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

"How democratic is the UK?"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Oliver Maltby Essay Question 1: Democracy "How democratic is the UK?" Democracy comes from the Greek word "demokratia" which when translated means "people rule". To decide whether or not the UK is truly democratic we have to see whether it follows the following criteria: Political toleration Multi-party competition A free press A constitutional commitment to abide by the results The ability to vote for representatives to fill offices that actually have some power. The UK follows this criterion therefore is a democratic system, and is one of the oldest in the world. However the Liberal Democrats argue that this system is unfair as is biased against them and exaggerates the support for the two larger parties. Despite this there are many positives to the UK's democratic system. Essentially in the UK there are only two "real" parties that are capable of being elected into a government, the Labour and Conservative parties, and possibly the Liberal Democrats as an influential party. In our democratic society if you do not vote for one of these three main parties then your vote has been effectively been "wasted", this brings me onto my first negative point concerning our democratic system. ...read more.

Middle

Despite the amount of people who can vote, only a small number actually do. This low voter turnout is almost a threat to the UK's democratic system as enthusiasm in the voting process is vital to sustain a good representative democracy. Voter turnout is measured by the percentage of eligible voters who cast their vote in elections for various parts of government. Image from http://www.tutor2u.net/ Turnout peaks at 82% in 1950 - but the long-term trend in voter participation has been downwards. By 1983, turnout was down to 72% - and despite an improvement in participation in both 1987 and 1992 - the last two general elections has seen a large drop in turnout. The overall level of turnout across the United Kingdom collapsed from 71% in 1997 to 59.3% in 2001. It could be argued that the UK is not truly democratic as only 60% of the eligible population voted, if the remaining 40% of the eligible population had voted then the whole outcome of the election might have been dramatically different. ...read more.

Conclusion

Though MP's have constituency buildings where the people can voice an opinion on an issue, the electorate plays no part in decision making, which means that although an MP is supposed to "be the voice of the people" in actual fact they don't as they themselves have the final choice in the decision making. Although the UK's Democracy has its problems, there is no better system; the only question that remains is how much democracy is required. A good example of "too much democracy" is the United States of America, the near perfect system of checks and balances where it is impossible for any one person to gain too much power. The American president, often referred to as the 'most powerful man in the world' can do little without the approval of the Senate. The result of this democratic constitution is that there is a certain amount of inefficiency. For example, after alcohol was banned in the United States in a post-war fervour, it took 14 years to get the resolution revoked, a demonstration of the checks and balances working to too greater effect. 1100 Words ...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. 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.

  2. T difficult for export orientated economics to sustain the land owning elites much longer. ...

    This strategy would be the pattern of economic development for almost half a century in both countries, but Brazil would manage theirs better and enjoy much greater growth than Argentina during this period. (www.weblinks3.epnet.com.externalframe.pdf. Accessed on 29th January 2005) For ISI to be a successful development model there are three

  1. Russia's Political Party System as an Obstacle to Democratization

    district contests in 1999 compared with the 1995 results, but this does not appear to be due to their reduced participation in single-member contests. The Communist Party competed in about fifty fewer district races but lost only 9 seats. Zhirinovsky's Bloc dropped from 1 seat to none.

  2. Accounts for the changes in voting behaviour in the last 30 years in UK ...

    majority of Psephologists, that the British people followed the set tradition of voting due to their social class and partisanship, started to gradually fade away with the electorate seeming to pay more attention to the issues that a particular party would address.

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

    which doing so is not what the other person wishes or prefers. Power and Organizations The Role and Anatomy of Power Struggles Power, and the struggle over it, describe the essence of the political process. Rothman and Friedman (in this volume)

  2. Analysis of Party Electoral Communications in the 1997 UK General Election.

    the result Party Ideologies - the thinking behind parties' strategies Politics and Communication - General Theory With regards to the topic, obviously communication is at the core of any campaign that was mounted. Therefore an explanation is required of how Politics and Communcation go hand in hand to achieve desired goals.

  1. To what extent are the socialist/ social democratic parties nationally distinct?

    After WW2, the social democrats were under the leadership of Kurt Schumacher, an anti-communist and strict socialist. Electorally, this was not a good spell for the party. Schumacher misjudged the post-war situation in Germany; his domestic policies were not accepted by the electorate.

  2. Would a world of democratic states prevent war?

    Furthermore because in a democracy, leaders usually share power with a legislature, it prevents leaders from rushing into hasty militant action. Secondly "democratic peace" theorists argue that democracies are more likely to view countries with a similar political system in a better light because they probably share many of the

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