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To what extent have the Labour government's attempts to reform local government made it more democratic?

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Introduction

To what extent have the Labour government's attempts to reform local government made it more democratic? When considering what makes something more democratic then something else, a firm understanding of the word democracy is needed. The Collins English Dictionary defines democracy as, "1. A government for the people or their elected representatives. 2. A political or social unit governed ultimately by all its members." Democracy come from the Greek words - damos meaning 'the people' and cratos meaning 'power' - in other words it means 'people power'. However there are many different systems of government that would claim to be 'democratic'. So what democracy means in context to the English government is a government for the people by the people. Recent reforms in Local governments by the Labour Party have made it much more democratic. ...read more.

Middle

The local governments should not be seen as subsidiaries of the national government and local implementers of national policies but councils should belong to local people but the government. This might have led people to believe that there is not point in voting in local elections because they are of no relevance. This can be seen by the extremely low turnout usually below 40%. But not because local government is getting more power through the reforms, people are starting to realise that the local issues are important. By people voting and expressing their views it is decreasing democratic deficit thus making it more democratic. Another reason why the local government will be more democratic is the councils and councillors will become more accessible. This will increase accountability because people will become more confident in their local issues. ...read more.

Conclusion

Before, local councillors were people who wanted to do it and were not paid for working but the were for travelling expenses. This meant that about 36 hours of free time were needed a week too sufficiently to the job. This meant that the only people who wanted to be councillors were white, middle class men who supported the Conservative Party. This was not very democratic because it is not a good representation of the community. But the reforms have made this a full time job and the councillors and mayor have to be directly elected. This means that all people can become a councillor; black, white, male, and female. This is much more democratic. Overall the new reforms have made local governments much more democratic because the biggest addition to it is that it involves greater public participation which is what democracy is all about; a government for the people by the people. ...read more.

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