Text A. The State System of Great Britain 

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Text A. The State System of Great Britain

1.Read and translate the text using the dictionary.

Great Britain is a parliamentary monarchy.

The bodies of British Government are the legislative, executive, judiciary.

At the head of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the King or, as at present, the Queen. But her power is not absolute. It is said that the Queen (King) reigns but doesn’t rule. She acts only on the advice of the ministers and Parliament. As head of the state the Queen reads the speech from the throne with which a new Parliamentary session is opened.

The legislature consists of the King or Queen and the two Houses of Parliament: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The House of Lords consists of 1000 peers (among there are the Lords ‘Spiritual and Temporal’) who are not elected by people. The Lords Spiritual are the two archbishops (Canterbury and York) and 24 bishops of the Church of England. The Lord Temporal included peers by hereditary right. But from October 1999 the right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords was abolished. During most sessions the House of Lords sits on about 140 days. The work of the House of Lords includes examining and revising bills from the House of Commons and discussing important matters which the Commons cannot find time to debate. The Speaker of the House of Lords who is usually a member of the Cabinet is the Lord Chancellor. The special seat on which the Lord Chancellor sits in the British Parliament is called the woolsack. The House of Lords has an important legal function in addition to its parliamentary work. It is the final court of appeal for civil cases in the whole of Britain, and for criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The House of Commons is an executive branch of the power and a nation-wide representative body. It is elected by a universal adult suffrage at a general election, within 5 years of the last election (now there are 659 elected members). Members of Parliament (MPs) are granted a salary for their parliamentary work. The extreme duration of the House of Commons is fixed at 5 years. The average number of sitting days in the House of Commons is about 175 days. Parliament deals with imposition of taxes, granting supplies, all matters concerning elections and other important questions.

Parliament in Great Britain has existed since 1265 and is the eldest Parliament in the world. The British parliamentary system depends on political parties. The party which wins the majority of seats forms the Government and its leader usually becomes Prime Minister. The Prime Minister chooses about 20 MPs from his or her party to become the Cabinet of Ministers. Each minister is responsible for a particular area of the government. The Prime Minister informs the Queen of the general business of the Government, presides over the Cabinet. Cabinet is the real instrument of the Government. It runs the national affairs, control important government decisions, though the Prime Minister’s decision is final.

The second largest party becomes the official opposition with its own leader and ‘Shadow Cabinet’. Leader of the Opposition is a recognized post in the House of Commons. The official title of the Opposition is Her or His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

There is no written constitution in Great Britain. The main principles of British legislation are expressed in other documents, like “Magna Charta”, “Habeas Corpus Act”, “Bill of Rights”, the Parliamentary Act which decided the position of the House of Lords, and the Judicature Act. British legislation does not provide written guarantees of individual political rights.

The term ‘English Constitution’ means the leading principles, conventions, laws which are modified to suit the circumstances. A proposed law, a bill, has to go through three stages in order to become an Act of Parliament. These are called readings. The first reading is a formality and is simply the publication of the proposal. The second reading involves debate on the principles of the bill, its examination by a parliamentary committee, and the third reading - a report stage, when the work of the committee is reported on to the House. This is usually the most important stage in the process. If the majority of MPs still vote for the bill, it is sent to the House of Lords for discussion. When the Lords agree, the bill is taken to the Queen for royal assent. All bills must pass through both houses before being sent for signature by the Queen, when they become Acts of Parliament and the Law of the Land.

2.Make up the questions of different types on the text.

3.Compare the State System of Ukraine with that of Great Britain. Complete the table.

Ukraine Great Britain
Presidential republic parliamentary monarchy
…….. ………

Text B. Agriculture of Britain.

1.Read and translate.

Great Britain is an industrial country. But agriculture is also well-developed. It provides about 5 per cent of the gross national product. Four fifth of the land is devoted to agriculture. About one million people work on farms. Britain produces nearly two-thirds of its total food requirements. Britain is self-sufficient in milk, eggs, to a very great extend in meat, potatoes, wheat. However, it needs to import butter, cheese, sugar and some other agricultural products.

The climate of Great Britain and soils are not very favourable for the development of agriculture. It is developing thanks to modern technology and scientific research. The most productive area is Lowland Britain, which has fertile soil. In this part of the country they have arable lands. Britain is famous for world’s best pedigree cattle and the highest yield of grain crops.

The cereals wheat takes the lead. It is cultivated on over 40 per cent of the total cropland. The crop is mainly concentrated in the eastern parts of the country. The potatoes crop is widespread all throughout the country. Sugar from home-grown sugar beet provides about 55 per cent of the requirements. In England and Wales the chief crops are wheat and barley. In Scotland the leading crop is oats. In Northern Ireland vast area is under oats, flax and potatoes.

Horticulture produces a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and flower crops. The land utilized for horticulture is about 251,000 hectares. Scotland is known for the largest concentration of raspberry plantation in the world. Strawberries are the most popular soft fruit in Britain. 60 per cent of full-time farms are devoted mainly to dairy or beef cattle and sheep. Pig production is carried in most areas but it is particularly important in eastern Yorkshire and southern England, north-east Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the later 1990s there were twelve million heads of cattle, about 8 million pigs and 38 million heads of sheep. Poultry industry is growing rapidly and is becoming more important.

Britain’s second major source of food is the surrounding sea (the fishing industry). Woodland covers an estimate 2 million hectares (about 9 per cent of the total land area of the country).

At present most farms in Britain are large, commercial farms. There is a number of traditional family farms, but they are not characteristics.

The level of agricultural productivity in Britain is high. Britain obtains about half of the food from its own soil.

2.Find the equivalents to the following Ukrainian words and word combinations. Translate the sentences with them.

Забезпечувати, валовий національний продукт, присвячувати(ся), самозабезпечений, сприятливий, завдяки, племінна худоба, широкорозповсюджений, широкий вибір, ягода, молочна худоба, отримувати.

3.Answer the questions.

1.What part of the gross national product does Britain agriculture provide?

2.How much land is devoted to agriculture?

3.Britain is self-sufficient in milk, eggs, meat, potatoes, isn’t it?

4.What are the chief crops in England (Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)?

5.What are the most popular fruit and vegetables?

6.What parts of Great Britain is pig production carried in ?

7.What is the second major source of food in Britain?

8.What farms are typical at present?

4.Translate the English proverbs; find the Ukrainian or Russian equivalents.

1. As you sow you shall mow.

2. Everything is good in its season.

3. Make hay while the sun shines.

4. Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs (Aesop).

5.Recall the names of grain crops, fruit, vegetables and livestock and fill in the table.

grain crops fruit vegetables livestock
wheat … strawberry … potato … cow …

6. Compare the agriculture of Britain with that of Ukraine.


1.Read, learn and act out.

Dialogue A

-What are you looking at?

-Don’t you see? This is the map of the British Isles. I am going to have my agricultural practice in Great Britain this summer. I try to find the town I shall work near by.

-Can I help you?

-Certainly. I am looking for Londonderry.

-Is it in England or in Scotland?

-I don’t know exactly. I have spent almost half an hour, but all my efforts are in vain. I’ve only wasted time.

-It may be in Wales or in Northern Ireland.

-Oh, look. It is in Northern Ireland. That’s a pity, it is so far away from Belfast.

Dialogue B.

Volodymyr Vasylenko, a Ukrainian teacher of English, has been staying in London for a few months. Next Saturday morning he is leaving for Edinburgh. Last Tuesday Volodymyr saw Bernard Law, a London University lecturer and asked his advice.

V.: Bernard, could you do me a favour?

B.: I’ll be glad to if I can.

V.: Next Saturday morning I’m going to Edinburgh by car. What would you advise me to see on my way there?

B.: Well, it’s going to be a long journey. When are you expected in Edinburgh?

V.: Next Monday afternoon.

B.: You should try to see Oxford though it’s a little out of the way. I suggest you should also spend at least a few hours in Coventry and see the Cathedral.

V.: Is Robert Burns’s birthplace far from Edinburgh?

B.: I’m sorry to say I’ve never been there. You see Burns isn’t as popular in England as in Scotland and abroad. I’m sure you’ll easily find it out in Edinburgh.

V.: I really appreciate your help. Thank you very much.

B.: It’s a pleasure.

Dialogue C.

Elections in Great Britain.

V.: All your papers are writing about the coming election. Do you think the party in power will win the election?

B.: They hope so.

V.: Can you give me some idea of how the election works?

B.: Well, the Queen has to agree to the dissolution of the present Parliament. After that the election date is fixed. Then comes the nomination of candidates for the House of Commons.

V.: How many members are there in the Commons?

B.: About six hundred and thirty.

V.: Then, I suppose, the party that gains the majority form a government.

B.: Yes, the leader of the majority party becomes Prime Minister and he forms the Cabinet.

V.: And the opposition leader forms the Shadow Cabinet, doesn’t he?

B.: Yes, this is the way parliamentary elections are held in this country.

V.: Who is entitled to vote in this country?

B.: Anyone who’s reached the age of eighteen with the exception of lunatics, and also peers, who already have seats in the House of Lords.

V.: Are there any election qualifications?

B.: There is a residence qualification.

2.Ask for your English friend’s advice about what you should see in Britain


Grammar:The Subjunctive Mood in Adverbial Clauses of Comparison (or Manner), in Object Clauses, in Predicative Clauses. Topic:London. The Sights of London Reading:Text A. A Day in London Text B. Things to See in London Talking Points


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