Define Democratic Government Essay, Research Paper
1. Define Democratic Government. Suggest three Democratic inadequacies in Britain today.
Democratic government is a political system based on the principles of freedom and equality. Democratic government mental systems embrace multi-party Parliament. They advocate free and fair elections, where every voter has a one vote, and no vote counts more than another.
Democratic governments advocate basic Civil liberties such as Free Speech, Freedom to Worship, and the Freedom to move.
In a liberal democracy, Government is limited in its powers. Liberal governments are willing to be “checked and balanced” over their actions. And, are ultimately accountable to the voter.
In Civil Society, political pluralism is used. Power does not remain the hands of few; it is dispersed into Political parties, Pressure Groups, the mass Media, Trade Unions, and Religious institutions.
Britain fails to be Democratic in many ways:
The British electoral system of “First Past The Post”, is an undemocratic system of voting. Governments can win power with under 50% of the popular vote, and constituencies can be bitterly divided over slim majorities.
Britain has an unelected Second Chamber. Although the House of Lords have little powers, it remains an unelected body. Members of the House of Lords are usually selected by Prime Ministerial patronage. This promotes cronyism and corruption.
Britain does not have a written Constitution; this means that citizens have no specific Civil Rights, and Citizens have to rely upon convention and the law for their Rights. The lack of a written Constitution in Britain could be seen as one of the most flagrant democratic deficits in Britain today.
2. What is a Constitution? Outline sources for a Constitution in Britain.
A Constitution outlines the relationship between the government of the state and the citizens of the state. Essentially, this concerns the Rights and Liberties that citizens can expect within a state. This is most clearly illustrated in those states that have a Bill of Rights incorporated into their constitutions.
The British constitution contains a Bill of Rights, which established the rights of Parliament over the monarchy in 1689. However, there is no Bill establishing the Rights of citizens in relation to government. The main responsibility for upholding the rights of citizens lies with Parliament and the judiciary. Parliament should pass laws that uphold rights and liberties, while the judiciary should apply these laws in a fair and just manner to preserve rights and liberties.
3. Distinguish between Direct Democracy, and Representative Democracy.
Direct democracy is any system of Government in which all decisions are made by the collective choice of citizens, and not through representatives. Direct democracy contrasts with Representative Democracy. It is widely assumed that Direct democracy is only feasible if the body to be governed is small, and so able to register its preferences by repeated voting.
Representative Democracy is the process whereby the interests of the governed are ‘represented’ to those who govern them, for example through parliamentary institutions. The practice of representation in Britain has existed ever since the English Parliament was formed, however it has changed radically.