To what extent is the UK a liberal democracy?

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  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 11-01-12 14:26

To what extent is the UK a liberal democracy?

1.     After Blair’s leadership following the 1997 election victory Labour brought reforms to fragment and spread power across the UK. For example in 1998 power was devolved from Westminster to a Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly following referendums in 1997 as well as a NI assembly and London assembly. This ensures that power is not exclusive to a narrow group in Westminster and allows the electorate to have more control over their lives.

However, this has arguably merely created a quasi-federal state as the devolved parliaments and assemblies have merely given the impression of power as it ultimately lies with Westminster. This consequently means that the Scottish Parliament can be dissolved by Westminster at any time, and must seek authority from Westminster to become independent.

2.     Civil rights have been affirmed with the introduction of the ‘freedom of information act’ 2000 which grants the ‘right to accesses.  Also the Human Rights Act 1998 affirms liberal beliefs such as freedom of speech and freedom of movement for instance. These rights allow the public to influence government through protests such as the 2003 ‘stop the war’ march in London. Also the judiciary has been separated from parliament after the Supreme Court Act 2009.

However, acts such as the 2000 ‘terrorism act’ arguably restricts both liberalism and democracy as it can impede the right to free speech and may


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