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Evaluate the notion that the UK is a truly democratic nation

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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