Contemporary British politics : an introduction


Contemporary British politics : an introduction

Bill Coxall and Lynton Robins

Macmillan Education, 1991

Reprinted with rev. postscript

  • : pbk
  • : hdc

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Includes bibliographical references and index



A text suitable for A level "British Government and Politics" syllabuses as well as AS level and BTEC (FE and public sector HE) courses and for first and second year undergraduate politics BA and BSc courses in polytechnics and universities. It combines coverage of political institutions and processes with assessment of concepts, ideologies and issues. Besides covering the traditional areas of study from the Prime Minister, cabinet, Civil Service and parliament to elections, parties and pressure groups it also deals with controversies such as economic management, the role of the unions, the future of the Welfare State, racial and sexual discrimination, devolution, European integration and the environment and national security. Each chapter has a brief introduction, summary listing key points and conclusions and ends with questions, assignments and a further reading guide. The book is illustrated with tables and boxed examples. Other features of the text are its opening and concluding sections. The first four chapters of Part 1 provide an introduction to the nature of politics, key political concepts and major ideologies as well as setting British politics and political culture in a comparative context. Part 4 examines the main theories concerning the distribution of power in British society and analyze the impact of the Thatcher government which has dominated British politics in the 1980s. Bill Coxall's previous publications include "Politics, Compromise and Conflict in Liberal Democracy" (1973) and "Parties and Pressure Groups" (1981). Lynton Robins is co-author of "People and Politics".


  • Part 1 Politics, society and the State: the nature of politics
  • the social context of politics
  • ideology and politics
  • the organization of the State. Part 2 Institutions and participation: the British constitution
  • Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • ministers, departments and civil servants
  • quasi-government
  • local government
  • parliament
  • political parties
  • voting behaviour and elections
  • pressure groups
  • the mass media
  • politics, police the courts and redress
  • national security and defence. Part 3 Issues and the policy process: government, the economy and public spending
  • education, health and housing
  • wealth and poverty
  • the unions, unemployment and industrial relations
  • ethnic minority politics
  • women, inequality and politics
  • politics and the environment
  • devolution, integration and the British sovereignty
  • doctrines of nuclear defence and the disarmers' protest. Part 4 British government and politics reconsidered - theories and tendencies: power in British society - pluralist and ruling class theories
  • the consequences of Thatcherism - end of consensus and the forging of a new consensus.

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