UK. After a record-breaking honeymoon with voters (since the May 1, 1997 election), the new year offered unexpected problems for Prime Minister Tony Blair. Several leading Labor politicians accused Blair of defrauding traditional Labor voters. by failing to implement promised improvements in general health care. An unusually severe flu epidemic broke out at the same time, exposing the shortcomings in health care. In an effort to curb criticism, Prime Minister Blair promised to raise healthcare costs to 6.7% of the country’s GDP. The British’s irritation over the state of the country’s healthcare was exacerbated by newspaper data which revealed that the other EU countries allocated an average of 7.9% of GDP to their healthcare.
Tony Blair’s headache was not improved by the internal controversy over the nomination of Labor’s candidate for the first political mayoral election in London on May 4. Former Blair government health minister Frank Dobson won a tight victory over left-hander Ken Livingstone, but the disputed Livingstone did not give up so easily but ran in the election as an independent candidate and eventually won the battle. “Red Ken” became popular with London voters when he challenged Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and he now threatened to continue as a mayor to pursue a left-wing policy against New Labor’s center politics.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of United Kingdom. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
There was new debate about British immigration policy and border controls within the EU as Dover port staff found the bodies of 58 illegal refugees from China in a truck container that had arrived from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The British government announced that police and security personnel would now deal with the criminals who took part in the income-smuggling of people to Britain from China and other countries.
Tony Blair faced a new and embarrassing political hardship when he was greeted by the delegates at a women’s conference organized by the prestigious Women’s Institute. The female delegates demonstrated their dissatisfaction with Blair’s and the Labor government’s way of conducting politics and the leadership exercised by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Repeated blast attacks with nail bombs against ethnic minorities in 1999 worried the government even after the culprit was arrested. It was feared that the attacks would attract more extremists to xenophobic acts, but the fears were not met. June 30, 2000, 24-year-old David Copeland was sentenced to life in prison for three very bloody bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds.
Queen Elizabeth’s traditional TV speech to the nation on Christmas Day was unusually short this year, reinforcing the notion that Prime Minister Blair intends to announce elections in the spring of 2001.
The English Revolution
The monarchy and Catholic faith of Karl II came quickly in opposition to the Protestant Parliament and triggered the English Revolution. The king fled to France, and the Protestants invited the Dutch William of Orange to take over the throne. In 1689, William III swore by the Declaration of Rights, restricting the king’s power and guaranteeing the supremacy of parliament. John Locke summarized the ideals of the revolutionaries so that man has a number of natural basic rights: for property, life, freedom and personal security. The government created by society must protect the work in order to these rights. If it does not, the people have the right to oppose its authority.
In 1707, the parliaments of Scotland and England joined together and the United Kingdom was formed. It mingled in the succession war in Spain, and with the Utrecht treaty got Menorca, Gibraltar and New Scotland. The increasing tax burden – which e.g. was expressed in the Timber Act of 1765 – led to a revolt in the colonies of North America and to the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.
In the same period, the landlords joined forces with the bourgeoisie, and the two major political parties consolidated: the Conservatives (Tory) and the Liberals (Whig). The theory behind the liberalist economy was developed these years by Adam Smith. The Imperial Force used this theory and policy to force open ports and markets in Africa, America and Asia, such as in the Opium War against China in the mid-19th century. (See Trade Capitalism).
After crushing a nationalist Irish rebellion in 1798, the Irish Parliament was dissolved in 1801, forming the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland”.
In the 18th century there was considerable development in agriculture. This was true both in cultivation methods and in overall changes in the property conditions of the land. The landowners collected their lands and demolished the municipal lands that had been of benefit to the small farmers. Agriculture gained more capitalist characteristics, sustainable agricultural production ceased and so did agricultural communities. In parallel, there was an industrial revolutionplace in textile production, which was the first industry to face a rapidly growing overseas demand. The introduction of machines into production changed drastically the working methods and the workshop was replaced with the factory. Following the development in the textile industry, a similar development occurred in the mining and metal industries. With the introduction of the steam engine as a substitute for human labor, the use of coal as fuel and the replacement of wood with first iron and then steel, mechanization spread rapidly to other industries.
At the same time, the growth of the new mode of production, capitalism, involved a settlement with another mode of production: slavery. Almost the entire first half of the 19th century went with this settlement before it was finally completed. At the same time, the state paid a round-handed compensation. Not to the victims – the slaves – but to the slave owners. The slaves never received compensation, let alone an apology. In this way, Britain is completely in line with the other European colonial states – such as Denmark – who have never renounced their slave history, nor compensated the slaves and their descendants.
The population increased rapidly – from 10.9 million in 1801 to 21 million in 1850. This, together with rising demand, improvements in transport, accumulation of capital, expansion of trade, building of the vast colonial empire, scientific progress and the acquisition of power by the bourgeoisie., was the most important characteristic of the time. The United Kingdom developed into the world’s first industrial society and used all means to secure this development – including the adoption of laws to destroy the Indian textile industry for the benefit of British manufacturers.
Through various wars with France and after the victory over Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, Britain secured new lands.
However, the industrial revolution, the low wages, the unhealthy working conditions, the miserable housing conditions in the cities, the lack of food, the labor market uncertainty and the use of women and children in the long grueling working days caused widespread dissatisfaction among the population. In many cases, the protests of the people took on a violent character and were also violently beaten down.
During the first stage of industrial development, frequent spontaneous actions took place, such as among a group of craftsmen called the Luddites, who smashed the machines. Subsequently, the workers responded by forming unions. Following a violent suppression of a demonstration in Manchester in 1819, new laws were passed restricting freedom of assembly and press. Nevertheless, new demonstrations were conducted. Both among the Irish nationalists led by Daniel O’Conell, and in protest against the wheat laws imposing heavy customs duties on wheat.
The Chartists came to constitute the most important mass movement. It consisted predominantly of workers and got its name from the Peoples Charter published in 1838 at a meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. The movement formulated a number of political and social demands: general secret ballot, voter registration reform, higher wages and improved working conditions. After extensive demonstrations and strikes, Chartism lost its power, but a number of MPs nevertheless brought most of the demands further up to the parliamentary level.
Robert Owen (1771-1858) is usually regarded as the founder of English socialism and cooperativism. He argued that the supremacy of individual interests necessarily leads to the poorer majority. From 1830 he devoted his life to the spread of cooperativism and to the professional organization of the working class.
During the long reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), the nobility strengthened its alliance with industrial and commercial citizenship, and during the same period the first socialist movements emerged. The unions were legalized in 1871 and a short time later new labor laws were passed.
After 1873, the overpopulation led to food scarcity and the state was forced to import food. In the same period, the industry began to feel competition from the United States and Germany. Britain responded by reinforcing its colonial expansion in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Not only for economic reasons, but also based on a political ambition to create a great empire. The Boer War (1899-1902) over control of South Africa was exemplary in this regard. It became the most expensive local war of the 19th century.
The first quarter of the 20th century was marked by women’s struggle for emancipation. The Sufragette movement used radical means and a number of its actions became legendary, such as when Emile Davison in 1913 threw himself in front of the King’s horse. The movement’s activities were crowned in 1917, when women were given the right to vote.
According to COUNTRYAAH, the population of United Kingdom in 2000 was 58,923,198, ranking number 21 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.340% yearly, and the population density was 243.5552 people per km2.