Sunday, December 30, 2007

Police anger at Commons march 'ban' | Politics | The Observer

Police anger at Commons march 'ban' | Politics | The Observer

The British police are planning a major protest to demand higher wages. This would be the biggest police protest since 1919, when the police went on strike.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

L2 civilisation britannique, régime dérogatoire

Si vous êtes en régime dérogatoire vos épreuves sont différentes de celles des autres étudiants. L'UE de civilisation britannique pour vous comporte trois épreuves.

1) Une épreuve écrite de trois heures - un commentaire de texte et une dissertation sur des thèmes "Britain in the Twentieth Century" (1900- 2007). Elle aura lieu le 22 janvier en amphi jaune de 14h à 17h.

2) Une épreuve orale. Vous présenterez un commentaire de texte à l'oral. Le texte sera choisi au hasard, lors de l'épreuve, d'une liste de dix textes extraits de la brochure de l'UE. Vous aurez quinze minutes pour préparer le commentaire sur place, et quinze minutes pour le présenter (bien évidemment vous aurez préparé chez vous les dix textes!) Vous pouvez vous servir de notes prises chez vous, mais vous ne devez pas simplement lire les notes.

Cette épreuve orale aura lieu le mercredi 23 janvier à partir de 14h (contrairement à l'affichage, où on lit que c'est le matin). Nous fixerons l'horaire de passage de chacun le 22 janvier, lors de l'épreuve écrite.

La liste des dix textes en question sera affichée le 11 janvier à la fac, mais je le mettrai auparavant sur ce blog (d'ici deux ou trois jours).

3) Pour le point TICE (nouvelles technologies), vous devez rendre un travail fait à la maison - une bibliographie annotée. Pour les instructions détaillées, envoyez-moi un mail dès que possible : john.mullen @ wanadoo.fr

L2 civi Rivers of Blood speech - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rivers of Blood speech - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The wikipedia article on the racist speech of Enoch Powell is 1968 is very good. Note in particular the popularity of Enoch Powell among wide sections of the population after his speech.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

If your passion is British history, this website will interest you. And you can sign up to get in your email a biography every day of some important person from British history. The biographies are of a very high standard.

Monday, December 24, 2007

YouTube - Flanders & Swann

YouTube - Flanders & Swann

As part of a short series of holiday entertainment, here is a youtube video of a classic duo - Flanders and Swan, from some thirty or forty years back.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

L2 Civilisation britannique - last year's contrôle final

To help you prepare, here is last year's Contrôle Final

Université Paris 12 Val-de- Marne , Faculté des Lettres, Département d’anglais
Partiel Civilisation britannique L2 janvier 2007 Etudiants en régime général uniquement

o Aucun document n’est autorisé

Section A : Write a text commentary on the following passage. Be sure to explain any references, and to show that you are familiar with events before and after the date of the document which help us to understand its importance. (10 points)

o Key elements of the 1980s trade union reforms to stay
There must be minimum standards for the individual at work, including a minimum wage, within a flexible labour market. We need a sensible balance in industrial relations law - rights and duties go together.
The key elements of the trade union legislation of the 1980s will stay - on ballots, picketing and industrial action. People should be free to join or not to join a union. Where they do decide to join, and where a majority of the relevant workforce vote in a ballot for the union to represent them, the union should be recognised. This promotes stable and orderly industrial relations. There will be full consultation on the most effective means of implementing this proposal.
Partnership at work

The best companies recognise their employees as partners in the enterprise. Employees whose conditions are good are more committed to their companies and are more productive. Many unions and employers are embracing partnership in place of conflict. Government should welcome this.

We are keen to encourage a variety of forms of partnership and enterprise, spreading ownership and encouraging more employees to become owners through Employee Share Ownership Plans and co-operatives. We support too the Social Chapter of the EU, but will deploy our influence in Europe to ensure that it develops so as to promote employability and competitiveness, not inflexibility.

A sensibly set national minimum wage
There should be a statutory level beneath which pay should not fall - with the minimum wage decided not on the basis of a rigid formula but according to the economic circumstances of the time and with the advice of an independent low pay commission, whose membership will include representatives of employers, including small business, and employees.

There are over one million fewer jobs in Britain than in 1990. One in five families has no one working. One million single mothers are trapped on benefits. There is a wider gap between rich and poor than for generations.
We are determined not to continue down the road of a permanent have-not class, unemployed and disaffected from society. Our long-term objective is high and stable levels of employment. This is the true meaning of a stakeholder economy - where everyone has a stake in society and owes responsibilities to it.
Extract from the Labour Party manifesto 1997.

Section B. Write a short essay on ONE of the following TWO subjects (10 points)

A) “British foreign policy since World War Two has been much the same under Labour or under the Conservatives.” Discuss with examples.

B) What have been the most important changes in the lives of young people in Britain over the last fifty years ? Give specific examples.

Administrative information for January

L2 Thème My L2 students in thème (RG) will have their contrôle final on Friday January 11th in the usual room (115) at 08h30. Régime dérogatoire students have theirs on Wednesday 23rd January in the afternoon (see posters for place).

L2 Civilisation
My L2 British civilization students (RG) will have their contrôle final on Friday 11th January in room 318 at 13h. (Contrary to some information which has been circulating). The Régimé dérogatoire students wil have theirs on the 22nd January in the afternoon.

RG students who have not been able to do their "exposé" in class must come to room 208 at 12h on Wednesday 23rd January.
Régime dérogatoire students have their oral exam on Wednesday 23rd January at 10h (Rendezvous room 208)

RG students must hand in their Research Paper on January 11th. Before you ask, you may not hand this work in in electronic form by email.

TICE The TICE mark for RG students will depend on the technical qualities of your research paper - in particular there will be no typing errors.
RD students (civi GB L2) should contact me immediately by mail to get information about the TICE work.

L1 Civilization GB
L1 Civilization students will have their contrôle final on Friday the 11th of January at 11h in room 318. Régime général students will have to check the noticeboards for the date of their exam.

You will remember that for all students, those who do not get through in January have the opportunity to take another exam at the second session in June.

L2 Libertés et devoirs syndicaux de Thatcher à Blair 

Libertés et devoirs syndicaux de Thatcher à Blair 

Cet article, en français, décrit et analyse les lois introduites par Thatcher et ensuite par Blair concernant l'activité syndicale.

The Queen ... on Youtube

Starkey dubs YouTube Queen an 'uneducated housewife' - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

Is the Queen becoming a modern monarch ?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

BBC - Radio - Podcasts - Grammar Challenge (Learn English)

BBC - Radio - Podcasts - Grammar Challenge (Learn English)

On the BBC website, these radio programmes could be useful revision. Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 17, 2007

L2 British Rail - Wikipedia

British Rail - Wikipedia

Just as in the 19th century the railway was the key to the Industrial Revolution, the railways in the Twentieth century have reflected political and social history. Nationalized, along with many other industries in the Keynesian wave of the post-war boom, the railways were privatized in Britain in the 1990s by the Conservative government. The Labour government has not wanted to renationalize them, and they have become a potent symbol of the privatization/nationalization debate. The wikipedia article on British Rail gives a useful introduction to the history of British Rail.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

L2 YouTube - Images from the 1984 Miners Strike UK

YouTube - Strike84 Images from the 1984 Miners Strike UK

The miners' strike of 1984 was perhaps the key moment for Margaret Thatcher's government. The strike lasted twelve months, and the strikers had tremendous difficulty finding money to buy food and pay rents. This youtube video shows some of the photos of the strike.

L2 Thatcher Speech to Conservative Party Conference (‘the lady’s not for turning’) [audio] | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Speech to Conservative Party Conference (‘the lady’s not for turning’) [audio] | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

On this site you can find hundreds of speeches by Margaret Thatcher. But here is one useful example from her early years as Prime Minister.

L2 comments on your Classroom test

Some notes on a text commentary.

Several students did not know who was prime minister, who won the election and by how much. More reading is the solution to that one. Otherwise here are some of the things you could have said in your text commentary. If you said half of these things, that would probably have been enough. This is given in note form, not as a structured commentary.

Who produced this document ?

The Labour Party, after it had expelled Macdonald and a few other leading members, who had formed a new government in alliance with the Conservatives and Liberals. The party had become by this time the main opposition to the Conservatives, and had formed two governments, one in 1924 and one in 1929 which collapsed in August 1931.

When was it produced ?
For the election of November 1931, after Macdonald and the National government had been in office for almost three months.

The context of the document include :

- the economic crisis
- mass unemployment
- mass movements of protest : hunger marches of the unemployed ; other protests such as Invergordon (two months before the election). In general a situation of huge social and political crisis. Soon both the Communist party and fascist forces will be gaining influence in Britain.

What does the document say (short summary) ?
The manifesto attacks capitalism as the cause of mass misery. It says that the Labour government was replaced by the National government purely in the interest of « Bankers and Financiers ». This government is presented as an unstable failure. The Labour party suggests instead to nationalize industries and replace the power of the market with a planned economy.

What references need explaining ?

Line 1 . The 1929 Wall Street Crash showed the great difficulties of capitalism in the country where everyone though it had been the greatest success, the United States. The economy of Germany, the other powerful industrial country in Europe, is in a state of total collapse.

Lines 6-9 It was the decision, under the pressure of the bankers to cut the amount of money received by unemployed people which led to the collapse of the Labour government and Macdonald’s decision to build a new coalition, leading to his expulsion from the Labour Party.

Lines 14-16 The National government had decided to abandon the link between the British currency and the price of gold

Line 23 The Labour party says in its manifesto that it is confident. In fact, it will suffer an extremely heavy defeat, and will have only 52 Members of Parliament in the new parliament (288 in the old). This terrible defeat will have a huge influence on future debates inside the Labour party.

lines 26 - 32
It is worth noting that this manifesto is much more anticapitalist in tone than most Labour manifestoes. One could explain this both by the fact that the departure of that section of Labour ( around Macdonald) who were not anticapitalist and believed in the very gradual repalcement of capitalisme by means of education left a more radical Labour party. But also the terrible severity of the social crisis made it difficult to suggest moderate-sounding solutions.

The idea of the planned economy is both a socialist and a Keynesian idea. The nationalization of industries and the much greater involvement of government in the economy will be established after world war two, in particular by the next Labour government of 1945, who will establish most element sof the welfares state and nationalize a large number of industries.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

L1 William of Orange remembered in Northern Ireland

This mural in Northern ireland shows on the Left William of Orange, a hero of protestant extremists in Ireland today .

L1 - The Glorious Revolution

Glorious Revolution

This is one historian's view of The "gliorious revolution".

YouTube - Margaret Thatcher enters 10 Downing Street

YouTube - Margaret Thatcher enters 10 Downing Street

It is important to see the main characters of twentieth century history. This video shows Margaret Thatcher just after she has won the election and is arriving at Downing Street.

NB Youtube videos will not play on the university network.

Monday, December 10, 2007

All students French News National and Regional News from France - News France

French News National and Regional News from France - News France

To keep improving your English it is essential to read a lot, and newspapers are ideal - short articles, often entertaining. But British or American newspapers can be difficult to understand if you don't read them every day.

This site give you news in English about France. It is rather a Conservative newspaper. It is often easy to understand because you may already have heard the news on the French TV or radio, or read it in a French newspaper.

L2 Thème - The genitive

The genitive - intermediate and advanced

How do you translate "Dans un coin de la cellule"? - Is it in a corner of the cell or in the cell's corner?

To get this sort of question correct you have to be sure you have absorbed correctly the grammar of the genitive. This link takes you to an interesting quiz on this subject.

Popular music : Led Zeppelin reunion tests ticket touts | Rock | Guardian Unlimited Music

Led Zeppelin reunion tests ticket touts Rock Guardian Unlimited Music

In the news right now, a leading rock group from the nineteen seventies are giving a reunion concert ...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

L2 British Economics and Trade Union politics 1973-1974

News British Economics and Trade Union politics 1973-1974

The early 1970s saw some of the biggest strikes since the 1920s. The government fell after one of these. This link takes you to a summary of the crisis of 1973-1974. The Conservative government was determined to show it ruled the country and could control the trade unions. The trade unions were determined that living standards should continue to rise, despite the fact that it was more difficult for companie sto make big profits than it had been in the sixties.

The photograph shows a monument to the memory of Mick McGahey, one of the miners' union leaders, famous for his rôle in the seventies' strikes, who died in 1999.

Irregular Verbs Quiz 1

Irregular Verbs Quiz 1

At the university, I don't teach irregular verbs. This is something which is taught at High school. But, if you still have some little difficulties, this link takes you to a fun quiz. For L2 students, 100% correct is the minimum score acceptable :=)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

L2 1967 - Anti Vietnam War Peace March

YouTube - 1967 - Anti Vietnam War Peace March

Towards the end of the nineteen sixties, the Vietnam war was the biggest political question in America, but also in Britain, where the Labour government support for the USA was highly controversial. Britain did not send troops to Vietnam (and this is very significant), but provided essential political support internationally. This youtube video shows some of the atmosphere in the US demonstrations. Similar if smaller demonstrations were taking place in London, Rome and elsewhere.

NB Youtube videos will not play on the university network.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

L2 BBC - Radio 4 - This Sceptred Isle -

BBC - Radio 4 - This Sceptred Isle - The Suez Crisis

This BBC link tells you a little about the Suez Crisis, but it also contains a quiz to test your knowledge of British history...

Modern Art - Praise for Turner jury as prize goes to war protest - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

Praise for Turner jury as prize goes to war protest - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

Every year the Turner prize is given to a modern artist. This year it was won by an artists who is famous for his extremely original protest against the war in Iraq.

L1 English Civil War - revision

English Civil War

This website can be useful to revise what you know about the civil war ( the test is on Friday!)
The section "events, issues and organization" on the site is the most important one.

All students BBC - Radio - Podcasts - File on 4

BBC - Radio - Podcasts - File on 4

It is essential to practice listening to English. The BBC website offers a series of free programmes to download, including music, documentaries, and comedy (though comedy on the radio can be difficult for non-native speakers).
This link takes you to "File on Four" which is a weekly documentary. This week they look at cancer, and why, they say, treatment of cancer in Britain is not as effective as it is in other countries in Europe.
You always have to be a little careful with this kind of documentary - it can be a little sensationalist, and the desire to make "good radio" is evident. Nevertheless, you learn something, and of course you practice your listening skills.

If you right click and save, you can then transfer it onto an MP3 player and listen to it on the metro...