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

Evaluate the notion that the UK is a truly democratic nation

Extracts from this document...


Evaluate the notion that the UK is a truly democratic nation B.Pringle The UK is a democratic nation when the term 'democracy' is used loosely. Citizens of the UK over the age of 18 can vote for whom they would like to represent them in government. However, when the realities of representation, electoral procedures and parliamentary structures are analysed, the extent to which the UK is truly democratic is questioned. In the UK we elect politicians to represent our interests. This in itself could be seen as undemocratic - we are not picking a delegate but someone who will act of his or her own accord. We are giving another person the right to make decisions on our behalf; we are not personally having any say in the decisions of government. One could argue that there should be more referendums on heavily debated issues, such as foxhunting or gay child adoption, in order to ensure the nation is largely on side with the eventual decision passed by parliament. This, however, would be a step towards 'direct representation', which is arguably a slower and less effective form of representation. The UK's form of representation is an efficient way to implement what is essentially democracy. ...read more.


The reason for this is our representational system of constituencies. It is very geographically divisive and more importantly, regularly ignores a lot of people's votes. A persons vote not counting towards the make up of the democratic assembly of their country is seemingly very undemocratic. Another fault of our supposedly democratic voting system is that we do not elect the Prime Minister which, given the fact that he has probably more power than the average President, this allows people to lay claim to the fact that they hold the leader of their country to account. This fact in itself makes our country, in part, undemocratic. Also the head of our state is the Queen. Is she a democratically elected figure? No. The fact that the monarch has resigned a royal prerogative to the Prime Minister is the reason for their existence in our society. However, the Monarch does still have power over any parliamentary figure or law. What qualifications did the Queen acquire to gain this job? None but birth right. The Queen however, is not the only part of our legislative system that has got there by birthrights. 92 members of The House of Lords sit there because of hereditary peerage. ...read more.


Other European representatives can easily over rule the UK's elected European officials when determining legislation even if it directly affects the UK. Sovereignty has been handed over to the EU and so the UK's domestic government can be over ruled. One could argue this is undemocratic. However, there was a referendum in 1975 over whether or not the UK should remain in the EU and so one would find it difficult to argue that the EU are being undemocratic. The main piece of relatively new legislation which improves a persons democratic rights is the Human rights act. This act ensures peoples freedom from oppression and unfair treatment by guaranteeing every citizen of the UK their individual rights. This, amongst other things, gives an individual the right to hold the state to account in a court of law. The Human rights act secures the fact that the UK is democratic, at least to an extent. In summary, the UK is not particularly democratic after careful analysis, but it is democratic to an extent. The UK could easily be more democratic, but this would come at the price of efficiency. When considered in a global context, the UK is highly democratic; but when scrutinising as to whether the UK is truly democratic in nature, I have found that it is democratic but only moderately. ...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 Political Philosophy 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 Political Philosophy essays

  1. "The US Constitution is entrenched and rigid; the UK has no Constitution worthy of ...

    For example, reforms of the House of Lords or devolution are no different from that to pass legislation raising the school leaving age or establishing a national lottery. The ways, and extent, of interpreting the Constitutions vary in the two countries.

  2. "How democratic is the UK?"

    However, what choice does he have, if he does not vote for Labour, Conservative or the Liberal Democrats, he has essentially wasted his vote. Another negative point about the UK's democratic system is that we allow everyone over the age of eighteen to vote regardless of intelligence or social status.

  1. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    It implies that one has learned to transcend negotiations and mediation and reached a higher level of leadership that brings about fundamental change (Burns 1978). The ability to mobilize, when needed, the appropriate constituencies is an essential aspect of this leadership quality.

  2. Evolution of Democracy and the Athenian Constitution

    The hills with their poor soil would be teeming with the peasantry who on their small patches of land would be unable to produce enough grain for subsistence and hence would have to borrow the excess from the aristocrats. In Plutarch and in Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians we find

  1. Communism VS Democracy

    and capitalism (economy) are not as independent of one another as Dryzek may argue in that example. As Schumpeter argues, the association of capitalism and democracy is purely coincidental, and that there are no necessary linkages between the two4. The support for this position comes from his belief that democracy

  2. To what extent do recent elections in the UK and the USA support the ...

    Surely voters may have been swayed by some of this. As well as that the candidates' personality has more of an effect than ever. It's the "candidate not the party." (S. Maisel, 2001: 56) that wins elections, and ultimately voters will always vote for who they think is best.

  1. The study of international or rather global politics, seeks to provide an account of ...

    This marks a point of contradiction in Bodin's work because he earlier redefined Aristotle's six forms of government into just three and held that the form of government is the way in which power is executed and that the people transfer authority to the sovereign giving him the right to act.

  2. Is consociational democracy democratic?

    This follows from Jan-Erik Lane's proposition that all societal groups will respect the rules of democracy if they have autonomy over their own affairs28. Federalism is the best-known method of giving segmental autonomy to different groups in society. Segmental autonomy may also be provided on a non-territorial basis which is

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