Protective vs Developmental Democracy

  • Created by: xfirereg
  • Created on: 22-02-19 22:59

To determine how democratic the UK is, it depends on how you view the essence of democracy. Nine annual surveys from thre Hansard society (first undertaken in December 2003) tell us that the average citizen in Britain is:

  • Dissapointed with the practioners, practice and outcomes of politics
  • Not actively engaged in the regular process of politics
  • Substantial anti-political sentiment in Britain expressed through a lack of trust and faith in politicians and the political system
  • Political alienation concentrated among some of the most disadvantaged in society

The 2012 Hansard survey told us that less than half of the population are certain to vote in the next election and that interest in politics has dropped to an all-time low of 42%. Generally, people believe that there is no point to politics and that it needs some effective reform.

Protective Democracy

Rooted in liberalism, the protective theory believes government exists to protect the rights of individual citizens and that democracy should be restricted to political life. A protective democracy acknowledges there will be an imbalance in wealth and assumes the elite will be in power. Broad-based civic engagement is discouraged unless it is related to protecting civil liberties. Politics is a necessary evil to protect the freedoms that are central to what democracy delivers. Effectively, the workings of democracy are a protection for individual freedoms. Requires a broad social consensus to underlie its workings. Democracy is achieved through electoral consent and public accountablity of politicians.

The narrow functions of protective democracy include some form of popular participation and a framework of laws which individuals can conduct their own affairs and pursue private interests. It expects enough engagement to grant the system legitimacy and wants to devise interventions to help restore faith in politics. Democracy is the only mechanism for choosing and replacing leaders which is promoted as a system where competitive groups of leaders vie for electoral support in the context of broader respect for individual freedoms and liberties. Democracy if pushed to the extreme and used in excess can become an infringement on liberty.

Protection from ourselves and government - fear of despotic governments with control and abuses of…


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