Archive for the ‘parliament’ Category

The book I read to research this post was Loyal and Ancient City: The Civil War In Lichfield by Howard Clayton which is an excellent book which I bought from a car boot sale. I live in Birmingham so Lichfield in Staffordshire is quite near to me. It’s famous for having the smallest cathedral in Britain and also unusually it’s made of sandstone. During the Civil War, Lichfield was very loyal to the Royalists & it was a relatively large city by their standards with a population of around 3,000. It was also a key outpost close to the frontier between Royalist & Parliamentarian forces. The eastern and western parts of the country including Wales & London were Parliamentarian with a great big band cutting the middle of the country of Royalist areas. Lichfield changed hands several times as it was attacked by Parliamentarian forces & then Royalists would try to save them. Quite a few of the famous battles of the war were near to Lichfield underlying its importance. Lichfield also supplied a huge contingent of the Royalist forces but they were generally outnumbered by the Parliamentarians in the battles. Charles the 1st made Oxford a temporary capital city during the war. The war famously started when Charles went to parliament to arrest 5 members of the house who had already fled and were recruiting an army for war. Towards the end of the Civil War the Parliamentarians beseiged Lichfield and although in the meantime many other Royalist settlements like Ludlow & Dudley did surrender after relatively brief sieges the city of Lichfield stuck it out for quite a long time. Interestingly the first bishop of Lichfield was Saint Chad and the cathedral is named after him. The cathedral was badly damaged during the Civil War but they had a really good bishop who greatly built on the congregation and was good at organising the tidying up work. Of course Cromwell turned out to be a dictator and when he died and his son took over the nation as a whole soon got fed up and they brought back parliament and the monarchy. This book is really interesting and appears well researched.

The book I read to research this post was British Politics for Dummies by Julian Knight which is an excellent book which I borrowed from the library. In Britain there are 3 major political parties which are the conservative, the labour & the liberal. Scotland has its own parliament which currently is controlled by the scottish nationalists. Wales has an assembly which means the welsh minister can veto laws. Northern Ireland governs itself but is subject to a power sharing arrangement with Britain & Ireland. In Britain we are currently governed by a coalition between the Liberals & the Conservatives. The last time the Liberals governed the country outright was around the time of the 1st World War & the prime minister was David Lloyd George. interestingly his first language was welsh. The Queen is the head of state hence we don’t have a president but in practise the prime minister pulls the strings. There is a trend for more and more media attention centred on the prime minister & he is getting more and more powerful. This is perhaps because uses whips more effectively. Whips are MPs whose job is to make other members of the party toe the line. If an MP rebels the party can withdraw the whip which means at the next election he won’t be able to campaign as a member of that party. Britain is also partly governed by the European Parliament & there was talk of turning the member states into one super state. It has to be said there is considerable opposition to it with in Britain. Also a lot of Eastern European States who have joined the European Union recently are opposed to it because they feel it’s a return to being ruled by outside & it isn’t long ago they were ruled by Russia. The European Union has introduced Euro currency which has been adopted by quite a few members although there has been problems with various member countries getting into debt & having to borrow money. I for one think Britain is better off sticking with the pound. For one thing if we adopted the Euro a lot of companies would take advantage by hiking there prices because very few people would understand the value of the Euro in relation to the pound.