Reveal the specific features of Political Institutions in Great Britain.
The United Kingdom is a parliamentary monarchy. The country has no Constitution, but a set of laws. The head of the country is the Queen. The official residence of Queen Elizabeth the II is Buckingham Palace. The Royal Standard flying over the Buckingham Palace is the sign that the Queen is in the residence; the absence of the Royal Standard means that the Queen is absent. Every year 6 million pounds is spent for keeping on monarchy. Everything in the country officially is done in the name of the Queen. The Queen's image appears on stamps, notes and coins. British Parliament sits in the Palace of Westminster in the centre of London. There are two towers in the Palace of Westminster: the Victoria Tower and The Clock Tower (called Big Ben). The British Flag (called the Union Jack) flying from the Victoria Tower shows that Parliament is in session. The light in the Clock Tower also indicates that Parliament is in session. The Queen's power is limited by Parliament, which consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Queen enters the Palace of Westminster only on the day of the opening of Parliament at the beginning of a session. She makes her speech from the Throne in the House of Lords. The members of the House of Commons are elected by the population for a period of five years. There are 651 members of the House of Commons, most of them are professional politicians, lawyer*;. The members of the House of Commons belong to different political parties. The Speaker is the chairman of all the debates in the House of Commons. His duty is to keep order. He sits on a beautiful chair, a gift from Australia and Canada to Mother Country. The Speaker is elected by the Members of the House of Commons. He never votes with other members. The government of the country is formed by the party which has the majority of members elected to Parliament. The Queen appoints its leader the Prime Minister. As the head of the Government the Prime Minister appoints about 100 ministers, of whom about 20 are in the Cabinet. The British Government is in the Whitehall. The Prime Minister of the country is responsible for the policy conducted by Parliament. As for the House of Lords many people consider this system undemocratic because the number of Lords is 1000-1200 but they are not elected by the population. The House of Lords consists of princes, marquises, viscounts, barons, peers, Bishops of the Church. The chairman of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor; he sits on the wool sack, a large bag of wool, covered with a red cloth. This shows that wool made England rich. The House of Lords has no real power but acts rather as advisory council for the House of Commons. The session in Parliament begins at the end of October and lasts for about 160 days. There are three main political parties in the United Kingdom: the Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal parties. One of the oldest flags in the world is the British one. Its crosses stand for the patron saints of England (St. George's flag which has a red cross with extended horizontals on a white field), Scotland (St. Andrew's flag which has a white cross on a blue field), and Ireland (St. Patrick's flag which has a red cross on a white field).The arms of the crosses do not meet at the centre. Some historians say that the British flag got the name of Union Jack from James 1 under whom Scotland and England were united in the 17th century. The national anthem of the country is “God Save the Queen”.