs about 40, 000 people in the electronics industry and is the site of many overseas computer firms. Scotland and Northern Ireland are still noted for their production of whiskey and textiles, especially linen from Northern Ireland and tweed from Scotland. Britain remains an important manufacturing country, although it imports large quantities of manufactured goods from overseas, particularly vehicles and electronic equipment. The leading traditional manufacturing regions of England are Greater London and the cities and regions around Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Newcastle upon Tyne. Banking and financial services have always played an important part in London’s economy, and levels of specialization and expertise have been high.

Britain has more energy resources than any other country in the European Union, mostly in the form of oil and natural gas. Other energy sources include coal and nuclear power. Scotland has some hydroelectric power stations. Some alternative energy sources, notably wind farms, are being developed in various parts of Britain. In 1996 about 3.5 percent of industrial employees were involved in energy production, and the energy sector accounted for 5 percent of the GDP. Oil was discovered in the North Sea in 1969. By the 1980s it was adding significantly to the British economy as oil exports increased during a period of high oil prices. British taxpayers also benefited from the taxes and royalties paid by the oil and gas companies, which are licensed by the Crown to search for and produce oil and gas. In 1997 Britain had more than 80 offshore oil fields. The country also owns some onshore wells, but these are far less productive. Gas has been used since the 19th century in London and other places, but it was manufactured from coal. Since the 1960s, when offshore gas fields were discovered, natural gas has been used. In 1996 natural gas accounted for about 25 percent of the fuel consumption in Britain. In 1997 Britain owned 77 offshore fields producing natural gas. In 1996 about 360, 000 people worked in the oil and gas industry, both offshore and in related business sectors. Coal was Britain’s traditional source of energy for about 300 years. It was the main source of fuel during the Industrial Revolution, when it was mined, used, and exported in large quantities. Peak production occurred in 1913, when more than 300 million tons were mined. Coal has become far less important to the British economy. Several factors led to the closing of many British mines, particularly mines located in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and southern Wales. The most lucrative coal seams eventually became exhausted. Cheaper overseas producers, particularly Poland, South Africa, and Australia, made it less costly to import coal than to mine it Growing concerns about environmental pollution from burning coal have also played a part in decreasing demand.

Control questions:

1.What became the most important of England's products in the 16th century?

2. What did other countries buy from Britain in the middle of the 18th century?

3. What exhibition was opened in the Crystal Palace in 1851?

4. What was the aim of the exhibition?

5. Why had Britain become powerful?

6. What industry is mostly developed in GB?


4 - Lecture. Theme: Political System.

Plan: 1. British Constitution.

2. Three Branches of Government.

3. The British Parliament and the Electoral System.

4. Political parties.

 

The aim of the lecture: To get acquainted with British Constitution and three Branches of Government; The British Parliament and the Electoral System. Cabinet of Ministers; Political parties.

 

Key words:


the Established Church of England – Господствующая церковь Англии

Magna Carta ['mæ gnә 'kаtә ] – Магна карта( Великая хартия вольностей)

King John [dзɔ n] –Король Джон (Иоанн Безземельный)

Habeas Corpus Act ['hеibjә s'kɔ: pә s æ kt] - Xaбeac Kopnyc

(закон 1679 г.о неприкосновенности личности)

court of justice ['kɔ: t ә v'dзʌ stіs] - cyд

the jury ['dзuә rі] – присяжные заседатели

The Bill of Rights – Билль о правах

legislative ['ledзіslә tіv] - законодательная

executive [іg'zеkjutіv] -исполнительная

judicial [dзu'dі∫ ә l] –судебная

the House of Lords –Палата лордов

the House of Commons – Палата общин

King Edward I ['еdwә d] – король Эдуард І

peers [pіә z] - пэры

lords spiritual [spі'ritjuә l] – высшее духовенство

the Archbishop [а: t∫ 'bі∫ ә p] of Canterbury ['kæ ntә bә rі] - архиепископ Кентерберийский

during their lifetime-пожизненно

transmit [træ nz'mɪ t] their right-передавать своё право

a leading civil [sɪ vɪ l] servant-ведущий государственный служащий

hereditary[hɪ ˈ redɪ tә rɪ ] nobility-наследственная знать

by a general election – всеобщим голосованием

constituencies [kә n'stitjuә nsrz] –избирательные округа

a bill -законапроект

royal assent [ә 'sеnt] – королевское одобрение

the Supreme [sju: 'pri: m] Court [kɔ ː t] of Judicature ['dзu: dikә t∫ ә ]-Верховный суд

the High Court of Justice ['dзʌ stis]- Высокий суд (суд первой инстанции по гражданским делам с юрисдикцией на территории всей Великобритании)

the Court of Appeal [ә 'pi: l]-апелляционный суд

arbitrary [ɑ ː bɪ trə rɪ ] action - произвольные действия

the Conservative [kә n'sә: vә trv] Party – Консервативная партия

the Labour ['lеibә ] Party – Лейбористская партия

Tory ['tɔ: ri] – Topи


The content of the lecture: POLITICAL SYSTEM

TheUnited Kingdom is a parliamentary monarchy. This means that it has a monarch (a king or a queen) as its Head of State. The monarch reigns with the support of parliament. The powers of the monarch are not defined precisely. Everything today is done in the Queen's name. It is her government, her armed forces, her law courts and so on. She appoints all the Ministers, including the Prime Minister. Everything is done however, on the advice of the elected Government, and the monarch takes no part in the decision making process.

Once the British Empire included a huge number of countries all over the world ruled by Britain. The process of decolonization began in 1947 with the independence of India, Pakistan and Ceylon. Now, apart from Hong Kong and a few small islands, there is no longer an empire. But the British ruling classes tried not to lose influence over the former colonies of the British Empire. An association of former members of the British Empire and Britain was founded in 1949. It is called the Commonwealth. It includes many countries such as Ireland, Burma, the Sudan, Canada, Australia New Zealand and others. The Queen of Great Britain is also the Head of the Commonwealth, and so the Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand.

The Queen is very rich as are other members of the royal family. In addition, the government pays for her expenses as Head of State, for a royal yacht, train and aircraft as well as for the upkeep of several palaces. The Queen's image appears on stamps, notes and coins.

Parliament consists of two chambers known as the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Parliament and the monarch have different roles in the government of the country and they only meet together on symbolic occasions such as the coronation of a new monarch or the opening of Parliament. In reality, the House of Commons is the only one of the three which has true power. It is here that new bills are introduced and debated. If the majority of the members are in favour of a bill it goes to the House of Lords to be debated and finally to the monarch to be signed. Only then it becomes law. Although a bill must be supported by all three bodies, the House of Lords only has limited powers, and the monarch, has not refused to sign one since the modern political system began over 200 years ago.

 



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