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The UK has a Representative Democracy meaning that the
citizens elect representatives to make decisions for them. Recently electoral
turnout has been fallen in recent years so there is a question to how
democratic this system we use is and if democracy is in crisis. The public’s
trust has been decreasing but research suggests that this is not due to
long-term social forces, but short term political ones, meaning politicians
have the power in their hands to change this. There are several factors that
are involved in creating the state of democracy in the UK that must explored to
decide whether or not UK democracy is in crisis.

 

One reason that the UK’s democracy could be in crisis is due
to decline in electoral turnout. From 1992 to 2001 electoral turnout dropped
very sharply from 77.7% to 59.5% an overall decrease of 18.3% this had a big
effect on democracy because as less of the population votes you could say the
legitimacy of the government is weakened. The main reason given to this drop in
turnout was that many people thought Labour would have a landslide victory so
there was no reason to actually go to the polls, this reason undermines the
argument that the UK is in a democratic crisis because the reason for the low
turnout was just voter confidence. Although still quite low turnout has been
making a steady recovery, most recently turnout was at 68.7%.

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Although turnout may be low, interest in politics outside
the ballot box has been increasing for the past 15 years. This could be due to
people not trusting the voting system and politicians but still wanting to be
involved in politics. If this is the case, then it proves that if there is a
crisis then it is politician’s responsibility to change this as there is
interest by the people. Even if people are interested in political parties,
without actually taking action it does not help the UKs democracy and the idea
of the UK democracy at crisis is further legitimized.

 

UK democracy may seem like it is in crisis, but research
suggests that the decline in trust and turnout is not due to long-term social
forces, but to short term political ones. These short term political forces are
brought up because of the lack of trust that the public has for politicians due
to allegations of misconduct and sleaze. These allegations brought up by the
media show how public opinion can be swayed, but not permanently as the media
usually creates short- term controversy. Even though the decline in trust may be
short-term, politicians must make an extra effort to be seen as productive to regain
the public’s trust and make sure that UK democracy is not in crisis.

 

In conclusion think that although there are several factors
that may point to the UK democracy being in crisis such as low turnout and lack
of trust for politicians, these factors all have an explanation or a simple solution
which can ensure democracy is upheld. As the UK is a representative democracy the
politicians are the voice of the public, they must make sure that they are
using their voice effectively and which will ultimately invalidate the view that
UK democracy is in crisis.

 

 

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