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Government and Politics in Britain, 4th Edition



Government and Politics in Britain, 4th Edition

John Kingdom, Paul Fairclough (With)

ISBN: 978-0-745-63889-8 March 2014 Polity 800 Pages

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The long-awaited fourth edition of this hugely popular textbook offers a uniquely comprehensive and illuminating introduction to government and politics in Britain today.

Set against the turbulent background of a world in economic, ideological and religious flux, the book analyses key developments in twenty-first-century British politics – from the collapse of the longest-serving Labour government to the challenges posed by coalition politics and the decline of public trust in the ruling class. At the heart of the analysis is the issue of power: what is it and who has it?

Fully revised and updated throughout, its 24 chapters explore issues at the cutting edge of political change and debate in Britain, including:
  • Challenges to the unity of the UK and increasing uncertainty over its world role
  • Disillusionment with traditional politics
  • Changing patterns of political communication
  • Identity crises within the political parties
  • Threats facing the traditional institutions of government
  • Tensions posed by austerity, social unrest and a growing gap between rich and poor
Each chapter concludes with a summary, a set of key terms and concepts, questions for discussion, weblinks, and a guide to further reading, plus suggestions for novels, plays and films that will mix the business of study with pleasure and illustrate how politics affects most aspects of our lives.

Widely acknowledged for its sharply critical edge and capacity to enthuse students, Government and Politics in Britain goes beyond mere facts to challenge conventional orthodoxies. Blending penetrating analysis with a witty and thought-provoking style, it will be essential reading for all students new to this  fascinating and important subject.

Related Resources


1 Introduction: Studying Politics

2 Ideology: The Western Tradition
3 Ideology: Beyond the Western Tradition
4 The Constitution: the Unwritten and the Unknowable
5 The Global Context: This Sceptred Isle
6 Britain and Europe: Awkward Partners?
7 The European Union: Anatomy of a Superstate?

8 The Social Context: Our Divided Society
9 Mind Politics: What We Think
10 The Machinery of Democracy: the Electoral System
11 The Vox Populi: How People Vote
12 The Political Parties: Masses, Leaders and Powers behind Thrones
13 Party Politics: From Elites to Mass Participation

14 Pomp and Circumstance: Monarchy, Lords and Commoners
15 Parliament at Work: Not to Reason Why
16 The Heart of Government: of Cabinets and Kings
17 The Village of Whitehall: of Ministers and Mandarins
18 Getting and Spending: the Politics of Public Expenditure
19 The Politics of Influence: Who Gets What, When, How?

20 Territorial Politics: A Disunited Kingdom?
21 The Grass Roots of Democracy: Local Government
22 Trials and Errors: Justice and Politics
23 The Coercive State: the Politics of Law and Order
24 Thinking Holistically

Chronology of events
"This must-have book for any student of British politics could be subtitled ‘Everything You Wanted to Know About Power In Britain But Were Afraid to Ask’ as it is a veritable cornucopia of information, analysis and provocative criticism aimed at a thorough understanding of this country’s government structures, how they work in principle, and how they operate in practice. No dry rehearsal of facts but written to engage the reader."
LSE Review of Books

"Like its predecessors, this revised and updated edition is comprehensive and engaging, offering readers a continuous invitation to think critically about the subject. It will be a key resource for all serious students of UK politics."
Mark Garnett, Lancaster University

"Kingdom and Fairclough have produced an excellent textbook. It manages to weave together detailed information, historical context and conceptual understanding to provide a sophisticated introduction to British politics today."
Martin Smith, University of York

Kingdom and Fairclough have produced a detailed, thought-provoking and dissenting analysis of British politics. This book will be an invaluable resource for A-level and undergraduate students of government and politics."
Matt Beech, University of Hull

"This thorough, detailed and authoritative text should be required reading for politics students and tutors wishing to acquire a broad historical understanding allied with an excellent range of contemporary examples. Engagingly written with numerous opportunities for debate and analysis, it is an excellent text for sixth-form students."
Paul Brennan, Runshaw College