Some additional notes on Politics: the Basics. We also plan to reply to any reader queries of general interest here.

Current Editions

There is a separate page on this website which covers the new fifth edition. Click on the cover illustration to see this.

Past Editions

The first three editions of the book were all solely the work of Steve Tansey.

The First Edition of the book came out in 1995 and, long before 9/11, stressed the extent to which issues such as ecology, feminism and Islamic fundamentalism were rivalling those of superpower rivalry, class and ideology, which dominated the last century.

The Second Edition (2000) introduced new Chapters on 'States' and 'Processes' dropping chapters on 'Mechanisms' and 'Futures'.

The Third Edition (2004) included additional material on Terrorism, Post-Modernism and Spin and Political Marketing.

The Fourth Edition (2008), the first to which Nigel Jackson contributed, includes new material on the decline of partisanship, more on 'the War on Terror' and the Internet and new sections on changes in the political process and the 'crisis' of democratic politics.

The Fifth Edition (2014) was published in September. See main Politics: the Basics page for details

Foreign Language Editions

The latest foreign language edition to be commissioned is in Turkish and will be published by Utopya Yayinevi.

A Portuguese translation was published by Editora Saraiva in Sao Paulo, Brazil under the title Politica.

Perhaps surprisingly Politics: The Basics, 4th Edition is to be translated by Jiangsu People's Publishing Ltd into Chinese (simplified) for distribution in Mainland China. However, though we have had the cheque, last time we looked it still had not been published. Perhaps the mainland Chinese  discovered that an earlier edition was translated into Chinese for the Taiwan market (or at least Steve received a cheque for the rights!).

The fourth edition of Politics: the Basics has been published in Arabic by the Arab Network for Publishing and Research based in Beirut, Lebanon

An earlier edition of Politics: the Basics has already appeared in Polish translation as 'Nauki Polityczne' published by Zysk i S-Ka Wydawnnictwo of Poznan. It has sold over 6,000 copies in Polish.

Next Edition

Suggestions for the next edition would be very welcome. Please click on the feedback icon to make yours.


Umma / Ummah / Ummat has been used somewhat inconsistently in various editions to refer to the Company of the Faithful [Muslims]. Ummah is the most usual transliteration of the Arabic for community in this context. The phrase 'Ummat al-Islam' is a correct full description, but Ummat on its own is not a normal usage.

Addenda: Definitions of Freedom

Omitted in error from edition 5

'. . consists in having of Government, and those laws by which their Life and Goods may be most their own. It is not having a share in Government . .' (Charles I ‘Speech from the Scaffold’ in Works, 1662, 454)

'The assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes to be his duty against the influences of authority and majorities, custom and opinion' (Lord Acton, History of Freedom, 3)

'the mere impulse of appetite is slavery, whilst obedience to the law which we prescribe ourselves is liberty. (Rousseau Social Contract, Book I, Ch. 8, 16)

'the absence of opposition.' (Hobbes, Leviathan., Chapter XXI, 204)

' the power a man has to do or forbear any particular action' (Locke, Essay, II, Chapter xxi, 15)

'necessity transfigured' (Hegel, Logik, $158)

'a participation in the revelation of what-is-as-such' ( Heidegger, Existence and Being, 334)

' control over ourselves and over external nature which is founded on knowledge of natural necessity' (Engels, Anti-Duhring, Ch XI)

List From Cranston, 1954: 8, 12, 23-4)

Article Listing

Listing Articles 1 to 10 of 11



Other pages on the site commemorate the life of Sue Tansey and describe Free Attractions in Dorset. Please let me have any suggestion for further content.


More Changes to U3A Poole Philosophy Workshop schedule are on this site - the latest change was on 25th. October. The schedule is subject to amendment and is often revised.

Please check on this site to ensure you have the latest version.

We are now meeting once more mainly in person in each other's homes or gardens (but with some participation over Zoom). Let Steve know if you wish to participate via Zoom.

Please let the designated host know that you are coming to each session, so appropriate preparations can be made.

You should be double vaccinated, have carried out a Rapid Antigen Test in the previous week, and, of course, not attend if you feel in any way unwell - or have been 'pinged' or otherwise told to isolate.



According to the Good Reads website, there are two Persian editions of Politics: the Basics - they were not authorised by us and hence we cannot say how accurate they are!

Politics the Basics was sixth on Amazon's list of Government and Politics References Best Sellers on 4th November 2020.

A Turkish Edition of Politics the Basics (5th. ed.) is to be published by Utopya Yayinevi.

A Portuguese translation of Politics: the Basics has now been published in Brazil as Polίtica, Editora Saraiva, Sao Paulo, 1st Brazilian ed., 2016.


The Fifth Edition of Politics: the Basics was published by Routledge in September  2014.

Nigel has updated the book and has made some interesting innovations.

If you run a class which might use the book, let us know using the feedback button on this site and we will arrange to send you a free inspection copy.

The fourth edition of Politics: the Basics has been published in  Arabic by the Arab Network for Publishing and Research based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Politics: The Basics, 4th Edition is to be translated by Jiangsu People's Publishing Ltd into Chinese (simplified) for distribution in Mainland China.


Conservative MP Steve Baker puts Politics: the Basics first on his recommended reading list for newcomers to the Conservative Candidates List.