£ What does being a part of European Union presuppose? Why does Britain have such ambiguous feelings about the European Union?
£ Is Britain to any extent different from other members of the EU?
£ What is the role of the former Empire on the world’s arena now? What is its foreign policy?
Foreign policy dilemmasWhich of the following sentences do you think best illustrates the basic problems of British foreign policy?
Britain still cannot abandon a self-image of imperial greatness.
Britain has always been late in scaling down its foreign policy commitments in line with its real political and economic power.
Britain's fundamental problem is whether to back the European Union fully or to pursue a wider role as a junior partner of the United States.
£ Consider this statement in the Labour Party manifesto for the 1997 General Election:
With a new Labour government, Britain will be strong in defence; resolute in standing up for its own interests; an advocate of human rights and democracy the world over; a reliable and powerful ally in the international institutions of which we are a member; and will be a leader in Europe.
PROJECT WORK: The question of security
Britain is possibly the most secretive of all parliamentary democracies. The air of mystery surrounding the intelligence services fascinates the public, both in Britain and elsewhere. The success of Ian Fleming's hero James Bond, the novels of Len Deighton and also John Le Carre owes much to this fascination.
Two main intelligence organisations exist:
MI5, which deals with internal security and countering espionage, and
MI6, Britain's spy network abroad.
Speak about the security system in general, about the recent scandals, and about James Bond as a symbol of MI6. And try to answer the following questions: In what ways is Britain's preoccupation with secrecy bad for democracy? Do you think officials should legally be able to disclose secrets in the public interest? How does the British government's attitude to secrecy compare with that in our country?
2. The nation’s welfare:
£ How does the NHS (National Health Service) work?
GP (general practitioner) system
Who pays for medical treatment?
£ Social Services:
Charities: What are the most famous charity organizations in the UK? Whom do they help and how?
The Department of Social Security: Whom does it help and how?
Trade Unions: Whom do they help and how?
3. MONEY & SHOPPING:
£ What is the currency? Has it been changed? What’s the recent exchange rate?
PROJECT WORK: The metrical system of GB and the “LSD” system in currency before 1971 and its further change into decimal system
£ Napoleon Bonaparte once described Britain as 'a nation of shopkeepers', but since the 1960s the traditional corner shop has been slowly disappearing. The neighbourhood corner shop used to sell everything a housewife needed and the shopkeeper was an important person in the local community. The shop itself was a focus of community life, a place to chat as well as shop, in the days when Britons knew their local baker, local grocer and local butcher personally. So what happened to the corner shop?
Shopping patterns changed dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s and the customers changed too. This change has been called the 'High Street Revolution'
What kind of shops do British people prefer? What are the traditional shop working hours?
PROJECT WORK: MADE IN BRITAIN
Speak about he most famous trade marks and their history, about the most popular items exported form GB
SOURSES: 1. Britain (the country and its people: an introduction for learners of English), James O’Driscoll, Oxford University Press, chapters 12, 15, 18