I. Read and translate the text.

The system of government

What is the Government?The Government is the management of the country. The Government makes the important decisions, e. g. about foreign policy, education, or health, but all these decisions have to be approved by Parliament. If Parliament thinks that a particular Government policy is against the public interest, then it can force the Government to change its mind.

State Organs of the United Kingdom include the monarchy, the legislative, executive and judicial organs of Government.

The monarchy is the most ancient institution in the United Kingdom, with a continuous history stretching back over a thousand years. The monarchy is hereditary. Queen Elizabeth , who succeeded to the throne in 1952, is the head of the judiciary, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Crown and the temporal head of the established Church in England. Her Majesty's Government governs in the name of the Queen who must act on the advice of her ministers.

Parliament is the legislative organ of the United Kingdom. What do we mean by Parliament? The Parliament of the United

Kingdom consists of the Queen (hereditary monarch), the House of Lords (almost 1300 unelected members or peers) and the House of Commons (659 elected Members of Parliament). All three combine to carry out the work of Parliament.

The House of Lords is still a hereditary body. It consists of the Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual. The House of Lords is presided over by the Lord Chancellor who is the chairman of the House.

The House of Commons is an elected and representative body. Members are paid a salary and an allowance. The Speaker of the House of Commons is elected by the members of the House immediately after each new Parliament is formed.

The Government consists of approximately 100 members of the political party which has the majority of seats in the House of Commons.

What does Parliament do? Making laws (legislations).

The Queen, Lords and Commons all have to agree to any new law which is passed.

Examining the work of Government.Both the Lords and the Commons examine the work of the Government on behalf of the public. They do this by asking the Government questions, by debate and through committees of inquiry.

Controlling finance. Only the House of Commons can give permission for the Government to collect taxes. The House of Commons decides what taxes shall be collected and how the money shall be spent.

Protecting the individual. Members of Parliament (Members of the House of Commons) protect the rights of the individual. Each Member of Parliament represents the people of a certain area. Britain is divided into 659 of these areas, known as constituencies.

Hearing appeals. The House of Lords is a Court of Justice, the highest Court of Appeal in Britain.

Executive. The Government consists of the ministers appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Prime minister is appointed directly by the Crown and is the leader of the political party which has a majority of seats in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister is the head of the Government; he is always a Member of the House of Commons. He consults and advises the Monarch on government business, supervises and coordinates the work of the various ministers and departments in the House of Commons. He also makes recommendations to the Monarch on many important public appointments.

The most senior members of the Government are known as the Cabinet. The Cabinet is the nucleus of the Government. All major decisions of the Government are made by the Cabinet, and therefore it is the Cabinet which forms Government policy.

Who chooses the Cabinet? Members of the Cabinet are chosen by the Prime Minister. The majority of the members of Mr Blair's Cabinet are drawn from the House of Commons. Nevertheless there are always a few members from the House of Lords. All the members of Mr Blair's Cabinet belong to the Labour Party. The Labour Party gained the right to form a Government by winning the general election in May 1997. Mr Blair, the leader of the Labour Party, became Prime Minister. He selected a team of Ministers to serve in his Government. A Cabinet must be large enough to include senior ministers. There is no limit on the size of the Cabinet but the number of salaried Secretaries of state is limited to 21. Cabinet meetings are usually held on a Thursday morning in the Cabinet room at 10 Downing Street.

What happens when there is a change in Government?

During the last 27 years there have been eight general elections. Four of these resulted in a change of Government.

1970 Conservatives took over from Labour.

1974 Labour took over from Conservatives.

1979 Conservatives took over from Labour.

1997 Labour took over from Conservatives.

On each of these occasions the ministers in each Department changed. Ministers of the winning party took over from those of the loosing party. The two main parties have very different ideas - for example, about education, housing and industry.

Departments and ministers are run by civil servants, who are permanent officials. Even if the Government changes after an election, the same civil servants are employed.

The United Kingdom has no Ministry of Justice. Responsibility for the administration of the judicial system in England and Wales is divided between the courts themselves, the Lord Chancellor, and the Home Secretary. The Lord Chancellor is responsible for the composition of the courts, civil law, parts of criminal procedure and law reform in general; the Home Secretary is responsible for the prevention of criminal offences, trial and treatment of offenders and for the prison service.

Word list

1. hereditary -

2. to succeed -

3. Lord Chancellor - - ( 볿, )

4. legislation -

5. to preside -

6. right -

7. constituency -

8. appeal -

9. the Labour Party -

10. general election -

11. civil servant -

12. court -

13. Home Secretary -

14. prevention -,

15. criminal offences -

16. trial - ,

17. treatment - ( )

18. offender -

19. prison -, '

20. Treasury -

21. Foreign office - ̳

22. Home office - ̳

23. spiritual -

24. bishop -

25. temporal - ( )

II. Fill in the blanks:

1. All the heads of ministries (departments) are included into....

2. The Cabinet is headed by the....

3. The Prime Minister chooses the....

4. Mr Blair is the... of the United Kingdom.

5. The majority of the members of Mr Blair's Cabinet are members of the....

6. Mr Blair's Cabinet belongs to the... Party.

7. The Cabinet meets at 10... Street.

8. During the last 27 years there have been eight general....

9. Ministers rely on... servants for advice and information.

10. The Parliament of the United Kingdom consists of the... (hereditary monarch), the House of... and the House of....

11. Only the House of Commons can give permission for the Government to collect....

12. Members of Parliament protect the... of the individual.

13. The House of... is a Court of Justice.

III. Read the following sentences and decide if they are true or false:

1. The Government is the body which decides the laws of the country and decides about the way the country should be governed.

2. The Government is the Ministers chosen from the Party (or parties) which has the largest number of MPs in the House of Commons after a general election.

3. The Prime Minister is the leader of the governing party.

4. The Queen chooses the Cabinet.

5. The Cabinet are the senior members of the Government chosen by the Prime Minister.

6. The House of Lords is the elected Chamber in Parliament.

7. The House of Commons is the unelected Chamber in Parliament.

8. Mr Blair's Cabinet belongs to the Conservative Party.

9. Britain is divided into 659 areas, called constituencies, and one MP is elected to represent each constituency.

10. The House of Lords is the highest Court of Appeal in Britain.

IV. Find words and expressions in the text which mean:

1. body of persons governing a State;

2. choosing or selection (of candidates for an office, etc.) by vote;

3. the inhabitants of an electoral district;

4. laws enacted by lawmaking body;

5. a person with the right to sit in the House of Lords;

6. a charge by the government on the income of an individual, corporation, or on the value of an estate or gift or property.


I. Read and translate the text

The crown

At the head of the United Kingdom is the King, or, as at present, the Queen. But her power is very symbolic. Everything is done in Queen's name. But her power is not absolute; it is limited in many various ways. It is said that the Queen reigns but does not rule. She personally does not decide what action the state shall take. The hereditary principle still operates and the Crown is passed on to the sovereign's eldest son (or daughter if there are no sons).

The Queen has a central role in state affairs, not only through her ceremonial functions, such as opening Parliament, but also because she meets the Prime Minister every week and receives copies of all Cabinet papers.

Functions of the Queen:

- opening and closing Parliament;

- approving the appointment of the Prime Minister;

- giving her Royal Assent to bills;

- giving honours such as peerages, knighthoods and medals;

- Head of the Commonwealth;

- Head of the Church of England;

- Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

II. Explain the meaning of the following words and expressions:

1. the head of the state;

2. to reign and to rule;

3. the hereditary principle;

4. the Crown;

5. to approve the appointment of smb.

III. Work in pairs.

IV. a) Imagine that you are a journalist from Ukraine asking a British student about his feelings for the British monarchy. Discuss the following points:

- functions of the Sovereign;

- powers of the Queen in Government;

- the hereditary principle in the UK.

V. b) Find four arguments for and against monarchy. In the discussion, use the following forms of agreement and disagreement:

- I quite agree with you.

- You are right.

- Certainly.

- That's right.

- I disagree with you.

- I am afraid you are mistaken.

- Nonsense.

- Nothing of the kind.

VI. Copy the following table into your notebooks. Write as many words and expressions as you can think of to complete it. There is not necessarily a 'correct' position for a particular word. The choice is personal.

Parliament Monarchy Government
House of Lords Queen Elizabeth II became queen in 1952 executive

I. Read the text about the USA to understand what information is of primary importance or new for you.


The United States of America popularly referred to as the United States or as America is a federal republic on the continent of North America, consisting of 50 states. New York City is the largest city in the United States. Washington, D.C, is the capital.

The supreme law of the land is the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution was drafted in 1787, was ratified by the required two-thirds of the states by June 1788, and was put into effect in 1789. The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were adopted in 1791. They provide for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, the right to petition the government, and various due process and criminal procedure rights for individuals. Seventeen additional amendments were adopted between 1795 and 1992, abolishing slavery, providing for an income tax, and providing for universal suffrage for all people 18 or older, among other purposes.

The Constitution provides for a union of states, each with its own constitution, republican form of government, and reserved powers, within a federal system. The national government is responsible for external affairs and has concurrent powers with states, commonwealths, and self-governing territories over domestic matters. The head of state is the President of the United States; and the seat of government is the District of Columbia, which has limited home rule and no voting representation in the national legislature.

The Constitution establishes three separate branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial.

Article II of the Constitution states that a president and vice president are chosen by a majority of voters in the Electoral College, for a fixed term of four years. The 22nd Amendment (1951) limits presidents to two terms in office. By state law, electors are chosen by a plurality of the popular vote in each state and in the District of Columbia. In almost all cases the winner of the popular vote is elected president.

The American President typically has a greater range of functions than prime ministers in parliamentary governments because the President serves as ceremonial chief of state as well as head of government. Unlike most presidents in other nations, the American President is also the head of his or her party, an important legislative leader, and the chief executive. The Constitution makes the President Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces.

The president's diplomatic powers include negotiation and ratification of treaties, with the consent of two-thirds of the Senate; the appointment of ambassadors to foreign nations, also with the consent of the Senate; and the reception of foreign ambassadors. The president negotiates, on his or her own authority, executive agreements with leaders of other nations.

An extensive advisory system serves the president. The President's cabinet also serves as a source of information and advice. It consists of the heads of the governmental departments and a few other officials, such as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN). The cabinet has no power of its own.

All legislative powers granted by the Constitution in Article I are exercised by the Congress of the United States. Congress consists of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate contains 100 senators, two representing each state a provision of the Constitution not subject to amendment. The 435 members of the House are elected by the different states on the basis of their population at the most recent U.S. census. Every two years all 435 members of the House are elected, and one-third of the senators.

Congress has extensive powers in domestic affairs, including the power to tax, borrow money and pay debts, coin money and regulate its value, and regulates commerce among the states. Congress helps to establish and oversees the departments and agencies of the executive branch; it also establishes the lower federal courts and determines their jurisdiction. Congress has the power to declare war, raise and maintain the armed forces, establish tariffs, and regulate commerce with foreign nations.

The legislative branch also includes agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office, the General Accounting Office, the Library of Congress, and the Government Printing Office.

The federal court system derives its powers from Article III of the Constitution. The system includes the Supreme Court of the United States, established by the Constitution; and 12 courts of appeal (sometimes called circuit courts), 91 district courts, and special courts, all established by Congress.

The federal courts perform two constitutional functions. First, they interpret the meaning of laws and administrative regulations. Second, the courts determine whether any law passed by Congress or state legislatures, or any administrative action taken by the national or state executive branches, violates the U.S. Constitution. Federal courts can declare null and void laws or actions, at the national and state levels, that violate the Constitution.

The nine justices of the Supreme Court and the other federal judges are nominated by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president, in making district court nominations, usually follows the recommendations of senators from the president's party. All federal judges and justices of the Supreme Court serve on good behaviour for life. They may be removed from office only through the process of impeachment, which has been used fewer than 20 times, and never successfully against a Supreme Court justice.

II. From the text select the information which was new for you or shocked you.

III. List some similarities and differences between the US system of government and that of your own country.

IV. Summarize everything you have learnt about the system of the US government (do it in written form).


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