Instructor 

Andrew Whitehead

Course Description 

This course examines three of the most pronounced - and to many observers, surprising - developments in British politics over the last few years:

  • Brexit, the decision to leave the European Union: why was the referendum held; why did 'leave' win when opinion polls pointed to a 'remain' victory; how is withdrawal being negotiated and conducted; and how does this reshape British politics?
  • The opposition Labour party's swing to the left: in Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party has the most left-wing leader in its history, who appeals particularly to the young.What's lies behind this left-wing neo-populism?
  • The rise of separatist parties: what underlies the growing support for the pro-independence Scottish National Party; is the United Kingdom likely to break up; will the country move to a federal structure, including devolution within England?

Political currents in Britain are fast moving and unpredictable, and the scope of this course will be revised as necessary to ensure that it remains fully topical.


Note: 'Contemporary British Politics' is designed to complement Professor Priscilla Southwell's 'Political Parties & Elections' course. Students are required to sign up for both of these classes, as part of GEO's 'Politics in London' 2018 summer program.

Students also have the option of seeking extra credits as PS 407 Research by pursuing an additional research project with either instructor, after the completion of these courses.