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

Is Britain a Democracy?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Is Britain a Democracy? (First Draft) Britain is, for the most part, a good example of a democratic state. For the purpose of this essay, I will assume that by the term democracy means the amount of power and control that the people of a community or society have over the decisions and actions of the ruling elite. However, one must not assume that Britain being a democracy is necessarily a good thing for the country, nor that all decent, straight-thinking people support democracy, indeed, some would argue that sometimes a strong dictatorship is what a country needs. On the surface, Britain would appear to be a model of democracy. In Britain, there are general elections every five years when the people can vote a party out of power if they feel that the government hadn't succeeded in doing what they set out to do. Elections are completely open and free; everyone who is over the age of 18 and holds UK citizenship is encouraged to vote. We have general elections to vote for a party but there are even more elections through which the people can choose a local councillor or an MP or even an MEP. ...read more.

Middle

Brits also have the right to freedom of race, religion and sexuality. Upon closer analysis, it becomes clear that certain aspects of Britain's democracy are not quite so democratic. Although elections in Britain are completely free and open, there are certain drawbacks to them. General elections occur once every five years, which seems a reasonable timetable for an election which could lead to change of government, however, the Prime Minister can decide to hold elections at any time he chooses before the five year period ends, perhaps when he is at his most popular. This supports the 'Elective Dictator Thesis', which was promoted by the Conservative, Lord Halisham in the late '70s. The Elective Dictator Thesis states that it is democratic to have elections and elections are what we have in Britain, however, during the minimum five years a party is in office, the public is practically helpless to influence government decisions or actions. Put simply, a party could be voted into power and then that party would have a free reign over the country and if the people were unhappy and the government ignored them, all the people could do is wait for five years and vote the party out. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Britain at the moment, there only a partial separation of powers as the spheres of government are somewhat merged. And the powers are not entirely balanced, with the executive holding the most power. There is an element of checks and balances between the spheres, however this checking does not interfere much with decision making because if there were more checks and more separation of powers, there would be more democracy but decision making would be much slower and this would portray the government as weak and indecisive. Some hold the elitist view, which proposes that the real power holders are always out of public view and are unaffected by the electoral system. Ken Livingstone once said, '...if voting changed anything, they'd abolish it...' Minority views are also an issue with British democracy. By the current system, if in a general election, Party A gets 599 votes and Party B gets 600 votes, Party B gets into office and the 599 people who voted for Party A will go unrepresented. (Apathy?) In closing, the British system of democracy is broadly democratic. Compared to other countries, Britain is a shining beacon of democracy, however, there are small but significant sections of the system, which are undemocratic and could be improved. 1 Khalid Mahmood Razaq ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics 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 GCSE Politics essays

  1. Final Draft for Democracy

    Also, many others sought out to come up with the same idea or at least the same basis like William Penn. He formed a haven in Pennsylvania. This haven helped him and his Quakers to escape religious persecution in England and in the early Americas.

  2. How and why did Federation occur?

    and Victoria (1908). How did voting rights of various groups in Australia compare with other countries? * Comparatively, Voting rights for women in Australia were achieved earlier than in other countries of the world with the exception of New Zealand, which gave the vote to women in 1893.

  1. American Democracy: An Ongoing Experiment

    This was in obvious reference to slavery, but has carried over through generations. Those who remained in the United States government, but did not agree with the Republicans formed an opposing party. Those with radical opinions, however, decided to exit the union rather than work within it to accomplish change.

  2. Conflict Analysis: Angola

    Following Lusaka, Savimbi was offered the vice-presidency twice and after a prolonged period he turned it down. Savimbi has directly demanded that he should have power over at least some of the military and mining operations in Angola. This would be an impossible compromise for the MPLA, because it would give Savimbi too much destabilising power in the capital.

  1. Evaluate the development of democracy in Britain from 1867 to the out break of ...

    Some P.M.s also thought that the aristocracy of labour were now responsible and intelligent enough to be included in the franchise, without the fear of producing radicals or revolutionaries as a result. The Reform Act aimed increase the franchise by lower and widen the property qualifications Thereby adding significant numbers

  2. What is the purpose of elections and do they guarantee a democracy?

    This is in stark contrast to coalition governments, which give enormous power to smaller coalition partners. A minority party, with a relatively small electoral mandate, has enormous power in frustrating the major party's manifesto commitments and policy. This can be seen in the Israeli government, where the minor party 'tail' often ends up 'wagging' the major party 'dog'i.

  1. Power and Democracy in the UK.

    In the UK people have freedom of association that means that you are free to join any political organization or pressure group. But naturally there are some restrictions; * The organisation must not try to seize power from armed forces or the police.

  2. Notes on Citizenship and Democracy.

    Also the media should be used as a powerful watchdog and be careful to avoid those that use it for their own interests. 1. It is through education that we have to instill in the young citizens rational and critical minds to control egoism and selfishness in a democracy. 1.

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