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Should there be a House of Lords?
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Clearly, in such a populated country such as Great Britain, a Second Chamber of Parliament also known as the House of Lords is necessary. Although the House of Lords cannot execute much power, compared to the House of Commons, it is a vital part of British Government. The House of Lords plays an important part in revising, potentially delaying legislation and as well as keeping a check on Government by scrutinising its activities. It complements the work of the Commons, whose members are elected to represent their constituents. Members of the Lords are not elected and are unpaid. Most peers...
very well and it would not make sense to remove its presence from Government. The House of Lords works to revise legislation ensuring it is coherent. It also works by keeping a check on Government by scrutinising its activities. Many people do not realise that the House of Lords is influential in Government. For example, it can delay legislation for a maximum of one year. It is also made up of many committees that make sure that Government is working efficiently. Although there are some problems with the House of Lords including being undemocratic, overall it works very well.
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Prayer before a game, "under God"...Prayer before a game, "under God" as a part of the pledge, the Ten Commandments on school walls: are all of these really an endorsement of religion or are they merely a nation's heritage; traditions passed down year after year? This point could and probably will be argued forever. But there is one thing that must be settled once and for all. If rights are to be removed from moral, conservative students in the public school system, then the precedent set by the removal of these rights must extend all the way across the board, even into government offices. If any one person's rights are to be revoked, the revocation must be consistent, from public school student, all the way up to President of the United States. When one item is declared unconstitutional by the government, and the same item in another instance is not, our government is proving its lack of true leadership, not only to Americans but also the rest of the world. The Constitution of the United States has been compromised. It has been twisted and taken out of context many times to promote the liberal, social agenda. The dictionary definition for the word constitution says it all: the composition or make-up of anything, as of the human body or the state; the system of fundamental laws of a nation or society New Concise Webster's Dictionary, 1988. The constitution of a country cannot be altered any more than that of the human body. Twisting words; pulling them out of context, is like pulling out the stomach and inserting it into the brain cavity. It doesn't work. When a constitution is altered, the body loses its identity. It is no longer what it was. Although on the outside it may seem to be a beautiful creation, it no longer has the strength and fortitude it had before it was cut and pieced back together. American history is full of official references to "the value and invocation of Divine guidance in deliberations and pronouncements of [both] the Founding Fathers and contemporary leaders . . ." Lynch v. Donnelly, 1999. American heritage and modern life alike are wrought with often times unrecognized religious symbols, sayings and celebrations. National holidays: Easter - Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. Thanksgiving "“ The fourth Thursday of November, observed as a legal holiday in the United States to commemorate the feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by the Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people and marked by the giving of thanks to God for harvest and health The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. Christmas "“ A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. Each one of these holidays, has been proclaimed a national holiday and is most definitely an endorsement of religion. Yet, the same Americans who are fighting to remove students' religious rights on the grounds of its unconstitutionality revel in their time-and-a-half for holidays worked or paid holiday vacations. In a 1980 case Stone vs. Graham, 1999, the Supreme Court prohibited the posting of the Ten Commandments on public school walls. Reasoning for this judgment was that: since public schools are funded by government moneys, it would be unconstitutional to publicly display anything religious in nature. Unconstitutional: [against] the composition or make-up of anything, as of the human body or the state; [against] the system of fundamental laws of a nation or society New Concise Webster's Dictionary, 1988. The fundamental laws of our nation began with the Constitution of the United States. There is no reference to separation of church and state in the Constitution. The Establishment Clause, if read in context, is written for the purpose of preventing Congress from establishing a national religion. Not to remove God from public view. Our Constitution states that we are "endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights". Yet these rights are one-by-one being revoked, pushing America back in time into the same tyranny that our forefathers ran from, leaving their homes to come to America to establish a new, free country. In 2003, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, was mandated to remove his sculpture of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson Cabell, Mattingly & King, 2003. But will government deface the Supreme Courthouse Building to remove Moses; the first lawgiver; a figure from the Christian faith? What about art galleries funded by public revenues; don't they display paintings that are predominantly inspired by one religious faith? The National Gallery in Washington, maintained with Government support, . . . has long exhibited masterpieces with religious messages, notably the Last Supper, and paintings depicting the Birth of Christ, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection, among many others with explicit Christian themes and messages Lynch v. Donnelly, 1999. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stated her opinion about religious and government entanglement in Lynch v. Donnelly 1999. The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community. Government can run afoul of that prohibition in two principal ways. One is excessive entanglement with religious institutions . . . The second and more direct infringement is government endorsement or disapproval of religion. Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community. But after stating her stand on a definite separation of church and state, this same Justice allowed the local government to display a manger scene as part of the city's Christmas display on public property stating that, "Celebration of public holidays, which have cultural significance even if they also have religious aspects, is a legitimate secular purpose" Piereson, 2003. Engel vs. Vitale, 1962 "was the first in a series of cases in which the Court used the establishment clause to eliminate religious activities of all sorts, which had traditionally been a part of public ceremonies." Goldman, 1962. Before students' religious rights were removed when prayer was first outlawed in school by means of government compromise, we did not have the crime problem that we have today. Since laws went into effect removing God from the classroom, the crime rate has increased to a current double from 1960's crime Drews, 2002. The Gallup polls show that the majority of Americans do not agree with the court system's removal of religious rights Dobson, 2003. So how do they get away with it? What happened to democracy; majority rule? Dr. Dobson 2003 calls it oligarchy "“ government by a few. The few who are passing such liberal laws hold positions of power. Most of them are in "lifetime" positions and cannot be removed by a vote from the people. They take advantage of their status and rule using their power to make decisions as a pacifier to quiet the screaming of the liberal minority. Cases are won by a minority because the passive majority of Americans sit in silence, twiddling thumbs while the court system softens up the nation, stashing one case after another, quietly under the bed. This stash will ultimately become a massive arsenal, used to establish the grounds for complete removal of God from our nation. Darrell Scott 2000, father of the late Rachel Scott, read this poem in his speech before Congress after the atrocities occurred at Columbine High School. Your laws ignore our deepest needs, Your words are empty air, You've stripped away our heritage, You've outlawed simple prayer, Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die, You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question, "Why?" You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed, And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need! In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that schools teaching evolution were granted the right not to have to give equal time to Creationism The National Conference for Community and Justice, 2002. Evolution, as Creationism, is an unproven theory. Darwin's theory of evolution was created by a human being and is to this day unproven by science; yet the theory is given the status of "science" while the teaching of Creationism is called an endorsement of religion. Compromise - A committal to something derogatory or objectionable; a prejudicial concession; a surrender; as, a compromise of character or right Webster's, 1998. The slightest compromise from any government exposes a nation's Achilles' heel. In this day of war, our American government cannot afford compromise. Our government must make one of two choices. It can leave our schools alone allowing students the religious freedoms promised by the Constitution. Or it can completely remove God from any and all government funded institutions. In order for America to remain a truly free country, moral Americans must stand up and not passively take the judicial tyranny that is removing our rights one at a time. We must not allow ourselves as a nation to be softened to unconstitutional verdicts being handed out, catering to the minority with a liberal, social agenda. We must stand firm and not allow the judicial system to twist words, taking them out of context to suit their own ideas and lifestyles. We must not let them make a mockery of the Constitution. No compromise!   

Prayer before a game, "under God" as a part of the pledge, the Ten Commandments on school walls: are all of these really an endorsement of religion or are they merely a nation's heritage; traditions passed down year after year? This point could and probably will be argued forever. But...

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This essay is concerned with the...This essay is concerned with the impact of institutions of the state on the policy process. Key influences in the Neo-Institutional approach to the study of policy have been the importation of ideas from organisational sociology and a growing recognition of the need to employ historical analysis to trace the evolution of policy over time. I intend, in this essay to examine Neo-Institutionalist theory, and discuss it's relevance with reference to the institutions of Parliament and the Cabinet. Two points though that should be noted are that institutions are seen as central to one of the main policy theories, and that they are seen as 'makers and shapers' of policy. Attempting though, to understand the relevance and impact institutions have on public policy without defining the terms 'public policy' and 'institutions' would be imprudent. Like so many concepts and ideas in politics, there are many competent definitions, but despite their variations they all agree on certain key aspects. They agree that polices result from decisions made by government and that decisions by governments to do nothing are just as much policy as are decisions to do something. William Jenkins' definition of public policy is as 'a set of interrelated decisions taken by a political actor or group of actors concerning the selection of goals and the means of achieving them within a specified situation where those decisions should, in principle, be within the power of those actors to achieve.' In this essay I will define institutions narrowly, like Howlett and Ramesh, as 'the structures and organisations of the state, society and the international system' With these definitions we can go on to consider the role of institutions in influencing the policy process. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of approaches to studying Public Policy. Howlett and Ramesh have created a two-dimensional framework, with one being a distinction between deductive and inductive approaches to the study of Public Policy, and the other asking whether the fundamental unit of analysis is the individual, the group, or the institution. Deductive theories begin from a relatively small number of basic postulates or assumptions accorded to universal status and then apply these assumptions to the study of specific phenomena. Inductive theories, on the other hand, begin with observations of specific phenomena and attempt to derive generalisations from these observations which can be combined into a more general theory. The Neo-Institutional approach to policy is one of three major deductive theories, the others being Public Choice and Class Theories. Essentially, the approach recognises the limits of individual and group-based theory to deal with political phenomena. Neo-Institutionalism is a relatively new term, coined by March and Olsen in the mid-1980's, used to distinguish the approach from traditional institutionalism, in legal-historical studies which merely described political institutions. Guy Peters states that old Institutionalism was deceptive, while Neo-Institutionalism is; "Characterised by an explicit concern with theory development"¦ [It] seeks to explain [institutions]"¦ as a 'dependent variable', and more importantly, to explain other phenomena with institutions as the 'independent variables' shaping policy and administrative behaviour"¦ Further, contemporary institutional analysis looks at actual behaviour rather than only as the formal, structural aspects of institutions." March and Olsen explain their view of the importance of the institutional approach as follows: "Political democracy depends not only on economic and social conditions but also on the design of the political institutions. The bureaucratic agency, the legislative committee, and the appellate court are arenas for contending social forces, but they are also collections of standard operating procedures and structures that define and defend interests. They are political actors in their own right." It grew out of expressed concerns about the ability of existing deductive theories Public Choice, Class Theories et cetera to deal with the question of why political, economic, and social institutions like governments, firms or churches existed at all. According to March and Olsen, Neo-Institutionalism emphasises the autonomy of political institutions from the society in which they exist; the organisation of governmental institutions and its effects on what the state does; the rules, norms and symbols governing political behaviour; and the unique patterns of historical development. The Neo-Institutionalist approach, also referred to as the New Economics of Organisation applied to markets, asks why we have firms instead of input suppliers simply contracting with one another on an individual basis, when would we see out-sourcing as opposed to in-house production of inputs, why are commercial contracts structured the way they are, and so on. In the political realm, in the perspective, institutions are significant because they constitute and legitimise political actors and provide them with consistent behaviourally rules, conceptions of reality, standards of assessment, affective ties, and endowments, and thereby with a capacity for purposeful action. While acknowledging the role of individuals and groups in the policy process, preferences and capacities are usually understood in the context of the society in which the state is embedded. It is not opposed to the public choice idea of self-interested individuals. But it asks how that self-interest leads to cooperation in institutional design. It places great emphasis on the transaction in economic and political life "“ whether a commercial contract, an informal economic arrangement, vote-trading by politicians "“ and the costs in arranging, monitoring, and enforcing these transactions. Applied to government, it tries to explain the structure of constitutions, law, international treaties, and the structure of bureaucracy. The Policy making process is one which usually involves elected politicians appointed civil servants and the representatives of pressure groups who are able to get in on the action. The purer forms of rational decision making theory seem to want civil servants to be dominant. The incrementalist critique attacks this perspective, which excludes democratically elected officials, as unrealistic and not necessarily productive of better decisions. Howlett and Ramesh believe that both actors individuals, groups, classes and states and institutions play a crucial role on the policy process, even though one may be more important than the other in specific instances. "Actors participating in the policy process no doubt have their own interests, but the manner in which they interpret and pursue their interests, and the outcomes of their efforts, are shaped by institutional factors" The United Kingdom's Parliament is one institution, like those I have been discussing in this essay. It is clear that the Parliament has fairly limited policy powers, rarely proposing policies, but as a body and institution it's primary objective is to scrutinise policies and act as a check on government powers. Policy issues are debated in the House of Commons and House of Lords, and create an arena in which strengths and weaknesses of government policies can be highlighted and brought to the attention of first the media, then through them directly to the citizens. Following debate on policy governments may have to issue a White Paper on a particular issue presenting the policy which they would like to pursue, which again, needs to be approved and passed by the Parliament. The Cabinet in the United Kingdom is another example of an institution, which affects policy. Although comprising of individuals, allocated different departments with perhaps differing interests, the principle of collective responsibility ensures decisions reached by the Cabinet are official, and that Cabinet members are duly bound to defend those decisions. The principle of collective responsibility is evident, as the institution as a whole, comprising each Cabinet member is responsible for all policy matters. Cabinet Ministers are well briefed in all fields, not just the specific areas of government with which they may be concerned, and are aware that a 'policy occasion' is anytime or place that a they or a member of their department mention any aspect of any government policy. The Cabinet is rarely a point of policy formation "“ this is normally done by the Civil Service, who propose a selection of options from which the Cabinet choose a preferred policy which they pursue. The Cabinet can then use the media attention to its benefit in an attempt to promote government policy. In this essay I feel I have successfully discussed the theory of Neo-Institutionalism, and the role of two UK institutions in the policy making, and shaping process. It is clear through the work of all the cited authors, that Institutions play a very important role in the policy process, and as I mentioned in the opening paragraph are seen as the 'makers and shapers' of policy. With reference to Neo-Institutional theory, it is clear to me, that like so much in Politics, there is no one superior theoretical construct, and that for all the benefits of Neo-Institutionalism, an analytical framework, like that created by Howlett and Ramesh and mentioned earlier, is needed which permits the consideration of the entire range of factors shaping public policy.   

This essay is concerned with the impact of institutions of the state on the policy process. Key influences in the Neo-Institutional approach to the study of policy have been the importation of ideas from organisational sociology and a growing recognition of the need to employ historical analysis to trace the...

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