By Tony Wright
Electorate and matters is an essay at the nature and of democracy in Britain on the finish of the 20 th century. It seems on the generally held view that Britain is a version democracy, exposing it as a perilous fantasy that inhibits either radical proposal and real constitutional swap. The publication appears to be like on the culture of political and constitutional idea in Britain and at modern political fact, revealing a large gulf among the 2. Dr Wright, a revered instructor and educational lately elected a Labour MP, considers Britain's relatively acute type of a basic challenge of recent executive. whereas the state thinks of itself as a liberal democracy, its liberalism was once in truth in position good prior to democracy got here onto the time table. From the outset, democracy was once obvious as an issue by means of either conservatives and liberals. Constitutional concerns have re-emerged at the political schedule in recent times. Dr Wright discusses the capability wherein we'd circulation in the direction of a pluralistic, open and participatory democracy; he additionally argues, besides the fact that, that sensible reforms aren't attainable until they're associated with a brand new culture of radical constitutional idea.
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Additional info for Citizens and Subjects: An Essay on British Politics
More serious is the way in which these doctrines have been—and are still—regularly mobilized to block or curtail proposals aimed at enhancing the responsibility of the state to the people and their representatives. Thus the claim that the ventilation and redress of grievances is the function of the House of Commons Responsible government revisited 49 in holding ministers to account could be used to obviate the need for other mechanisms (such as the Ombudsman, which in deference to traditional doctrine may still only be accessed through Members of Parliament) and is still used to deflect demands for a proper system of administrative justice.
These, too, were traditionally cited as one of the informal pillars of the constitution; but they also found themselves swept aside as the accretions of a ‘corporatism’ which dared to suggest that governing was a complex and negotiated process in which there were many legitimate interests. Thus ministers decide. They may decide, as they did in a single week, to impose a broadcasting ban and end the right to silence in criminal cases. They may decide to abolish a level of local government, abolish the government of London, and take sweeping powers to curb and control the rest of the local government system.
This was warmly applauded by those who had urged just such a course as the way of saving democracy from itself, and who could therefore scarcely complain about a system of government which made this task easier than it should have been in the light of their own earlier analysis, or which accumulated many new powers for itself along the way. They might acknowledge a certain ‘paradox’ in what had happened, but not the means whereby it had happened. Their greater difficulty came in explaining why their recommended mode of government had not produced either the cultural revolution or the economic transformation which had also been an essential part of the prospectus.
Citizens and Subjects: An Essay on British Politics by Tony Wright