United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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"England" redirects here. For pre-1707 history of England, see Kingdom of England (927–1707).

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Ruvaneth Unys Breten Veur hag Iwerdhon Gledh
Reeriaght Unnaneysit y Vretyn Vooar as Nerin Hwoaie
An Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainn Mhòr agus Eirinn a Tuath
Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Northren Ireland
Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon
Flag of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Flag
Coat of arms of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Coat of arms
Location of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Capital
and largest city
London
Dominant mode of productionImperialist Capitalism
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary bourgeois state
• Monarch
Charles Windsor
• Prime Minister
Rishi Sunak
LegislatureParliament
House of Lords
House of Commons
History
• Annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England
1536
• Annexation of Scotland by the Kingdom of England
1707
• Annexation of Ireland by Great Britain
1801
• Independence of Republic of Ireland from United Kingdom
1922
Area
• Total
242,495 km² (78th)
Population
• 2020 estimate
67,886,004
Labour
• Labour force
34,708,550[1]
• Labour force participation
78.1%[3]
• Occupation
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 15.2%
services: 83.5%[4]
• Unemployment rate
4.8%[2]
GDP (nominal)2021 estimate
• Total
$3.124 trillion[5]
• Per capita
$46,344[5]
Exports2019 estimate
• Value
$894.077 billion[6]
• Commodities
cars, gas turbines, gold, crude petroleum, packaged medicines[4]
• Partners
United States (15%),
Germany (10%),
China (7%)[4]
Imports2019 estimate
• Value
$924.69 billion[7]
• Commodities
gold, cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment[4]
• Partners
Germany (13%),
China (10%),
Netherlands (7%)
External debt$8.721 trillion[4] (2nd)
Gini (2018)33.5%
HDI (2019)0.932
CurrencyPound sterling (GBP)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+44
ISO 3166 codeGB
Internet TLD.uk

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, often shortened to the United Kingdom or UK, is an imperialist island country located in Europe. It comprises England, Scotland, and Wales as well as Northern Ireland which encompasses six occupied counties belonging to the Republic of Ireland. The UK was a founding member of NATO and SEATO. It has the fourth largest military budget in the world and the second most foreign military bases behind the United States of America. MI6, the British secret police, has connections to the NSA and Five Eyes.[8] The British Empire was a major colonial power and was responsible for over 160 million deaths in India alone.[9] Britain retains influence in its former empire using imperialist organisations such at the Commonwealth.[10]

History

Great Britain

Following the bourgeois revolution of 1688, the number of capital crimes rose from 50 to over 200, and most of the new additions were minor property crimes. Stealing a single shilling was punishable by death. The bourgeoisie also enclosed and privatized common lands held by the peasantry. Beginning in 1717, Britain began mass deportations of (usually poor) convicts to the colonies.[11]

In July 1745 Charles Stuart led the last Jacobite Rebellion in an attempt to restore the House of Stuart as the British Monarchs. Following defeat at the battle of Culloden, Charles fled back to France in June 1746 ending the rebellion.[12] Following the rebellion Henry Pelham's Whig Government started a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the highlander population, supressing their culture and forcibly removing them from their land.[13]

Slavery was banned within England in 1772 but continued to exist in its colonies. Free Africans fought for the British during the Statesian Revolution, but many were deported to Sierra Leone afterwards.[14]

England suspended habeas corpus for eight years starting in 1794.[15]

Great Britain and Ireland

The United Kingdom suspended habeas corpus again in 1817 and committed the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. Between 1800 and 1850, it deported 1,800 dissidents to Australia for political crimes, including Chartists, Jacobins, and Irish people.[15]

Motivated by a fear of the French Revolution, the Whig prime minister Charles Grey passed the Reform Act of 1832, which expanded suffrage from 400,000 to 650,000. It prevented landlords from appointing rural representatives but did not reach the universal male suffrage demanded by the Chartists. Around the same time, the UK repealed the Corn Laws, which had imposed tariffs and set high prices for wheat. The Poor Law of 1834 worsened conditions in workhouses and abolished outside relief for the poor.[16]

During the late 19th century, Benjamin Disraeli, despite his pro-slavery views, expanded voting rights to sections of the working class.[17] His 1867 Reform Act allowed non-Anglicans (including Catholics, Jews, and some Protestants) to vote.[18]

Britain participated in the First World War on the side of the Entente, fearing that German domination of Europe would threaten the security of the British Empire. Following German defeat, Britain took control of several colonies previously belonging to the Central powers. In Africa, Britain secured Namibia, and Tanzania from Germany whilst in the Middle East, the British received Palestine, Jordan and Iraq from the Ottoman Empire.[19]

Great Britain and Northern Ireland

In 1939, the British made a secret agreement with Nazi Germany to stay out Germany's spheres of influence in Eastern Europe and avoid an alliance with the Soviet Union in exchange for Germany not attacking the British Empire.[20]

Following the loss of its colonial empire, the UK was in a severe economic crisis by the early 1970s. Dockworkers and miners organized large strikes in 1972 and 1974. The Labour government of James Callaghan applied for an IMF loan in 1976 and imposed austerity on the working people.[21]

Margaret Thatcher blamed unions for the crisis and took power in 1979. She introduced mass privatisation and strengthened monopolies while increasing imperialist aggression against Ireland. Under Thatcher's rule, unemployment, crime, and poverty increased. Both the Conservative and Labour parties opposed the 1984–85 miners' strike.[21]

When Tony Blair came to power in 1997, he continued many of Thatcher's policies while creating social democratic reforms to weaken the revolutionary movement.[21]

Colonialism

See main article: British Imperialism

The British Empire colonized parts of North America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania and controlled nearly 25% of the world's land area at its peak.[22]

Politics

The UK is a Bourgeois democracy organised as a constitutional monarchy and a unitary parliamentary democracy. The Parliament is made up of three central elements; the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Crown. The UK is made up of 650 constituencies, the residents of which vote in one MP, in a first past the post electoral system, to represent them in the House of Commons, the house responsible for creating legislature, and the party with the most MPs forms the government.[23] The House of Lords and the Monarch are both unelected, the formers job is to scrutinise legislature and return it to the commons for amendments whilst the latter performs ceremonial tasks, and wastes public money.[24]

General elections for the House of Commons take place at most every five years but may be called earlier should the sitting government decides to call for one. Until the late 19th century, the landowning aristocracy completely controlled the House of Commons. In seven general elections from 1760 to 1800, less than 10% of rural seats were contested.[18] From 1716 to 1911, Parliament members were elected every seven years.[25]

It was only in 2015 that a law was put in place which allowed constituents to recall their representative but this can only be activated should the MP have broken a law or rule and been suspended from parliament. Following the conditions being met, a minimum of 10% of their constituents must sign a recall petition within six weeks. If the recall petition is successful then a bi-election is called for their seat, the recalled MP may stand in this election if they wish to. There is no course of recall for an MP that governs against the wishes of their constituents, MPs are effectively unaccountable until the following general election.[26]

Devolved governments

Country Population Total Area Capital Parliament First Minister
England 56,489,800 (2021) 130,279 km2 (50,301 sq mi) London none none
Scotland 5,436,600 (2022) 77,933 km2 (30,090.1 sq mi) Edinburgh Scottish Parliament Humza Yousaf
Wales 3,267,501 (2022) 20,779 km2 (8,022.82 sq mi) Cardiff Senedd Mark Drakeford
Northern Ireland 1,903,100 (2021) 14,130 km2 (5,455.62 sq mi) Belfast Northern Ireland Assembly vacant

Scotland

Scotland is split up into 32 counties, and 59 constituencies, most of these constituencies are held by MPs for the Scottish Nationalist Party[27] who also control most seats in the Scottish parliament. The Scottish Government and Parliament were established in 1999 with its powers and duties set out in UK parliament legislation, this made Scotland the largest region of the UK to have its own parliament. There are 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), for each person in Scotland they are represented by one constituency MSP and 7 regional MSPs each elected by a bourgeois system of proportional representation called the Additional Member System.[28]

Active Political Parties

Conservative and Unionist Party

The Conservative party is a right-wing to far-right neoliberal party currently lead by Rishi Sunak, it is the current ruling party of the United Kingdom.

Labour Party

Labour is a bourgeois social-democratic party that is a de facto neoliberal party currently lead by Keir Starmer.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are a liberal party currently lead by Ed Davey.

Scottish Nationalist Party

The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) is a nationalist social-democratic party that advocates for an independent Scotland. The party is currently lead by Humza Yousaf.

Communist party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) (CPGB-ML) is the largest Marxist-Leninist political party in the UK. CPGB-ML holds reactionary ideas regarding LGBT rights dismissing them as identity politics.[29]

Communist Party of Britain

The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) is a revisionist communist party currently lead by Robert Griffiths.

Dependencies

Locations of British Overseas Territories

British overseas territories are the remnants of the British Empire which the British Imperialists are yet to relinquish control of. These territories are: Anguilla; Bermuda; the British Indian Ocean Territory; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; the Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; the Turks and Caicos Islands; the Pitcairn Islands; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.[30]

The British also occupy two military bases on the island of Cyprus, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, that remained under British control when Cyprus declared independence in 1960. The British refuses to return these bases to Cypriot sovereignty because they have use for them as outposts of imperialism in western Asia.[30]

The British also claim a section of the uninhabited continent of Antarctica known as the British Antarctic Territory. The territory is administered from London, and scientists conduct experiments at various bases such as Rothera, Halley VI, and Signy Research Stations.[30]

Military

The UK has 145 military bases in 42 countries and territories, including five countries encircling China. The 15 British bases in Saudi Arabia are contributing the Saudi invasion of Yemen. In 2021, the British government published a document saying it would expand its nuclear arsenal from 200 to 260 weapons, which is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[8]

See also

References

  1. World Bank (2020). Labour force total – United Kingdom.
  2. Trading economics (2021). United Kingdom unemployment rate
  3. World Bank (2019). Labor force participation rate, total (% of total population ages 15-64) (modeled ILO estimate) - United Kingdom
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 CIA World Factbook (2020). United Kingdom – The world factbook (economy)
  5. 5.0 5.1 International Monetary Fund (2021). World Economic Outlook database: April 2021
  6. World Bank (2019). Exports of goods and services (current US$) - United Kingdom
  7. World Bank (2019). Imports of goods and services (current US$) - United Kingdom
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kenny Coyle (2022-09-28). "British Imperialism – A Threat to World Peace" Australian Marxist Review. Retrieved 2022-11-27.
  9. Ben Norton (2022-12-12). "British empire killed 165 million Indians in 40 years: How colonialism inspired fascism" Multipolarista. Retrieved 2022-12-16.
  10. Sara Flounders (2022-09-13). "How royalty reinforces imperialism through Commonwealth of Nations" Workers World.
  11. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'White Servants' (pp. 77–79). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  12. "Jacobite timeline of key events" (2024). The National Archives.
  13. "Scotland Back in the Day: How the brutal atrocities of the Highland Clearances changed Scotland forever" (2016-07-19). The National.
  14. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Liberalism and Racial Slavery: A Unique Twin Birth' (pp. 48–52). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  15. 15.0 15.1 Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Crisis of the English and American Models' (p. 175). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  16. "Charles Dickens, champion of the poor" (2012-06-01). Proletarian. Archived from the original on 2023-02-05.
  17. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Liberalism and Racial Slavery: A Unique Twin Birth' (p. 63). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  18. 18.0 18.1 Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Were Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century England and America Liberal?' (pp. 117–120). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  19. "1914-2014: Imperialism means war" (2023-07). Lalkar. Archived from the original on 2023-08-07.
  20. Ludo Martens (1996). Another View of Stalin: 'Stalin and the anti-fascist war' (p. 187). [PDF] Editions EPO. ISBN 9782872620814
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Nikos Mottas (2023-04-15). "Margaret Thatcher: Symbol of Capitalist Barbarism" In Defense of Communism. Archived from the original on 2023-04-15. Retrieved 2023-04-16.
  22. Larry Holzwarth (2018-03-17). "10 Atrocities Committed by the British Empire that They Would Like to Erase from History Books" History Collection. Archived from the original on 2021-06-16. Retrieved 2022-05-21.
  23. "General Elections" (2023). UK Parliament. Retrieved 2023-11-29.
  24. "The two-House system" (2023). UK Parliament. Retrieved 2023-11-29.
  25. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Crisis of the English and American Models' (p. 136). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  26. "Recall elections" (2023). UK Parliament. Retrieved 2023-11-29.
  27. "2019 General election results Scotland" (2023). UK Parliament. Retrieved 2023-12-07.
  28. "What's the difference between the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government?" (2023). Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 2023-12-07.
  29. "Why gay rights is not a class issue" (2019-04-20). Proletarian. Retrieved 2023-11-22.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "United Kingdom Overseas Territories – Toponymic Information" (2020). GOV.UK.