To What Extent Is Britain a Democracy?

Topics: Elections, Political party, Democracy Pages: 9 (3473 words) Published: November 5, 2008
It can be argued that Britain is both democratic and undemocratic; this can be shown via a range of issues relating to British politics and the society in which we live. Democracy is a form of government in which supreme power is held completely by the people under a free electoral system. It states that all citizens have equal access to power and that all people enjoy the right to universally recognised freedoms. It is also the freedom of expression, speech and other civil liberties.

The selection of Prime Minister remains undemocratic in the UK. Although society has the power to vote for a political party to govern the country in a general election, citizens cannot choose their Prime Minister. The leader of each party is elected by MPs, and if only one candidate stands for leadership they are elected by acclamation (a simple vote without ballot – usually by voice, those for or against). In general elections, electors vote on the party they wish to govern the country, a voter’s decision should be made on the announced policies and beliefs of the party. Many people feel that electors vote for the qualities and personality of the party leader instead of the party itself. This can change opinion polls greatly and therefore affect the final outcomes of elections. In 2007 Labour leader and Prime Minister Tony Blair stood down as PM. Tony Blair was elected in 1997 with a landslide majority over the Conservatives. No election was called when Blair stood down, so Labour continued to govern the country and the party members elected a new leader to immediately take over. Gordon Brown was successful in the leadership contest and became Prime Minister in 2007. In 1997 the British people chose Labour and Blair as PM to govern the country, but last year Brown was brought in by the party with no vote taken by the public. This is argued to be undemocratic as it defeats the use of the electoral system and electors did not chose Brown to be Prime Minister.

The global economy is the status of the world’s financial situation and its stock markets. This incorporates world trading, shares, business and industry. All countries trade with each other in imports and exports, this adds to the global economy. There are some set regulations by institutions such as the European Union, but these cannot control the economy of the whole world. This is why the global economy is an undemocratic system. Individual citizens have no say in the economy of the country, let alone the global economy. Governments can have a dramatic effect in the economy of their own country, but cannot be held responsible for the economic state of the rest of the world. Larger countries with developed economies such as the USA can have an effect on global economies as a result of changes implemented in their own country. In recent news, the USA wishes to intervene with their economy which is currently suffering, and inject a phenomenal $700 billion in a bid to rescue banks and businesses. Being such an influential super-power, this scheme is likely to have an impact on economies across the world. This adds to the belief that there is a poor state of democracy in the global economy.

The electoral system is an example of an undemocratic political system; some believe that it is the best form of government although undemocratic. The phrase related to the electoral system is called “First Past the Post” or “Winner Takes All”. In a majority rules system present in elections today, the person/party with the most votes wins. The combined total votes of the other parties (those who did not want the eventual winning party to win) usually out numbers the votes for the winner. This shows that a larger number of people preferred another party. A majority of votes determines the winner in an election. The winner could only by a matter of a few votes. This is seen as undemocratic as the other party/person was very nearly as popular. The alternative to this system is...
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