• 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...

Introduction

´╗┐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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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

    * INFORM GOVT. OF PUBLIC OPINION- Direct Democracy also allows the electorate to inform governments of public opinion at any particular time. For example, the unsuccessful referendum held in the North East in 2004 persuaded the Government to give up the idea of English regional assemblies.

  2. Is nationalism in the UK reactionary or progreesive??

    The government's 'Citizenship Test', if anything, engenders still further doubt and confusion. England was politically united from the 10th century, with strong links with Scandinavia until the Norman Conquest, and then with France until the 15th century. From the 16th century an English national consciousness developed quite strongly.

  1. 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

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

    At this stage, what Cavour wanted was to unite Italy under the leadership of Piedmont. From his internal and external policies, it can be seen that Cavour was capable and realistic politician. He was also a skilful diplomat who could make use of every opportunity to win foreign support.

  1. Constitution and Politics

    Statute: Act passed by Parliament - signed by Queen, majority = easy to pass Judicial Review: The courts can overturn executive/legislature actions which they deem to be unconstitutional. UK has weak form, they can say whether they have acted beyond their powers or unfair.

  2. Democracy and Voting

    1997 - Everyone was decided 2001 - Labour obvious win 2005 - dreary, trivial and nasty.

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

    In 2008, a paper was published called the ?Audit of Political Engagement? and it stated that citizens that where educated and are professionals at their profession are twice as likely as those from unskilled groups to vote, donate to a party campaign and they are four times more likely to

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

    This growing trend in postal voting shows public support and consensus of the system, illustrating that it really could be a viable option in tackling political disengagement. While there are benefits to postal voting, the negatives to the system are also significant.

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