• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically assess the extent to which there is a crisis in participation in UK politics

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Critically assess and explain the extent to which there is a crisis of participation in UK politics This essay will highlight the extent to which a crisis is present in UK politics with relation to participation and provide explanation as to why this is. Barnes and Kasse provide a broad yet accurate definition for political participation; ?All voluntary activities intended to influence either directly or indirectly political choices at various levels of the political system? (Conge 1988: 242). There are many constituting factors of political participation which must be explored in order to understand the potential decline in political involvement today. Direct political participation through voting, participation through extra parliamentary organisations as well as campaigning and party membership are all crucial areas that must be assessed in order to come to a valid conclusion. The most important factor contributing to political participation is direct participation through voting. The idea of anti-politics, involving the alienation and detachment of the public from politics, is a crucial feature in explaining why turnout has decreased so drastically and also provides a counter argument to the assumption that apathy is the most important determinant in the turnout. It is clear that since 1950 there has been a sharp decline in voter turnout at UK general elections; the 1950 general election saw a record turnout of 83.9%, the 2010 saw only 65.1% of the electorate exercising their right to vote in what should have been considered a very important election. ...read more.


This in turn, leads to an increase in political participation. Similarly the infamous Fathers4Justice campaign and the rise of the ?Super Dads? illustrates how a salient issue leads to increased political participation. The ?glamorisation? of interest politics with examples such as these is a very important tool in keeping participation alive when it comes to pressure and interest groups. It is apparent that there has not been a decline in involvement through pressure groups, involvement in these sorts of groups are not only a way for the politically engaged to actively participate between elections, but for those apathetic or abstaining members of the electorate to participate. Both 2010 and 2011 saw action amongst the young in protest to the increase in tuition fees. The 2010 riots were over shadowed by many arrests and aggression between both the police and the protesters. However, the November 2011 protest provided little trouble as thousands of protesters march their way through London. Although we may not classify the protests as a pressure group, it definitely is an illustration of pressure action politics. Furthermore, this dispels the assumption that there is an apathetic pandemic amongst the young. Salient issues that will directly affect the young will be met with participation as illustrated in both December and November. Participation in campaigns represents an extension of electoral participation beyond the act of voting (Dalton 2003). ...read more.


With reforms we can expect to see higher levels of turnout and even increases in campaigning and party membership. There is no doubt there is a crisis apparent with voting levels at an all time low, however interest in politics is still high meaning there are many of the electorate who would be willing to engage in political participation if such reforms occur. Therefore we are able to establish that the extent of the crisis is not as great as feared, it is simply in the hands of Parliament to legislate reforms hereby mobilizing the electorate in order to boost turnout on election day. Conge, Patrick J (1988) The Concept of Political Participation: Toward a Definition, Comparative Politics . New York: Ph.D. Program in Political Science of the City University of New York Dalton, Russell J (2006): Citizen Politics , Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press Dunleavy, Patrick, Chris Gilson and David Sanders ?Is the UK Electorate Disengaged?? British Politics and Policy at LSE (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/2010/03/12/is-the-uk-electorate-disengaged/ 24/11/11) Hansard Society: Audit of Political Engagement 5 (www.hansardsociety.org.uk/files/folders/1142/download.aspx Heffernan, Richard, Phillip Cowdrey, Colin Hay, eds.(2011). Developments in British Politics 9. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan IPSOS MORI: None of the Above, Non Voters and the 2001 Election. Research Archive (http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/1280/None-Of-The-Above-NonVoters-And-The-2001-Election.aspx) Marshall, John (2009): ?Membership of UK Political Parties? Library House of Commons (www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/briefings/snsg-05125.pdf) Question Time (22/10/2009) British Broadcasting Corporation Qvortup, Matt (2007) The Politics of Participation, Manchester: University of Manchester Press Word Count 2,308 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Government & Politics Revision Notes

    Features of the UK's Democracy o Free and Fair Elections- Free and Fair elections is vital to democracy as it allows electors to vote for the people or policies they most prefer. No Choice or little choice means that electors have to vote for what is available.

  2. To what extent was Cavour the "architect" of Italian Unification?

    However, he did not live to see the completion of Italian unification. He died in 1861, ten years before the formation of a united Italy. Cavour, it would seem, had brought about the prestige and power Italy needed in the form of a powerful Piedmont, therefore realizing the pre 1848 notion of unification via the leading state of Piedmont.

  1. How can The UK improve voting turnout in elections?

    I do not really expect an improvement there. At the general election in Colombia 2006 offered the government a kind of lottery. They set a price of equaling 1.1 million Euros for the commune with the highest turnout. This way of motivation for non voters to go voting is in my opinion not really successful.

  2. Evaluate the above statement and consider the extent to which you think it is ...

    The significance of the monarchy in the question of the Prime Minister's power has diminished beyond all recognition in the centuries following the English Civil War. It is still necessary, by convention, that Royal Assent is granted before an item of legislation can take effect; but it is also conventional

  1. Democracy and Voting

    Elitis running the show. We watch so much TV - there must be an effect but who knows? It would take to long and cost too much. Second Order voting: Those that aren't the general elections (which is first order). These are a chance for protest vote.

  2. What is the main reason for the loss of faith and interest in our ...

    Hypothesis: The main reason for the loss of faith in the government of the day is the corruption demonstrated by certain MPs, which has been highlighted by the media in recent years. Method: For this piece of research to be both successful and impartial, a number of different sources of

  1. From what extent does the UK suffer from a participation crisis?

    and a well-organised protest against fuel prices (in 2000). So perhaps people in Britain are simply uninterested about elections rather than politics in general. But in contrast to voting, non-electoral participation is the particular preserve of one section of society ? the better educated who are evidently more likely to feel they have the skills and resources required to engage in these more demanding forms of political activity.

  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of the various ways in which participation and democracy could be ...

    Also, incentive voting could lead to an increase in ill-considered votes, especially for those at the top of the ballot

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work