As g&p module 1 unit 1.1 week 3a the difference between direct and (anonymous for posting)
AS Government and Politics Module 1 : People & Politics Unit 1.1 Democracy & Political Participation
Week 3. The difference between direct and representative forms of democracy and their strengths and weaknesses: Representative.
What is representative democracy? * = functional representation *
Why representative democracy was developed? <ul><li>Impracticality of physical assembly </li></ul><ul><li>The masses were (in the 17 th & 18 th C </li></ul><ul><li>illiterate and therefore thought to be </li></ul><ul><li>unable to reach decisions about complex </li></ul><ul><li>political matters. Paternalism </li></ul><ul><li>The political elite ( US Founding fathers) </li></ul><ul><li>feared that the ‘tyranny of the majority’ </li></ul><ul><li>would discriminate minorities. Especially </li></ul><ul><li>that the interests of the property owning </li></ul><ul><li>classes would be swamped by the superior </li></ul><ul><li>numbers of the masses. </li></ul><ul><li>The representation of the people by a </li></ul><ul><li>minority of elected office holders was seen </li></ul><ul><li>as a desirable means of meeting the </li></ul><ul><li>concerns above. </li></ul>
James Madison "The effect of [a representative democracy is] to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of the nation...."
Historical evolution of rep. Dem. In the UK The “Rump Parliament” 1649 The Bill of Rights 1688 John Locke’s Treatises 1689 The Great reform Act 1832 Third reform act 1884 The first modern manifesto: Labour 1945
Edmund Burke Edmund Burke 1729 - 1797) was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher who, after relocating to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party. He is mainly remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. Burkean representation aka The Trustee model of representation In the trustee model of representation constituents elect their representatives as 'trustees' (or 'entrust' them) for their constituency. These 'trustees' have sufficient autonomy to deliberate and act in favour of the greater common good and national interest, even if it means going against the short-term interests of their own constituencies. The model provides a solution to the problem uninformed constituents who lack the necessary knowledge on issues to take an educated position. ( Contrast with Jefferson?) " his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. ... Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion ".
Parliamentary representation The British Westminster system was not originally designed for political parties, and some of the greatest early prime ministers, like Pitt the Younger , are well-known to have detested its developing partisan nature. The parties are officially registered, but their role in parliament is not officially recognised: the electorate votes for members of parliament, who officially merely happen to be generally party-aligned. The parties can be seen as accidental collections of members of parliament who generally vote the same way, but this system is not built into parliamentary law. However, unlike the American system, there is a much stronger relationship between the party structure and their arrangement in government - the party leader is usually the prime ministerial candidate at each election, and even opposition parties have 'shadow ministers' (declaring the role in government they would have were their party in power) - an arrangement possible since the prime minister, unlike a president, is not head of state but just first among equals in parliament, with a role of head of the executive only officially recognised as late as 1905.
Parliamentary (party) representation <ul><li>19thC saw ‘pure’ Burkean independence compromised by the development </li></ul><ul><li>of political parties </li></ul><ul><li>Representaives therefore had to balance Burkean judgement with the </li></ul><ul><li>the interests of their constituents and the demands of party discipline (doctrine </li></ul><ul><li>of the mandate) </li></ul><ul><li>The mid 19thC (before the advent of unified party structures) is therefore </li></ul><ul><li>sometimes referred to as The golden Age of the British MP (1846-1867?) </li></ul><ul><li>Even today party whipping can be suspended and MPs are allowed a </li></ul><ul><li>“ Free vote” eg. Abortion & smoking ban legislation. </li></ul><ul><li>Party Delegation? Now MPs appear so loyal that they have become effective </li></ul><ul><li>delegates of their party (doctrine of the mandate/legitimacy?)...what voters </li></ul><ul><li>have made their choice upon...so ‘rebels’ should consult local party or </li></ul><ul><li>constituents. </li></ul>
Representative democracy in the UK <ul><li>In our Parliamentary democracy our bicameral house holds political sovereignty. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the source of all political authority. Even Cameron with his ‘inherited’ monarchical </li></ul><ul><li>powers can only act with support of parliament. </li></ul><ul><li>Government (the executive) is drawn from Parliament (the legislature), and the former </li></ul><ul><li>is accountable to the latter (“checks & balances”). There are a few exceptions (Royal </li></ul><ul><li>Perogative). </li></ul><ul><li>All citizens are represented by members of parliament representing a constituency </li></ul>