The United Kingdom is a democracy with a constitutional monarch. Queen Elizabeth is the head of the nation, a prime minister is the head of government. These members of parliament have to be elected by a vote.
The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution, however, there is an ‘unwritten constitution’, instead of being one formal written document, Many different sources including statute law, case law made by judges, and international treaties make up the constitution.
The central government is the political authority that governs an entire nation. It is the highest layer of government in the UK that operates across the whole country. There are certain responsibilities which only this level of government carries carry out. The central government signs treaties and agreements with other nations, bring in new laws or reform old laws which need to be changed, it also represents and defends the country. Different political parties make up the central government, there are three main political institutions, The Monarch, The House of Commons and The House of Lords. All the institutions play a part when it comes to making laws and signing treaties. The government helps the public in many different ways, for example, the government helps fund public education, provide military protection, provide health care and housing to people who are in need. They also set up organizations for relief in times of crisis. People who want to help can donate through government organisations and the government will make sure that people’s money goes to the right places. The central government invests into the public services to keep people safe, reduce crime and the fear of crime for example, “In December 2017, the government announced that police funding is set to ‘increase by £450 million in 2018”.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:
“Whether it is your local forces, the national picture or counterterrorism capabilities, this is a strong settlement that ensures forces have the resources they need to keep us safe”
“Taxpayers will invest more money in forces because the work our officers do to protect us is absolutely vital, and we recognise demand is changing”
Local government – Responsibilities of the Local Government are:
· Emergency Planning
· Highways and Traffic
· Social Services
· Refuse disposal and collection
· Tax and council tax collection
· Environmental health
· Registration of Births, deaths and marriages
· Planning and development
· Street lighting
· Rights of Way (CROW Act)
· Registration of electors
There is a regional council which is broken down into smaller local councils. The local councils enforce and develop the laws in the local area and is primarily focused on the happiness and safety of the residents in a local area. This means that they have to do things like making sure the roads are safe to drive on, inspect local companies, keep the environment clean by reducing litter, monitor the amount of crime in the area and provide an appropriate response to an increase such as strengthening the local police force. They also build schools, hospitals and other social care buildings and make sure they are up to a good standard. The central government set standards which need to be met by the local government. The Central government give the local government a certain budget to meet all of the standards, meaning that the money needs to be distributed wisely so that things like street cleaning or the development of plans for construction for things such as libraries, leisure centres and housing can be implemented. Recently bins in the Nuneaton were not being collected due to bad weather conditions.
“Unfortunately due to the high volumes of refuse presented and problems with getting our refuse collections trucks into Lower House Farm and Coventry’s Waste to Energy Plant (the places designated by Warwickshire County Council for waste delivery on Saturdays), around 20 percent of all collections scheduled for Saturday, January 6 were not completed,” Cllr Longden explained.
“Extra crews have been placed on the incomplete rounds and will collect all outstanding bins by the end of today, Monday, January 8. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and request all residents to keep their bins presented until collected.”
The Local government work with the public services to ensure that people living in the local area are happy and does everything possible to ensure that all of their responsibilities are carried out.
MAJOR DEVOLVED POWERS
Agriculture, forestry & fishing
Agriculture, forestry & fishing
Health & social welfare
Enterprise, trade & investment
Justice, policing & courts*
Fire & rescue services
Justice & policing
Highways & transport
Main responsibilities of the devolved government
· Civil and criminal law
· Housing and local government
· Executive function
· Main roads, traffic lights and controls
The 3 Devolved Parliaments in the UK:
· The Scottish Parliament
· The Welsh Assembly
· The Northern Ireland Assembly
Devolution is a process designed to decentralise the government, it distributes powers to the three nations, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
These parliaments are self-contained, meaning that they do not have to go through the UK Parliament in Westminster before they pass a law. These parliaments are accountable for their own systems such as education, health and criminal law. A civil servant working for the any of the governments may need to work with one or more of the devolved administrations to successfully implement a policy or deliver a service. The devolved governments may work together to manage the public services or may be given exclusive responsibility to certain services, for example, wales Is responsible for the fire and rescue service. Whereas Scotland and Ireland are responsible for justice and policing.
Evaluation of the different levels of government
The central government is the political authority that governs an entire nation, it is the main control point of a state which signs treaties and agreements with other nations, bring in new laws or reform old laws which need to be changed and also represent and defend the country. The law is all created with the wellbeing of citizens in mind. The central government is needed so that the country can be represented in a structured manner, without it the country would lack a structured method of representing the nation which could lead to more chaotic ways of expressing the opinions of the nation. The government prevents chaos and brings countries together having different departments in places such as the Home Office or the ministry of defence. The home office controls security and policing in the UK, whereas the Ministry of Defence protects and defends the UK from terrorism.
The central government have the power to control the amount of money which goes into the public sectors and sometimes make cuts from the services to decrease any budget deficit, this effects services like the Police and Ambulance and fire brigade. These cuts mean that the services will have fewer resources to serve and protect the nation which puts the public at risk. Regardless of this, the cuts are still made. The government need to ensure that terrorism doesn’t happen, which is why so much power is given to the Home Office which controls over MI5 who keep the nation secure. Giving this power over is necessary so that the departments can carry out their own tasks and spread responsibly around makes things easier for everyone. However having this much power can be bad as people working for these agencies might violate citizen’s personal lives, as they have access to such high levels of surveillance. As the government has so much power, people with high levels of authority may abuse the power they have and only do things which benefit them own interests.
The government should be constantly assessed by different companies so that they cannot make laws which are in their favour or be bribed by other major organisations to do so, the bank accounts of people working in the government and the circulation of money should be inspected, this will prevent corruption as people would not want to be exposed for being corrupt.
The local government enforce and develop the laws in the local area. The local council is primarily focused on the happiness and safety of the residents in a local area. This is where people in the Local area should go to as they listen to people’s views and opinions on the area and try to fix any problems. Using the local governments is effective as the central government does not have enough time to handle everyone’s issues from all areas of the nation, having smaller authorities is a much better option. Local governments can focus on a specific area and manage things like litter cleaning, checking street lights, collecting refuge and making sure the roads are clean.
Whenever the local authorities have a plan which requires more money than they can have taxpayers have to fund the extra cost. This could be done through raising council tax or government grants.
Devolution is a process designed to decentralise the government, it distributes powers to the three nations which make up the UK, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. This distribution is good as it takes stress of the central government as a whole and makes it easier to focus on specific responsibilities. Devotion, however, has led to the UK being broken up, for example, the UK had a referendum on Scotland’s independence as they did not want to be part of the UK anymore.
Overall devolution is a good thing as peoples needs can be catered to much easier and gives more freedom to the people. Devolved Parliaments can govern the different regions more effectively than the central government can as the central government is in Westminster which is far away from the different regions.
How to vote
You must register to vote before you can vote in UK elections or referendums
In England, Scotland or Wales, you can register to vote online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.
To register to vote in Northern Ireland, a Northern Ireland registration form needs to be completed.
People can vote anonymously for safety reasons.
In England, Scotland or Wales a register to vote anonymously from gov.uk should be completed.
In Northern Ireland, a form from the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website should be completed.
Ways of voting
First Past the Post, is a voting method where members of Congress are elected in single-member districts, the winner of the congressional seat is the candidate with the most votes. The losing party or parties win no representation. However people cast their votes directly to a political party in Proportional Representation and the distribution of seats is proportional to the total votes cast for each party, for example, if a party gained 30 percent of the total votes, they would gain 30 percent of the seats.
BASIS FOR COMPARISON
FIRST PAST THE POST
First Past the Post, is a voting method where members of Congress are elected in single-member districts, the winner of the congressional seat is the candidate with the most votes.
Unlike (FPTP) votes are cast directly to a political party and the distribution of seats is proportional to the total votes cast for each party.
The entire country is segregated into various geographical units, i.e. constituencies.
Large geographical areas are termed as constituencies.
A single representative is elected from each constituency.
One or more representatives can be elected from a constituency.
Votes are cast for one candidate.
Votes are cast for the entire party.
The winner of the congressional seat is the candidate with the most votes. The total seats allotted the winning party may or may not be equal to the votes. As opposed, in PR system, the party gets seats in proportion to the votes polled for them.
The amount of seats gained Is proportional to the number of votes, for example, if a party gained 30 percent of the total votes, they would gain 30 percent of the seats.
In FPTP system, the total seats allotted to a political party may or may not be equal to the votes. As opposed, in PR system, the party gets seats in proportion to the votes polled for them.
Winning candidate gets the majority votes.
People know the candidate whom they voted for which means that they know exactly who is not serving them properly, so they can ask questions.
There is no one specifically who can be held accountable as a party is voted for rather than a single person.
Clashing of Ideas
Since the candidate who wins is the one with the most votes and the political party gets seats in the Parliament, there is no clashing of ideas.
Because multiple parties have seats, even parties with a low number of votes, clashing of ideas can easily occur.
In 2011, the British public was asked in a referendum on whether they wanted to change the system to the alternative vote.
This is an article from the Telegraph.
“David Cameron: why keeping first past the post is vital for democracy”
“Prime Minister David Cameron issues a final rallying cry to vote “no” in the referendum on bringing in the electoral vote.”
(FTPT) is a simple way of electing a person who is wanted by the majority of people, the candidate who gets the most votes wins. It also prevents clashing of ideas, this can be looked at as both negative and positive. The clashing of ideas from different parties’ when using proportional representation could lead to a compromise which will give everyone some sort of satisfaction, however, this means that ideas will never fully be carried out to their full potential. With (FPTP) there is not a clashing of ideas, which means things are agreed on and implemented quicker. This is an efficient method but doesn’t promote as much discussion and compromise. Problems can be seen more easily in (FTPT) since people know the candidate whom they voted for which means that they know exactly who is not serving them properly, so they can ask questions. Whereas there is no one specifically who can be held accountable in proportional representation as a party is voted for rather than a single person.