In 1999, the United Kingdom had a population of around 59 million people. The economy of the UK was heavily reliant on services, particularly financial services and banking, as well as manufacturing and industry. Foreign relations in 1999 were generally positive, with the UK maintaining strong ties to its European partners and other countries in Commonwealth. Politically, the UK was governed by a Prime Minister who had been in power since 1997 and had created a parliamentary democracy. The country was fairly stable politically, although there were some issues such as devolution that needed to be addressed in order to improve the quality of life for all citizens across the United Kingdom. See ethnicityology for United Kingdom in the year of 2018.
UK. Liberal Democrat Paddy Ashdown announced in January that he plans to step down this summer from the post of leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. Ashdown was elected in 1988, when the party was named The Social and Liberal Democrats, and resigned after 11 successful years as party leader. He created a new Liberal Democratic profile and won many new voters even though the party is the third largest party in the UK, with little influence in the British bipartisan system. Visit Countryaah official website to get information about the capital city of United Kingdom. Paddy Ashdown was succeeded by 39-year-old Charles Kennedy.
- Also see Abbreviationfinder.org to see the acronym of GBR which stands for United Kingdom and other definitions of this 3-letter abbreviation.
In January, the counting of an 800-year-old institution also began. The Labor government presented a model for how the upper house, the House of Lords, should be modernized and announced the abolition of the British nobility’s ancient inheritance right to representation in the upper house. 92 inheritance lords may remain for a further time in an interim chamber, pending a commission to submit its proposal for a definitive reform of the House of Lords. The 24 bishops of the Church of England are allowed to remain in the upper house, as are the 12 lords.
A report on the police investigation into the murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence in London in April 1993 caused major headlines in February. The so-called Macpherson report, which is based on interviews with 88 witnesses, found that police investigators made serious mistakes during the murder investigation due to professional incompetence, institutionalized racism and poor leadership within the London police.
The Labor government decided that the investigator Sir William MacPherson’s 70 proposals for measures to eradicate racism in the police system should also be applied to the state administration, immigration authorities and the general public health service in the UK.
On February 23, Prime Minister Tony Blair presented a plan for how the British pound may eventually be replaced by the European currency. However, Blair argued that the new plan only meant a slightly higher pace in Britain’s approach to the EU, not a new European policy. A government decision on accession to the euro still requires approval in a referendum. The new plan, “The Changeover Plan”, describes the practical adjustment that must be made in order for the UK to be able to quickly join after a referendum.
Three new terrorist attacks put Britain on alert in April. Three large nail bombs first exploded in black Brixton, then on the Muslim street Brick Lane and finally in a gay pub in Soho’s entertainment district. Three people were killed and a total of more than 100 people were injured, several very seriously, before any suspects were arrested.
Two historic elections took place on May 5 in Scotland and Wales. Scots and Welshmen then elected members to the new local parliaments who began to work after the elections. The last Scottish Parliament was dissolved in 1707 when Scotland and England formed the Union. The last Parliament assembled in Wales was 1495. The Labor Party won great successes in the elections to the two newly formed parliaments, but failed to win a majority. Labor formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democratic Party in Scotland, but chose to form a minority government in Wales.
On the same day, the Conservative Party won success in the municipal elections and managed to win back many municipal constituencies. The European elections were also unexpectedly a great success for the Tory Party, which became the largest British party in the European Parliament.
A serious conflict broke out between the UK and France in the fall when the French refused to lift the import ban on British beef despite the EU’s declaration that the mad cow disease was eradicated from British farms. The conflict became increasingly bitter during the autumn and was not resolved by the end of the year.
The United Kingdom also clashed with the other EU countries in November when the Labor government refused to accept the EU’s decision to impose a 20% tax on capital income.
The 1969 Northern Ireland conflict is tapered
In 1969, the conflict in Northern Ireland intensified. The clashes between Catholics and Protestants cost several killed and wounded. The Catholic minority demanded equal political rights, redevelopment of its residential neighborhoods, the construction of new housing, schools and the introduction of a social system. The Northern Ireland local government’s response was to send armed police against the demonstrating Catholics. London now intervened directly and sent the military to Ulster to separate the warring parties. In 71, Northern Irish Prime Minister Brian Faulkner set up “preventive detention camps” where Catholics who were merely suspicious were sent. The protests against this measure ended up costing 25 killed. On January 30, 72, the Catholics conducted a peaceful demonstration against the camps and the repressive measures by the authorities. Yet the British soldiers opened fire, killed 13 and wounded hundreds more. The massacre that became known as Bloody Sunday was the start of armed resistance in the area. The Irish Republican Army (IRA, the Irish Republican Army) that had otherwise led a sleepy life was reactivated and immediately committed a series of revenge killings.
In March 73, a referendum was held in Northern Ireland to decide whether the area should continue to be part of the UK or whether it should be joined with Ireland. The vote was characterized by a very low voter turnout – below 60 – and among the Protestants the overwhelming majority voted to remain in the UK.
The 1970s were marked by ever deeper social and economic crisis, and the Conservative government led by Edward Heath was confronted by three extensive strikes in state-owned enterprises of central importance to the economy: the ports, coal mines and railways. The strikes forced 74 Heath to step down, and in the subsequent election Labor won. Two years earlier, by a referendum, the British people had voted to apply for membership in the Community. The country now embarked on a gradual integration into Europe and a search for new markets for the products of its weak industry.
In 1975, Parliament passed a new divorce law. The same year, the feminists had conducted a comprehensive and successful national campaign for abortion.
In 79, the Labor government, under James Callaghan, conducted referenda in Wales and Scotland on local autonomy, but it was both voted down. After a series of strikes and rising popular discontent, the Conservatives with Margaret Thatcher at the head of the May elections won the parliamentary election. The new government used drastic means to reduce inflation, to reduce the state’s role in the economy and to base its economic policy on monetarism.
In 81, a number of IRA political prisoners conducted seven hunger strikes as part of a campaign to be recognized as political prisoners, but the government refused to negotiate and allowed 12 hunger striking prisoners to die.
At the beginning of 82, dissatisfaction with Thatcher’s reactionary politics was widespread. In April, therefore, she took advantage of Argentina’s occupation of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands – Islas Malvinas – in the South Atlantic. She dispatched the Royal Navy with aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. After 45 days of war, the British had recaptured the islands, and Thatcher rushed to make choices to take advantage of its greater popularity.
In October 83, Britain withdrew its troops from Belice. The following year, in accordance with agreements of the First Opium War, the country signed an agreement with China on the return of Hong Kong to mainland China in December 97.
1984 Miners’ strike
Under the Thatcher governments, the trade union movement was very hard hit by her politics. This was partly due to the loss of members within traditional industries in liquidation and partly to Thatcher’s policy of combating the labor movement. In this context, the 1984-85 mining strike played a key role. After a one-year strike with violent clashes, the miners suffered a staggering defeat when the government decided to close the coal mines with a stroke of pen.
In 87, Thatcher was elected prime minister for the third time in a row. She continued her radical liberalization of the economy, privatization of state-owned enterprises, budget reforms and open war on the trade union movement. Foreign policy was her line of confrontation with the EC and alliances with the United States.
After several years of limited growth, the economic situation deteriorated in the middle of 89 again. At the same time, the government decided to introduce a new tax – poll tax – to be paid by anyone who is on the electoral rolls regardless of their income otherwise. The proposal triggered very extensive public protest demonstrations.
In February 90, Britain and Argentina resumed diplomatic relations, and their representatives met in Madrid to discuss the future of the Malvinas.