UK Study Tour – April 2016 – Monday 18 April

Dr Palmer seminarToday’s session began with one of Adelaide University’s Alumni, Dr Stephanie Palmer, who spoke to us at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge. As a constitutional specialist, Stephanie offered the group an analysis into the interactions between British domestic law and European international organisations. Stephanie’s presentation focused on the British constitution and its structure, human rights law and the convention of parliamentary sovereignty. Given the upcoming ‘Brexit’ referendum, Stephanie provided widespread and compelling arguments to consolidate the group’s understanding of the topic, providing us with newfound perspectives on the issues. Stephanie raised how the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty is not as strong as many Britons perceive it to be. She highlighted this through an analysis of the decision in Factortame I, which ultimately held that the laws of the European Union were superior to those of the English Parliament.

Dr Griffin seminarFollowing this, the group had Dr Ben Griffin present a seminar on gender and political leadership in an historical context. Ben’s presentation provided a unique analysis of how British political leaders have adapted their image and persona over time and how the British people have received this. Ben also brought the group’s attention to the gender gap in British politics, and how the disproportionate representation of women in politics is affecting the mechanisms of democracy in the United Kingdom.

Lord Wilson LectureThe final lecture of the day was delivered by Lord Wilson, former Cabinet Secretary, at Emmanuel College. Having worked with former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, Lord Wilson was able to provide first-hand insights into the function of both Thatcher’s and Blair’s Government. Lord Wilson spoke at length about Margaret Thatcher as not only a Prime Minister but as an individual. Lord Wilson’s stories of his personal interactions with Thatcher were not only interesting but invaluable in helping us understand how her unique leadership style has shaped British politics.

It was an honour to have such distinguished academics speak to us and provide access to specialised knowledge and perspectives. It was truly a day none of us will ever forget.



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