Problems with democracy in the UK
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Problems with democracy in the UK

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Problems with democracy in the UK




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Presentation on theme: "Problems with democracy in the UK"— Presentation transcript:

Slide1

Problems with democracy in the UK

Starter:What are the main principles of democracy in relation to democratic institutions?

Slide2

Institutions should be representative, accountable and responsive to the needs and demands of the people. They should also be limited by the rule of law and should respect individual and group rights.

Slide3

Main problems with UK democratic institutions

The

undemocratic nature of the electoral system.

The

undemocratic nature of the House of

Lords.

The

nature of prerogative powers and the way they are exercised by the prime minister,

unrestrained

by

law.

The

lack of a codified constitution.

The

excessive power concentrated in the executive.

The

problems Parliament has in calling government to account.

Poor

social representation in Parliament.

The

persistence of the unelected monarchy.

The

fact that parliamentary sovereignty can set aside rights contained in the

European

Convention

(Human Rights Act).

Slide4

What prospects are there that there will be meaningful reform in the UK to rectify these democratic problems?

The undemocratic nature of the electoral system.

The undemocratic nature of the House of Lords (review this if there has been reform).

The nature of prerogative powers and the way they are exercised by the prime minister, unrestrained

by law.

The lack of a codified constitution.

The excessive power concentrated in the executive.

The problems Parliament has in calling government to account.

Poor social representation in Parliament.

The persistence of the unelected monarchy.

The fact that parliamentary sovereignty can set aside rights contained in the European

Convention (Human Rights Act).

Slide5

Aside from problems with the institutions, what other problems are there with UK democracy?

• The decline of party membership and activism (does this matter

? Is the tide turning on this?)

• Disengagement with politics, indicated by low turnouts and declining party membership.

• Low turnouts at general and other elections, plus referendums.

• The low esteem in which politicians are now held.

• The lack of respect for representative institutions in general and Parliament in particular.

Slide6

Democratic Renewal – How can we solve the ‘democratic institutions’ problems?

• Reform of the electoral system. Is proportional representation (PR) needed, or will a

mild reform

such as alternative vote (AV) be sufficient?

• Creating a more democratic second chamber. Will it be necessary to give the second

chamber

more

powers?

• Developing a codified constitution. Will this help to check the growth of executive power?

Will it

help to protect individual rights?

• Possibly replacing the monarchy with an elected presidency. Is this necessary? How could

a

president

enhance democracy?

• Increasing the powers of the House of Commons. How can this be achieved? Will this

weaken

government

too much?

• Possibly introduce positive discrimination to ensure the election of more women and

members

of

ethnic minorities.

• Possibly increase the use of referendums to involve the whole population in the political

process. But

will this lead to voter fatigue and widespread apathy?

• Extending the scope of devolution to

decentralise

power. However, it may be that there is

limited public

support for more devolution.

Slide7

Which of these proposals seem the most cogent? Which are the most likely to be adopted in the near future? Is more democracy needed or is it preferable to maintain strong, decisive, central government.

• Reform of the electoral system.

• Creating a more democratic second chamber.

• Developing a codified constitution.

• Possibly replacing the monarchy with an elected presidency.

• Increasing the powers of the House of Commons.

• Introducing positive discrimination

.

• Increasing the use of referendums.

• Extending the scope of devolution.

Slide8

• The increased use of the internet and social networking by government, parties and other political agencies might engage more people in politics, especially the young.• Extending the voting age to 16 plus might engage young people at an earlier stage.• The reform of institutions, including a reformed voting system, might possibly help to correct the low esteem in which politicians and institutions are now held.• Citizenship education might be more focused on respect for institutions and an understanding of key issues.• The further use of television debates, as used in the 2010 and 2015 elections, might engage a wider range of people.• Improved and more convenient voting systems, such as postal votes and internet voting, might help to increase turnout.

Democratic Renewal

How do we solve the ‘relationship between society and state’ problems?