Democracy in the UK
In the UK, there are 3 types of democracy:
- Participatory democracy:
- Where everyone has the opportunity to vote.
- Means 'Government of the People.'
- This provides them witht the ability to participate in politics.
- Direct democracy:
- Where people can make political decisions themselves.
- This has a sensitivity to public opinion.
- E.g. The Scottish Independence referendum 2014.
- Representative democracy:
- This is where representatives are elected to represent and govern the people.
- Therefore, these representatives are held accountable as the people have elected them.
Why is democracy important
Democracy is important because it:
- Establishes and protects freedom
- Protects minorities
- Control government power
- Encourages popular participation
- Disperses power more widely.
Democracy establishes and protects freedom
Democracy is important because it establishes and protects freedom given to the people:
- The turning point for western democraqcy was the French Revolution in 1789, which was an attempt to free the people from the autocratic monarchy.
- Today, democracy ensures that no government can threaten freedom.
- E.g. In 1990 the Soviet Collapse, where most of the new states adopted a democratic system.
- Most recently, the 'Arab Spring' of 2011-2012, was where the people living in states, such as Tunisia, Egypt and Syria rise up against the government, because they didn't want to be ruled autocratically.
Democracy protects minorites
Democracy is also important because it protects the interests of minorities:
- This is known as pluralist democracy.
- This means that the minorities will be free of discrimination.
- It also means that all groups need to be taken into account.
- However, it has been argued that democracies is where the majorities rule 'tyranny by the majority' where the minorities are left behind.
Democracy controls government power
Government power is controlled by democracy:
- It is believed that power tends to corrupt those that wield it.
- Therefore, if the power is in the hands of the people, by elections, the people can feel safe from corruption.
- Democracy stops corruption and prevents the leader from having all the power.
- This is done through general elections every 5 years, which secure fixed term Parliaments.
- It is also done through defeating the PM and their government by a vote of no confidence.
Democracy encourages popular participation
Democracy is also important because it encourages popular participation:
- Democracy ensures that people have the right to be informed and directly involved in influencing decision making.
- People can be politically educated, through the media etc.
- They can also participate in politics, through voting in GEs and referendum, singning a petition and joining a PG.
- E.g. In North Korea, people cannot use Google.
Democracy disperses power more widely
Power is dispersed more widely in a democracy:
- In countries, such as Syria, China or North Korea, power lies in the hands of small elites, where power is taken from the people.
- However, in a democracy, this power is spread out to the people, Parliament etc.