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Arkistoitu opetusohjelma 2015–2016
Selaat vanhentunutta opetusohjelmaa. Voimassa olevan opetusohjelman löydät täältä.
POLVOA32/S27 Whatever Happened to the 'Westminster Model'? The 'Continentalisation' of British Politics 5–10 ECTS
Period I Period II Period III Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Intermediate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Politiikan tutkimuksen tutkinto-ohjelma
School of Management

Learning outcomes

1) Students will achieve a basic familiarity with the changing dynamics of British politics
2) They will be able critically to assess the case for an ‘end of British exceptionalism’
3) Course participants will begin to be able to compare and contrast the new trends in British politics with developments in continental Europe.

General description


It all used to be so neat and tidy – either a single-party, majority Conservative government or a single-party, majority Labour government. That was the classical two-party Westminster model. Then in 2011 the election produced a ‘hung parliament’ and a continental-style coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Two referenda – on a new electoral system and Scottish Independence – and then, in May 2015, against all the opinion polls predictions, a return to a very narrow single-party Conservative government. Moreover, Cameron has promised an ‘in-out’ referendum on British membership of the European Union in 2017. What’s going on in British politics? In Scotland in May 2015 the Scottish National Party won 56 out of the 59 Westminster seats ‘north of the border’ with 50% of the vote; in England the populist, anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party attracted 14.2% of the electorate and the Greens got 4.2%. Despite the return to single-party government, British politics displays more ‘continental features’ than ever before. The course will begin with the May 2015 British general election and consider the extraordinarily changing nature of contemporary British politics.

The main themes will include:

  •  The Westminster model – changed for ever?
  •  The use of continental-style referenda
  •  The role of the House of Commons and the devolved assemblies (Scotland and Wales)
  • The rise of significant ‘third parties’ (SNP, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, Greens)
  • Changing patterns of voting behaviour

Lecture Programme

October 20  The 2015 British General Election: ‘The End of British Politics’?

October 22  The ‘Continentalisation’ of British Politics: An Analytical Framework

October 27  The British Parliament: A Toothless Tiger?

October 29  Towards a Federal Britain or the Break-Up of Britain?

November 3  Where will the ‘Neverendum’ End? Scotland Towards Independence?

November 5  In/Out, Shake It All About: Party Politics and the 2017 EU Referendum

November 10 Must Labour Lose?

November 12 Plus ça change…..

Enrolment for University Studies

Email registration by 12 October essential


David Arter, Teacher responsible


20-Oct-2015 – 12-Nov-2015
Lectures 16 hours
Tue 20-Oct-2015 - 10-Nov-2015 weekly at 10-12, Main building E222
Thu 22-Oct-2015 - 12-Nov-2015 weekly at 10-12, Main building E222


Numeric 1-5.

Evaluation criteria

The first requirement is lecture attendance. Absentees will not be eligible for credits.

Then there is a course essay which can be completed in English or Finnish:


Use the Lijphart majoritarian-consensus democracy framework to analyse the extent of political change in Britain over the last two decades.

Length: 5-8 double-spaced A4 pages

Deadline: Monday December 14. This gives you time to do some work!

In addition to lecture material, the following reading is recommended (in no particular order):

Cairney, P. & Widfeldt, A (2015) ‘Is Scotland a Westminster-style Majoritarian Democracy or a Scandinavian-style Consensual Democracy?’ Regional and Federal Studies 25, 1, 1-18

Flinders, M. (2005) ‘Majoritarian Democracy in Britain: New Labour and the Constitution’ West European Politics 28, 1, 61-93

Lijphart, A. (1999) Patterns of Democracy (New Haven & London: Yale University Press)

Schleiter, P. and Belu, V (2015) ‘The Decline of Majoritarianism in the UK and the Fixed-Term Parliament Act’ Parliamentary Affairs Published online April 1 2015

Jordan, G and Cairney, P (2013) “What is the ‘dominant model’ of British policy-making? Comparing majoritarian and policy community ideas” British Politics 8, 3, 232-259

Russell, M., Glover, D & Wollter, K. (2015) ‘Does the Executive Dominate the Westminster Legislative Process? : Six Reasons for Doubt’ Parliamentary Affairs Published online May 21, 2015

Wintour, P. & Watt, N ‘The story of an earthquake’ The Guardian 25.9.2015

Garland, J. & Terry, C. The 2015 General Election: A Voting System in Crisis (Electoral Reform Society) www.electoral-reform.org.uk

Please leave essays in