The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (usually abbreviated to 'the UK') has an interesting political framework.
It is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy: the monarch is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government.
Historically, the UK has played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy. The UK joined the European Union in 1973 along with Denmark and Ireland. It was an active member until 2016 when, in a surprise result, its citizens narrowly voted to leave the EU. ‘Brexit’ has heralded a turbulent new chapter in British politics, with the effects felt across the European bloc and on the other side of the Atlantic.
The capital city of London is the site of 10 Downing Street, the British civil service and government (collectively known as ‘Whitehall’) and Parliament (the House of Commons and the House of Lords). London is also home to many of the UK’s think tanks, which are a key draw for Political Science students. The Fabian Society, founded in 1884, is one of Europe’s oldest political think tanks, while London’s Chatham House, established in 1920, is well known in the United States.
Another famous product of the UK government is the Behavioural Insights Team (known as the ‘nudge unit’). It is a social purpose company that started as a branch of the UK government at 10 Downing Street. It was the world’s first government institution dedicated to using behavioural sciences to redesign public services and has since spawned a book and offices around the world.