Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and to the electorate; the office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016; the office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most to command the confidence of the House of Commons. The position of Prime Minister was not created; the office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and remained the head of government, politically it became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament. By the 1830s the Westminster system of government had emerged; the political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication, photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged. Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons; however as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury; the status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government; as such, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and commands a majority in the House of Commons; the incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints all other Cabinet members and ministers, co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, the staff of the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not set out in any single document. The British constitution consists of many documents and most for the evolution of the Office of the Prime Minister, it is based on customs known as constitutional conventions that became accepted practice. In 1928, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:In this country we live... under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges, they rest on usage, convention of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign and Cabinet are defined by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are royal prerogatives which are still formally vested in the Sovereign, who remains the head of state. Despite its growing
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, it employs over 20,950 staff in total. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time and fixed-contract staff are included; the BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture and Sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee, charged to all British households and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up; the fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, used to fund the BBC's radio, TV, online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. Since 1 April 2014, it has funded the BBC World Service, which broadcasts in 28 languages and provides comprehensive TV, online services in Arabic and Persian.
Around a quarter of BBC revenues come from its commercial arm BBC Studios Ltd, which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English-language news services BBC World News, from BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd. From its inception, through the Second World War, to the 21st century, the BBC has played a prominent role in British culture, it is known colloquially as "The Beeb", "Auntie", or a combination of both. Britain's first live public broadcast from the Marconi factory in Chelmsford took place in June 1920, it was sponsored by the Daily Mail's Lord Northcliffe and featured the famous Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba. The Melba broadcast caught the people's imagination and marked a turning point in the British public's attitude to radio. However, this public enthusiasm was not shared in official circles where such broadcasts were held to interfere with important military and civil communications. By late 1920, pressure from these quarters and uneasiness among the staff of the licensing authority, the General Post Office, was sufficient to lead to a ban on further Chelmsford broadcasts.
But by 1922, the GPO had received nearly 100 broadcast licence requests and moved to rescind its ban in the wake of a petition by 63 wireless societies with over 3,000 members. Anxious to avoid the same chaotic expansion experienced in the United States, the GPO proposed that it would issue a single broadcasting licence to a company jointly owned by a consortium of leading wireless receiver manufactures, to be known as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. John Reith, a Scottish Calvinist, was appointed its General Manager in December 1922 a few weeks after the company made its first official broadcast; the company was to be financed by a royalty on the sale of BBC wireless receiving sets from approved domestic manufacturers. To this day, the BBC aims to follow the Reithian directive to "inform and entertain"; the financial arrangements soon proved inadequate. Set sales were disappointing as amateurs made their own receivers and listeners bought rival unlicensed sets. By mid-1923, discussions between the GPO and the BBC had become deadlocked and the Postmaster-General commissioned a review of broadcasting by the Sykes Committee.
The Committee recommended a short term reorganisation of licence fees with improved enforcement in order to address the BBC's immediate financial distress, an increased share of the licence revenue split between it and the GPO. This was to be followed by a simple 10 shillings licence fee with no royalty once the wireless manufactures protection expired; the BBC's broadcasting monopoly was made explicit for the duration of its current broadcast licence, as was the prohibition on advertising. The BBC was banned from presenting news bulletins before 19.00 and was required to source all news from external wire services. Mid-1925 found the future of broadcasting under further consideration, this time by the Crawford committee. By now, the BBC, under Reith's leadership, had forged a consensus favouring a continuation of the unified broadcasting service, but more money was still required to finance rapid expansion. Wireless manufacturers were anxious to exit the loss making consortium with Reith keen that the BBC be seen as a public service rather than a commercial enterprise.
The recommendations of the Crawford Committee were published in March the following year and were still under consideration by the GPO when the 1926 general strike broke out in May. The strike temporarily interrupted newspaper production, with restrictions on news bulletins waived, the BBC became the primary source of news for the duration of the crisis; the crisis placed the BBC in a delicate position. On one hand Reith was acutely aware that the Government might exercise its right to commandeer the BBC at any time as a mouthpiece of the Government if the BBC were to step out of line, but on the other he was anxious to maintain public trust by appearing to be acting independently; the Government was divided on how to handle the BBC but ended up trusting Reith, whose opposition to the strike mirrored the PM's own. Thus the BBC was granted sufficient leeway to pursue the Government's objectives in a manner of its own choosing; the resulting coverage of both striker and government viewpoints impressed millions of listeners who were unaware that the PM had broadcast to the nation from Reith's home, using one of Reith's sound bites inserted at the last moment
Scotland Yard is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, the territorial police force responsible for policing most of London. The name derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard; the Scotland Yard entrance became the public entrance to the police station, over time the street and the Metropolitan Police became synonymous. The New York Times wrote in 1964 that just as Wall Street gave its name to New York's financial district, Scotland Yard became the name for police activity in London; the force moved from Great Scotland Yard in 1890, to a newly completed building on the Victoria Embankment, the name "New Scotland Yard" was adopted for the new headquarters. An adjacent building was completed in 1906. A third building was added in 1940. In 1967, the MPS moved its headquarters from the three-building complex to a tall, newly constructed building on Broadway in Victoria.
In summer 2013, it was announced that the force would move to the Curtis Green Building –, the third building of New Scotland Yard's previous site – and that the headquarters would be renamed Scotland Yard. In November 2016, MPS moved to its new headquarters, which continues to bear the name of "New Scotland Yard." Scotland Yard building is now owned by Indian billionaire Yusuff Ali M. A. chairman of Lulu Group International. The Metropolitan Police Service is responsible for law enforcement within Greater London, excluding the square mile of the City of London, covered by the City of London Police. Additionally, the London Underground and National Rail networks are the responsibility of the British Transport Police; the Metropolitan Police was formed by Robert Peel with the implementation of the Metropolitan Police Act, passed by Parliament in 1829. Peel, with the help of Eugène-François Vidocq, selected the original site on Whitehall Place for the new police headquarters; the first two commissioners, Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne, along with various police officers and staff, occupied the building.
A private house, 4 Whitehall Place backed onto a street called Great Scotland Yard. By 1887, the Metropolitan Police headquarters had expanded from 4 Whitehall Place into several neighbouring addresses, including 3, 5, 21 and 22 Whitehall Place; the service outgrew its original site, new headquarters were built on the Victoria Embankment, overlooking the River Thames, south of what is now the Ministry of Defence's headquarters. In 1888, during the construction of the new building, workers discovered the dismembered torso of a female. In 1890, police headquarters moved to the new location, named New Scotland Yard. By this time, the Metropolitan Police had grown from its initial 1,000 officers to about 13,000 and needed more administrative staff and a bigger headquarters. Further increases in the size and responsibilities of the force required more administrators and space. Therefore, new buildings were constructed and completed in 1906 and 1940, so that New Scotland Yard became a three-building complex..
The first two buildings are now a Grade I listed structure known as the Norman Shaw Buildings. The original building at 4 Whitehall Place still has a rear entrance on Great Scotland Yard. Stables for some of the mounted branch are still located at 7 Great Scotland Yard, across the street from the first headquarters. By the 1960s the requirements of modern technology and further increases in the size of the force meant that it had outgrown its three-building complex on Victoria Embankment. In 1967 New Scotland Yard moved to a newly constructed building on Broadway, an existing office block acquired under a long-term lease. From 1967 to 2016, the third building of the first New Scotland Yard was used as the base for the Met's Territorial Support Group; the Met's senior management team, who oversee the service, were based at New Scotland Yard at 10 Broadway, close to St. James's Park station, along with the Met's crime database; this uses a national computer system developed for major crime enquiries by all British forces, called Home Office Large Major Enquiry System, more referred to by the backronym HOLMES, which recognises the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
The training programme is called'Elementary', after Holmes's well-known, yet apocryphal, phrase "elementary, my dear Watson". Administrative functions are based at the Empress State Building, communication handling at the three Metcall complexes, rather than at Scotland Yard. During the 2000s, a number of security measures were added to the exterior of New Scotland Yard, including concrete barriers in front of ground-level windows as a countermeasure against car bombing, a concrete wall around the entrance to the building, a covered walkway from the street to the entrance into the building. Armed officers from the Diplomatic Protection Group patrolled the exterior of the building along with security staff. In 2008, the Metropolitan Police Authority bought the freehold of the building for around £120 million. In May 2013 the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the New Scotland Yard building on Broadway would be sold and the force's headquarters would be moved back to the Curtis Green Building on the Victoria Emb
Conscription in the United Kingdom
Conscription in the United Kingdom has existed for two periods in modern times. The first was from 1916 to 1920, the second from 1939 to 1960, with the last conscripted soldiers leaving the service in 1963. Known as Military Service from 1916 to 1920, the system of conscription from 1939 to 1960 was called National Service, but between 1939 and 1948, it was referred to as "war service" in documents relating to National Insurance and pension provision. Conscription during the First World War began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in January 1916; the act specified that single men aged 18 to 40 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. There was a system of Military Service Tribunals to adjudicate upon claims for exemption upon the grounds of performing civilian work of national importance, domestic hardship and conscientious objection; the law went through several changes. Married men were exempt in the original Act, although this was changed in June 1916.
The age limit was eventually raised to 51 years old. Recognition of work of national importance diminished, in the last year of the war there was some support for the conscription of clergy. Conscription lasted until mid-1919. Due to the political situation in Ireland, conscription was never applied there. Conscription legislation lapsed in 1920. However, as a result of the deteriorating international situation and the rise of Nazi Germany, Leslie Hore-Belisha, Secretary of State for War, persuaded the cabinet of Neville Chamberlain to introduce a limited form of conscription on 27 April 1939, with the Military Training Act being passed the following month. Only single men 20 to 22 years old were liable to be called up, they were to be known as "militiamen" to distinguish them from the regular army. To emphasise this distinction, each man was issued with a suit in addition to a uniform; the intention was for the first intake to undergo six months of basic training before being discharged into an active reserve.
They would be recalled for short training periods and attend an annual camp. At the outbreak of war, on 3 September 1939, the Military Training Act was overtaken by the National Service Act, the first intake was absorbed into the army; this act imposed a liability to conscription of all men 18 to 41 years old. Men could be rejected for medical reasons, those engaged in vital industries or occupations were "reserved" at a particular age beyond which no one in that job would be enlisted. For example, lighthouse keepers were "reserved" at 18 years old. From 1943, some conscripts were directed into the British coal mining industry and become known as the "Bevin Boys". Provision was made for conscientious objectors, who were required to justify their position to a tribunal, with power to allocate the applicant to one of three categories: unconditional exemption. By 1942 all male British subjects between 18 and 51 years old and all females 20 to 30 years old resident in Britain were liable to be called up, with some exemptions: British subjects from outside Britain and the Isle of Man who had lived in the country for less than two years Police and prison workers Northern Ireland Students Persons employed by the government of any country of the British Empire except the United Kingdom Clergy of any denomination Those who were blind or had mental disorders Married women Women who had one or more children 14 years old or younger living with them.
This included their own children, legitimate or illegitimate and adopted children, as long as the child was adopted before 18 December 1941. Pregnant women were not exempted. Men under 20 years old were not liable to be sent overseas, but this exemption was lifted by 1942. People called up before they were 51 years old but who reached their 51st birthday during their service were liable to serve until the end of the war. People who had retired, resigned or been dismissed from the forces before the war were liable to be called back if they had not reached 51 years of age. Britain did not demobilise in 1945, as conscription continued after the war; those in the armed forces were given a release class determined by length of service and age. In practice, releases began in June 1945, the last of the wartime conscripts had been released by 1949. However, urgently needed men those in the building trades, were released in 1945, although some restrictions on their immediate employment were supposed to be enforced.
All women were released at the end of the war. National Service as peacetime conscription was formulated by the National Service Act 1948. From 1 January 1949, healthy males 17 to 21 years old were expected to serve in the armed forces for 18 months, remain on the reserve list for four years, they could be recalled to their units for up to 20 days for no more than three occasions during these four years. Men were exempt from National Service if they worked in one of the three "essential services": coal mining and the merchant navy for a period of eight years. If they quit early, they were subject to being called up. Exemption continued with the same tribunal system and categories. In October 1950, in response to the British involvement in the Korean War, the service period was extended to two years.
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation; the local authority is Manchester City Council. The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell, it was a part of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated in the 20th century. The first to be included, was added to the city in 1931. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city.
Manchester achieved city status in 1853. The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, creating the Port of Manchester and directly linking the city to the Irish Sea, 36 miles to the west, its fortune declined after the Second World War, owing to deindustrialisation, but the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration. In 2014, the Globalisation and World Cities Research Network ranked Manchester as a beta world city, the highest-ranked British city apart from London. Manchester is the third-most visited city after London and Edinburgh, it is notable for its architecture, musical exports, media links and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections. Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world's first inter-city passenger railway station. Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games; the name Manchester originates from the Latin name Mamucium or its variant Mancunium and the citizens are still referred to as Mancunians. These are thought to represent a Latinisation of an original Brittonic name, either from mamm- or from mamma.
Both meanings are preserved in Insular Celtic languages, such as mam meaning "breast" in Irish and "mother" in Welsh. The suffix -chester is a survival of Old English ceaster and from that castra in latin for camp or settlement; the Brigantes were the major Celtic tribe in. Their territory extended across the fertile lowland of what is now Stretford. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, General Agricola ordered the construction of a fort named Mamucium in the year 79 to ensure that Roman interests in Deva Victrix and Eboracum were protected from the Brigantes. Central Manchester has been permanently settled since this time. A stabilised fragment of foundations of the final version of the Roman fort is visible in Castlefield; the Roman habitation of Manchester ended around the 3rd century. After the Roman withdrawal and Saxon conquest, the focus of settlement shifted to the confluence of the Irwell and Irk sometime before the arrival of the Normans after 1066. Much of the wider area was laid waste in the subsequent Harrying of the North.
Thomas de la Warre, lord of the manor and constructed a collegiate church for the parish in 1421. The church is now Manchester Cathedral; the library, which opened in 1653 and is still open to the public today, is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom. Manchester is mentioned as having a market in 1282. Around the 14th century, Manchester received an influx of Flemish weavers, sometimes credited as the foundation of the region's textile industry. Manchester became an important centre for the manufacture and trade of woollens and linen, by about 1540, had expanded to become, in John Leland's words, "The fairest, best builded and most populous town of all Lancashire." The cathedral and Chetham's buildings are the only significant survivors of Leland's Manchester. During the English Civil War Manchester favoured the Parliamentary interest. Although not long-lasting, Cromwell granted it the right to elect its own MP. Charles Worsley, who sat for the city for only a year, was appointed Major General for Lancashire and Staffordshire during the Rule of the Major Generals.
He was a diligent puritan, banning the celebration of Christmas. Significant quantities of cotton began to be used after about 1600, firstly in linen/cotton fustians, but by around 1750 pure cotton fabrics were being produced and cotton had overtaken wool in importance; the Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey. The Bridgewater Canal, Britain's first wholly artificial waterway, was opened in 1761, bringing coal from mines at Worsley to central Manchester; the canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776. The combination of competition and improved efficiency halved th
Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societies, abdication was a regular event, helped maintain stability during political succession. Abdications have either occurred by force or voluntarily; some rulers are ruled to have abdicated in absentia, vacating the physical throne and thus their position of power, although these judgments were pronounced by successors with vested interest in seeing the throne abdicated, without or despite the direct input of the abdicating monarch. Due to the ceremonial nature of the regnant in many constitutional monarchies, many monarchs have abdicated due to old age, such as the monarchs of Spain and the Netherlands; the word abdication is derived from the Latin abdicatio meaning to renounce. In its broadest sense abdication is the act of renouncing and resigning from any formal office, but it is applied to the supreme office of state.
In Roman law the term was applied to the disowning of a family member, such as the disinheriting of a son. Today the term applies to monarchs, or to those who have been formally crowned. An elected or appointed official is said to resign rather than to abdicate. A notable exception is the voluntary relinquishing of the office of Bishop of Rome by the Pope, called Papal resignation or Papal renunciation. In certain cultures, the abdication of a monarch was seen as a profound and shocking abandonment of royal duty; as a result, abdications only occurred in the most extreme circumstances of political turmoil or violence. For other cultures, abdication was a much more routine element of succession. Among the most notable abdications of antiquity are those of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the Dictator, in 79 BC; the most notable abdication in recent history is that of King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom and the Dominions. In 1936 Edward abdicated to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson, over the objections of the British establishment, the governments of the Commonwealth, the Royal Family and the Church of England.
It was the first time in history that the British or English crown was surrendered voluntarily. Richard II of England, for example, was forced to abdicate after power was seized by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, while Richard was abroad. During the Glorious Revolution in 1688, James II of England and VII of Scotland fled to France, dropping the Great Seal of the Realm into the Thames, the question was discussed in Parliament whether he had forfeited the throne or had abdicated; the latter designation was agreed upon in spite of James's protest, in a full assembly of the Lords and Commons it was resolved "that King James II having endeavoured to subvert the constitution of the kingdom, by breaking the original contract between king and people, and, by the advice of Jesuits and other wicked persons, having violated the fundamental laws, having withdrawn himself out of this kingdom, has abdicated the government, that the throne is thereby vacant." The Scottish parliament pronounced a decree of deposition.
In Scotland, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son, James VI. Today, because the title to the Crown depends upon statute the Act of Settlement 1701, a royal abdication can be effected only by an Act of Parliament. To give legal effect to the abdication of King Edward VIII, His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 was passed. In Japanese history, abdication was used often, in fact occurred more than death on the throne. In those days, most executive authority resided in the hands of regents, the Emperor's chief task was priestly, containing so many repetitive rituals that it was deemed the incumbent Emperor deserved pampered retirement as an honored retired emperor after a service of around ten years. A tradition developed that an Emperor should accede to the throne young; the high-priestly duties were deemed possible for a walking child. Thus, many Japanese Emperors have acceded as children, some only 8 years old. Childhood helped the monarch to endure tedious duties and to tolerate subjugation to political power-brokers, as well as sometimes to cloak the powerful members of the imperial dynasty.
All Japanese empresses and dozens of Emperors abdicated and lived the rest of their lives in pampered retirement, wielding influence behind the scenes with more power than they had had while on the throne. Several Emperors abdicated while still in their teens; these traditions show in Japanese folklore, theater and other forms of culture, where the Emperor is described or depicted as an adolescent. Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan had eleven reigning empresses. Over half of Japanese empresses abdicated once a suitable male descendant was considered to be old enough to rule. Since the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent reorganization of imperial succession, no Emperor has abdicated and all have died o
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, facilitate the reunification of Ireland and bring about an independent republic encompassing all of Ireland. It was the biggest and most active republican paramilitary group during the Troubles, it saw itself as the successor to the original IRA and called itself the Irish Republican Army, or Óglaigh na hÉireann in Irish, was broadly referred to as such by others. The IRA was designated an unlawful terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom and an unlawful organisation in the Republic of Ireland; the Provisional IRA emerged following a split in the republican movement. It was so-called to mirror the 1916 Provisional Government of the Irish Republic, to designate it as temporary pending reorganisation of the movement. Although this happened in 1970, the name "Provisional" stuck with them; the Troubles had begun shortly before when a Catholic, nonviolent civil rights campaign was met with violence from both Ulster loyalists and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, culminating in the August 1969 riots and deployment of British troops.
The IRA focused on defence of Catholic areas, but it began an offensive campaign in 1971. The IRA's primary goal was to force the United Kingdom to negotiate a withdrawal from Northern Ireland, it used guerrilla tactics against the British RUC in both rural and urban areas. It carried out a bombing campaign in Northern Ireland and England against what it saw as political and economic targets; the IRA called a final ceasefire in July 1997, after its political wing Sinn Féin was re-admitted into the Northern Ireland peace talks. It supported the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and in 2005 it disarmed under international supervision. An internal British Army document examining its 37 years of deployment in Northern Ireland, describes the IRA as "a professional, dedicated skilled and resilient force", while loyalist paramilitaries and other republican groups are described as "little more than a collection of gangsters". American media described the IRA as "activists" and "guerillas", while the British press dubbed them "terrorists".
Several splinter groups have been formed as a result of splits within the IRA, including the Continuity IRA which emerged from a split in 1986 but did not become active until the Provisional IRA ceasefire of 1994, the Real IRA after the final 1997 ceasefire, both of which are still active in the low-level dissident Irish republican campaign. The IRA's initial strategy was to use guerrilla tactics to cause the collapse of the government of Northern Ireland and to inflict enough casualties on British forces that the British government would be forced by public opinion in Britain to withdraw from the region; this policy involved recruitment of volunteers, increasing after the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident in which the British armed forces killed unarmed protesters, launching attacks against British military and economic targets. The campaign was supported by arms and funding from some Irish American groups; the IRA agreed to a ceasefire in February 1975, which lasted nearly a year before the IRA concluded that the British were drawing them away from military action without offering any guarantees in relation to the IRA's goals, hopes of a quick victory receded.
As a result, the IRA launched a new strategy known as "the Long War". This saw them conduct a war of attrition against the British and increased emphasis on political activity, via the political party Sinn Féin; the success of the 1981 Irish hunger strike in mobilising support and winning elections led to the Armalite and ballot box strategy, with more time and resources devoted to political activity. The abortive attempt at an escalation of the military part of that strategy led republican leaders to look for a political compromise to end the conflict, with a broadening dissociation of Sinn Féin from the IRA. Following negotiations with the Social Democratic and Labour Party and secret talks with representatives of both the Irish and British governments, the IRA called a ceasefire in 1994 on the understanding that Sinn Féin would be included in political negotiations for a settlement; when the British government, dependent on Ulster Unionist Party votes at Westminster demanded the disarmament of the IRA before it allowed Sinn Féin into multiparty talks, the IRA called off its ceasefire in February 1996.
The British demand was dropped after the May 1997 general election in the UK. The IRA ceasefire was reinstated in July 1997 and Sinn Féin was admitted into all-party talks, which produced the Good Friday Agreement of 1998; the IRA's armed campaign in Northern Ireland but in England and mainland Europe, caused the deaths of 1,800 people. The dead included around 1,100 members of the British security forces, about 640 civilians; the IRA itself lost 275–300 members and an estimated 10,000 imprisoned at various times over the 30-year period. On 28 July 2005, the IRA Army Council announced an end to its armed campaign, stating that it would work to achieve its aims using "purely political and democratic programmes through peaceful means", shortly afterwards completed decommissioning. In September 2008, the nineteenth report of the Independent Monitoring Commission stated that the IRA was "committed to the political path" and no longer represented "a threat to peace or to democratic politics", that th