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How democratic is the UK? DO NOW Take turns explaining these terms to the other students on your tables, using examples wherever possible: Direct democracy.

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Presentation on theme: "How democratic is the UK? DO NOW Take turns explaining these terms to the other students on your tables, using examples wherever possible: Direct democracy."— Presentation transcript:

1 How democratic is the UK? DO NOW Take turns explaining these terms to the other students on your tables, using examples wherever possible: Direct democracy Representative democracy Liberal democracy Parliamentary democracy

2 Learning objectives To explain the democratic underpinnings of the UK political system To explore some limits to democracy under the ‘Westminster’ model To prepare for our first extended writing task

3 Essay task ‘The parliamentary system in the UK is significantly undemocratic.’ Discuss. (25) You must address at least three of the four topics we will cover in class today, i.e. ‒Bias in the voting system ‒Declining political participation ‒Fusion of legislative and executive functions ‒The influence of undemocratic institutions

4 THE WESTMINSTER MODEL - OVERVIEW

5 Constituencies at-a-glance There are 650 electoral constituencies in the UK—533 in England, 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland. The average number of voters in each constituency is currently ~68,175. Registered voters in each constituency elect one Member of Parliament, who sits in the House of Commons, using a first-past-the-post voting system. The number of constituencies, their size, composition and borders are regulated by the Boundary Commissions for each of the four countries. The map shows the outcome of the 2010 General Election by constituency.

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7 The voting process

8 What are the three branches of government? ExecutiveLegislativeJudiciary What it doesMakes policyPasses lawsInterprets laws UK examplePrime Minister & Cabinet ParliamentSupreme Court and Judiciary

9 Executive (President & Cabinet) Legislative (Congress) Checks and balances What is the separation of powers? Judiciary (Congress) Electorate Legitimacy & Accountability Electorate Legitimacy & Accountability

10 Executive (Prime minister & Cabinet) Legislative (Parliament) PersonnelAccountability What is parliamentary government? Electorate Legitimacy & Accountability

11 Executive (Prime minister & Cabinet) House of Commons PersonnelAccountability What is parliamentary government? Electorate Legitimacy & Accountability House of Lords

12 Parliament as a representative body There are problems with how Parliament is seen as a representative body, because there are different interpretations of representation. As an elected body, it legitimises executive power, but serves also to link citizens with the political process. It acts as a safety valve and allows MPs in Parliament to articulate the interests of different groups in society to government. Parliament fulfils the task of both general and specific representation. The representation of constituents’ grievances is a traditional role of MPs. The significance of Parliament to the public is reflected in the extent to which it remains a magnet for the expression of opinion and dissent. Millions of letters flow into Parliament each year. Organisations arrange mass lobbies of MPs. Protesters stand with banners and megaphones outside Parliament. These huge demonstrations show that, for many citizens, Parliament remains relevant.

13 Group research task Each group has 15 mins to review the chapter and to identify what they need to know more about in order to explain their specific topic. They will then have 20 mins to prepare a short presentation on their topic. Presentations should be no longer than 5 mins and should include analysis rooted in specific evidence.

14 Essay task ‘The parliamentary system in the UK is significantly undemocratic.’ Discuss. (25) You must address at least three of the four topics we will cover in class today, i.e. ‒Bias in the voting system ‒Declining political participation ‒Fusion of legislative and executive functions ‒The influence of undemocratic institutions

15 Plenary What other limitations on representative democracy in the UK can you think of?

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