Archive for the ‘Democracy:UK vs Peers’ Category

How UK Democracy Compares with its Peers.

Jeudi, septembre 27th, 2012

The UK is consistently categorized as a “full democracy”, has scored a maximum 10 points on the Polity IV scale of democracy annually since 1945 and is one of a handful of countries that have operated continually as a democracy since the 1880s.
Interestingly, therefore, in “How Democratic is the UK? The 2012 Audit” , author Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Executive director of Democratic Audit and Senior lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Liverpool, discusses the findings of a range of statistical measures used to assess how well the UK compares with other established democracies.
He concludes that in virtually every case the UK ranks below the EU-15 and OECD-34 average for advanced industrial nations.
Given that any such assessment of whether UK democracy is improving or deteriorating is necessarily a subjective one, the audit identifies five problem areas with the contemporary operation of UK democracy, which are also common to all established democracies but seem especially pronounced for the UK:
1. The constitutional arrangements in the UK appear increasingly unstable, with devolution the most obvious example of this tendency, particularly given the demands for Scottish independence and Welsh constitutional preferences for progressively greater autonomy.
2. Public faith in democratic institutions is decaying, with a long-term decline in public trust of politicians and political parties.
3. Political inequality is widening rapidly in association with the widening of economic and social divisions.
4. Corporate power is growing with the density of connections between major corporations and MPs many times greater in the UK than in other established democracies.
5. Available indicators suggest representative democracy is in long-term decline in all established democracies but the UK compares especially poorly on most measures.
The author concludes with perhaps the most significant lesson to be learned. If significant and sustained improvements in UK democracy are to be achieved, a fresh constitutional settlement which builds on the successes of devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but from which the residents of England have been excluded, will almost certainly be required for the UK as a whole.