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Do political parties promote or

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Introduction

Do political parties promote or threaten democracy? There are indeed several aspects in the composition of political parties that threaten democracy in the UK, whilst other aspects may promote democracy. Careful analysis must be done in order to establish to what extent either is true. On the one hand, it may be argued that parties in fact promote democracy for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they assist the electorate by offering them a coherent choice, allowing people to vote democratically. Rather than the electorate having to choose between several members of each party, and having to place votes for central government subsequent to placing local constituency votes, voting is made simple and straightforward. Voters have merely a choice between separate parties, and beside each party is one pre-appointed MP Representative. Furthermore, by engaging in extensive and vigorous campaigns before elections, and thereby holding conferences; rallies and distributing party manifestos, parties facilitate the electorate to make educated decisions on polling day. This further ensures democratic voting, as it not only assists the voters to vote for those who they realise they most identify with ideologically, but party campaigning also gets more of the public involved, ensuring a higher turn out at the polls. ...read more.

Middle

At this time Labour chose to adapt its policies, and lose a lot of its socialist values. Under 'Old Labour' state ownership was held under high regard. But after Thatcher's privatisation of state businesses, Labour acknowledged that it would be dangerous to radically reform businesses and bring them back under state ownership, thus they modernised their policies adapting them to the New Britain, by sticking to privatisation which had been warmly received. This promotes democracy, as policies are adapted to suit the electorate, rather than parties imposing unwanted, outdated ideologies upon its citizens. However, it has also been argued that many aspects of political parties actually threaten democracy in the UK. Firstly, although the electoral system is indeed simple to understand, party choice is limited. Relatively few parties gain seats in the House of Commons, which leads to tactical voting among the electorate: Many people find that their favourite party has no chance of winning in their constituency, and so they cast a vote for the candidate they consider most likely to stop their least favourite party winning. This threatens democracy, as poll results consequently do not reflect voters' actual preferences. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tony Blair did the same with his decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003, sidelining many in his cabinet, making the decision without their support and acknowledgment. This threatens democracy, as parties are often unable to carry out their policies for which they were supported at election time, as long as cabals are able to run parties to serve their own narrow political interests. Furthermore, although some parties have shown themselves to be adapting their policies, parties often water down these new ideas to fit their ideological framework. They often avoid radical policy change for the sake of political safety. This threatens democracy as it narrows the scope for proper political debate on key issues. In conclusion, although it can be argued that political parties are indeed promoting democracy through several factors of their composition, it is evident that there is still much room for improvement. Perhaps stronger unity and communication between party leaders and members or even electoral reform could be the next step. Either way, it is clear that parties must re-evaluate their respective standards of democracy, and ensure that steps are taken to raise these levels, and thereby increase overall democracy in the UK. Esty Waldman Year 12 Politics ...read more.

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