Government of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Government, commonly referred to as HM Government (HMG), the British Government or the UK Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Government is led by the Prime Minister, who selects all the remaining Ministers. The Prime Minister and the other most senior Ministers belong to the supreme decision-making committee, known as the Cabinet. The Government Ministers are all members of Parliament, and are accountable to it. The Government is dependent on Parliament to make primary legislation, which means that in practice a government must seek re-election at least every five years. The monarch selects the Prime Minister as the leader of the party most likely to command a majority in Parliament. Under the unwritten British constitution, executive authority lies with the monarch, although this authority is exercised only by, or on the advice of, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The Cabinet members advise the monarch as members of the Privy Council. They also exercise power directly as leaders of the Government Departments.
A key principle of the British Constitution is that the Government is responsible to Parliament. This is called responsible government.
Ministers of the Crown are responsible to the House in which they sit, they make statements in that House and take questions from members of that House. For most senior Ministers this is usually the elected House of Commons rather than the House of Lords. There have been some recent exceptions to this, for example cabinet ministers Lord Mandelson (First Secretary of State) and Lord Adonis (Secretary of State for Transport) sat in the Lords and were responsible to that House during the government of Gordon Brown.
In modern times the Prime Minister must always be an elected member of Parliament (MP) and therefore accountable to the House of Commons. If a government loses the confidence of the House of Commons it must either resign or a General Election is held. The support of the Lords, while useful to the government in getting its legislation passed without delay, is not vital. A government is not required to resign even if it loses the confidence of the Lords and is defeated in key votes in that House. The House of Commons is so the responsible House.
The British Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Her Other Realms and Territories.
The Queen takes little direct part in government, and must remain strictly neutral in political affairs. However, the legal authority known as the Crown remains the source of the executive power used by the Government.
These powers are known as Royal Prerogative and can be used for a vast number of things, such as the issue or withdrawal of passports, to the dismissal of the Prime Minister or even the Declaration of War. The powers are delegated from the Monarch personally, in the name of the Crown, and can be handed to various ministers, or other Officers of the Crown, and can purposely bypass the consent of Parliament.
The head of Her Majesty’s Government, the Prime Minister, also has weekly meetings with the monarch, where she may express her feelings, warn, or advise the Prime Minister in the Government's work.
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.
Clarke was born in Minehead, Somerset, England. As a boy, he grew up on a farm enjoying stargazing and reading old American science fiction pulp magazines. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force as a radar specialist and was involved in the early warning radar defence system which contributed to the RAF's success during the Battle of Britain. Clarke spent most of his wartime service working on Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) radar. After the war he earned a first-class degree in mathematics and physics at King's College London.
In the postwar years, Clarke became the Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1946–1947 and again from 1951–1953. Although he was not the originator of the concept of geostationary satellites, one of his most important contributions may be his idea that they would be ideal telecommunications relays. The concept was published in Wireless World in October 1945. Clarke also wrote a number of non-fiction books describing the technical details and societal implications of rocketry and space flight. The most notable of these may be The Exploration of Space (1951) and The Promise of Space (1968). In recognition of these contributions the geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometres above the equator is officially recognised by the International Astronomical Union as a Clarke Orbit.
His first professional novel appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1946, Along with his writing Clarke briefly worked as Assistant Editor of Science Abstracts (1949) before devoting himself to writing full-time from 1951 onward.
In 1948 he wrote "The Sentinel" for a BBC competition. Though the story was rejected, it changed the course of Clarke's career. Not only was it the basis for 2001: A Space Odyssey, but "The Sentinel" also introduced a more cosmic element to Clarke's work. Many of Clarke's later works feature a technologically advanced but still-prejudiced mankind being confronted by a superior alien intelligence. In the cases of The City and the Stars (and its original version, Against the Fall of Night), Childhood's End, and the 2001 series, this encounter produces a conceptual breakthrough that accelerates humanity into the next stage of its evolution.
Clarke lived in Sri Lanka from 1956 until his death in 2008, He was an avid scuba diver and a member of the Underwater Explorers Club. In 1956, while scuba diving, Clarke uncovered ruined masonry, architecture and idol images of the sunken original Koneswaram temple — including carved columns with flower insignias, and stones in the form of elephant heads — spread on the shallow surrounding seabed
His many predictions culminated in 1958 when he began a series of magazine essays that eventually became Profiles of the Future, published in book form in 1962. A timetable up to the year 2100 describes inventions and ideas including such things as a "global library".
Sir James Dyson (born 2 May 1947) is a British industrial designer and founder of the Dyson company. He is best known as the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, which works on the principle of cyclonic separation. His net worth in 2011 was said to be £1.45 billion.
Dyson was born in Cromer, Norfolk, England, being one of three children. Dyson went to a boarding school from 1956 to 1965, when his father died of cancer. James excelled in long distance running: "I was quite good at it, not because I was physically good, but because I had more determination. I learnt determination from it." He spent one year (1965–1966) at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and then studied furniture and interior design at the Royal College of Art (1966–1970) before moving into engineering.
In the late 1970s, Dyson had the idea of using cyclonic separation to create a vacuum cleaner that would not lose suction as it picked up dirt. He became frustrated with his Hoover Junior’s diminishing performance: dust kept clogging the dust bag, reducing suction. The cyclone idea came from the spray-finishing room's air filter in his Ballbarrow factory.
Partly supported by his wife's salary as an art teacher, and after five years and many prototypes, Dyson launched the "G-Force" cleaner in 1983. However, no manufacturer or distributor would handle his product in the UK, as it would disturb the valuable market for replacement dust bags, so Dyson launched it in Japan through catalogue sales. Manufactured in bright pink, the G-Force sold for £2,000 (British equivalent). It won the 1991 International Design Fair prize in Japan. He obtained his first U.S. patent on the idea in 1986.
After failing to sell his invention to the major manufacturers, Dyson set up his own manufacturing company. In June 1993, he opened his research centre and factory in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
Dyson's breakthrough in the UK market, more than 10 years after the initial idea, was through a TV advertising campaign that emphasized that, unlike most of its rivals, it did not require the continuing purchase of replacement bags. At that time, the UK market for disposable cleaner bags was £100 million. The slogan "say goodbye to the bag" proved more attractive to the buying public than a previous emphasis on the suction efficiency that its technology delivers. The Dyson Dual Cyclone became the fastest-selling vacuum cleaner ever made in the UK, which outsold those of some of the companies that rejected his idea and has become one of the most popular brands in the UK, Following his success, other major manufacturers began to market their own cyclonic vacuum cleaners. Dyson sued Hoover UK for patent infringement and won around $5 million in damages.
In a highly controversial and bitterly opposed move, his manufacturing plant moved from England to Malaysia, for economic reasons and because of difficulty acquiring land for expansion, leaving 800 workers redundant in 2002. The company's headquarters and research facilities remain in Malmesbury. In 2005, Dyson incorporated the wheel ball from his Ballbarrow concept into a vacuum cleaner, creating the Dyson Ball, saying it makes it more maneuverable.
Dyson set up James Dyson Foundation in 2002 to support design and engineering education. This is specially aimed at inspiring young people to study engineering and become engineers by encouraging students to think differently and to make mistakes. The Foundation particularly supports schools as well as medical and scientific research in partnership with charities
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English business magnate, best known as the founder and chairman of Virgin Group of more than 400 companies.
Branson was born in Blackheath, London. Branson has dyslexia and had poor academic performance as a student, but later discovered his ability to connect with others.
His first business venture was a magazine called Student at the age of 16. In 1970, he set up an audio-record mail-order business. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label.
Branson started his record business from the crypt of a church where he ran The Student. Branson advertised popular records in The Student Magazine and it was an overnight success. Trading under the name "Virgin", he sold records for considerably less than the "High Street" outlets, especially the chain W. H. Smith. Branson once said, "There is no point in starting your own business unless you do it out of a sense of frustration." The name "Virgin" was suggested by one of Branson's early employees because they were all new at business. At the time, many products were sold under restrictive marketing agreements that limited discounting. Branson began the series of changes that led to large-scale discounting of recorded music.
Branson eventually started a record shop in Oxford Street in London in 1971. Earning enough money from his record store, Branson in 1972 launched the record label Virgin Records and bought a country estate, in which he installed a recording studio. Virgin signed such controversial bands as the Sex Pistols, which other companies were reluctant to sign. In 1992, to keep his airline company afloat, Branson sold the Virgin label to EMI for £500 million. Branson says that he wept when the sale was completed since the record business had been the birth of the Virgin Empire. He later created V2 Records to re-enter the music business.
Branson formed Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984, launched Virgin Mobile in 1999, Virgin Blue in Australia (now named Virgin Australia) in 2000.
In 1993, Branson entered into the railway business. Virgin Trains won the franchises for the former Intercity West Coast and Cross-Country sectors of British Rail.
Virgin acquired European short-haul airline Euro Belgian Airlines in 1996 and renamed it Virgin Express. In 2006, the airline was merged with SN Brussels Airlines forming Brussels Airlines, Another airline, Virgin America, began flying out of San Francisco International Airport in August 2007. Branson has also developed a Virgin Cola brand and even a Virgin Vodka brand, which has not been a very successful enterprise. On 25 September 2004, Branson announced the signing of a deal under which a new space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, will license the technology behind Spaceship One to take paying passengers into suborbital space. Virgin Galactic (wholly owned by Virgin Group) plans to make flights available to the public with tickets priced at US$200,000.