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Assess The Extent To Which The Activities Of Political Parties Enhance Democracy (In The Uk)

1271 words - 5 pages

Today in Britain, as in many Western countries, we have a representative democracy. This is generally viewed as opportunities for participation for the electorate in the form of general elections where they vote for a representative for their constituency. The winning party (the party with the most representatives in parliament) then forms a government that is accountable to the electorate for its actions; if the party makes unpopular moves then it will not be voted in at the next general election. In Britain today, people also expect openness and information from the government so that they know what is going on and how their country is being governed. Britain's government has evolved around a party system and most democratic countries have a party system too, but it is open to debate whether the party system enhances modern democracies or whether it does, in fact, make them less democratic.Political Parties do perform many beneficial functions that help to enhance democracy. They do their best to represent the majority wish of the country because if they don't then they will not be elected. For example, the current Labour government has enjoyed huge majorities in the previous two elections because they have tried to produce a manifesto of policies that appeal to everyone, there are some policies in there to please everyone. This means that almost every section of society gets represented in some way, a very positive advantage in favour of political parties.Political parties are also very good at recruiting and training up political leaders, prospective leaders can join the political party of their choice and learn important skills that they will need to be a good leader such as the ability to communicate and a sense of what is politically acceptable. This political training means that better, more experienced leaders are produced by the party system. A significant advantage of the party system in liberal democracies is that they ensure organised government. Instead of government being a complex coalition of various different representatives with varying policies, voters can be sure that the party they voted for will follow the policies that it outlined in its manifesto due to party discipline where representatives are obliged to vote for their parties policies, even if they don't agree with them personally. Meanwhile, the opposition party gives the disillusioned voter a feeling that alternative views to those of the government are being expressed in parliament.The party system means that defined policies are outlined in each party's manifesto, giving the voter a choice on various issues and each party's viewpoint on it. The programme must be broadly acceptable to voters and party members alike for it to be successful, i.e., the party is voted into government. The party system has a significant advantage over the alternative, a no party system, in this area, because by only having a few manifestos to read, the voter can quickly and easily know...

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