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Contact the Hope Valley Tourism Association on 01433 621372

(Underleigh house,

Off Edale Road, Hope, Derbyshire S30 2RF) for further details.


Exercise 1. Comment on the following:

The location of the Hope Valley line.

The activities to be done.

The advantages of travelling the green way.

Whether you would enjoy a place of this kind.

Exercise 2. Write a similar advertisement for some place in your region or country.


Exercise 3. Bring two pictures or postcards showing some English scenery. Describe what there is in the pictures, what feelings you have about the views.

Exercise 4. Describe (in writing) a sight or a view that once struck you as picturesque, beautiful or unusual.

Exercise 5. Discuss the following topics (use the map and some additional sources of information):

1) Physical background of Great Britain.

2) English scenery and climate.

3) Big cities of Great Britain.

4) Four parts of the country.


The Political System.

Read and translate.

Text A.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional (or parliamentary) monarchy without a written constitution. The country has a monarch (a king or a queen) as its Head of State. The monarch has very little power and can only reign with the support of parliament. Parliament consists of two chambers known as the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Parliament and the monarch have different roles in the government of the country, and they only meet together on symbolic occasions such as the coronation of a new monarch or the opening of Parliament. In reality, the House of Commons is the only one of the three which has true power. It is here that new bills are introduced and debated. If the majority of the members are in favour of a bill it goes to the House of Lords to be debated and finally to the monarch to be signed. Only then does it become law. Although a bill must be supported by all three bodies, the House of Lords only has limited powers, and the monarch has not refused to sign one since the modern political system began over 200 years ago.

“Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith” is the official Head of State and, for many people, a symbol of the unity of the nation. For a thousand years England (and later the whole of the United Kingdom) has been united under one sovereign. The hereditary principal still operates and the Crown is passed on to the sovereign’s eldest son (or daughter if there are no sons).

The Queen has a certain role in state affairs, not only through her ceremonial functions, such as opening Parliament, but also because she meets the Prime Minister every week and receives copies of all Cabinet papers. Functions of the Sovereign are as follows:

- opening and closing Parliament;

- approving of the appointment of the Prime Minister;

- giving her Royal Assent to bills;

- Head of the Commonwealth;

- Head of the Church of England;

- Commander-in-Chief of the armed Forces.

The House of Lords has more than 1, 000 members, although only about 250 take an active part in the work of the House. The chairman of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor, who sits on the Woolsack.

The House of Lords like the Monarch has now lost most of its powers and cannot influence the process of decision-making in Parliament. In practice, the powers of the House of Lords have been truncated to limited revising and delaying functions. Members of the House of Lords debate a bill after it has been passed by the House of Commons. Changes may be recommended, and agreement between the two Houses is reached by negotiation. The Lord’s main power consists of being able only to delay non-financial bills passed by the House of Commons for a period of a few months, but they can also introduce certain types of bills. One of the oldest functions of the House of Lords is judicial. It works as the highest and final Court of Appeal.

The two Houses of Parliament, the Lords and the Commons share the same building, the Palace of Westminster.

The House of Commons is made up of 650 elected members, known as Members of Parliament, or MPs. The Commons debating chamber, usually called “the House”, and has seats for only about 370 MPs. They are elected by popular vote and represent the counties and borough constituencies.

The House of Commons is presided over by the Speaker. A Speaker is customarily reappointed to his office in each new Parliament. As soon as a party member becomes a Speaker he must abandon party politics.

The life of Parliament is divided into periods called “sessions’. A session normally lasts for about a year, from late October of one year to about the same date of the next year. MPs have holidays of about four weeks over Christmas, two weeks each at Easter and Whitsun, and about eleven weeks – from early August to midOctober – in the summer.

The beginning of a new session, called “the State Opening of Parliament”, is a fine ceremonial occasion, beginning with the royal procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster.

The United Kingdom is divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies, each with an electorate of about 60, 000 voters. Each constituency is represented by one Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. The main political parties are usually represented at the elections and sometimes candidates representing minority parties stand. The winner is the candidate who gets more votes than any other single candidate.

The leader of the party with most votes becomes Prime Minister and forms a government, which can remain in power for up to five years. The second biggest party becomes the official Opposition. Its leader forms a “Shadow Cabinet”.

The Prime Minister chooses the date of the next General elections, but doesn’t have to wait until the end of five years. Voting takes place on Polling Day. The national result is known by the next morning at the latest.

As soon as it is clear that one party has a majority of seats in the House of Commons, its leader is formally invited by the Sovereign to form a government. The modern government is arranged in about fifteen departments each with a minister at its head. Normally, all the heads of the departments are members of the House of Commons, though sometimes one is in the House of Lords. They form the cabinet, which meets about once a week in Number 10 Downing Street, a rather ordinarylooking house, which also contains the Prime Minister’s personal office.



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