Tag Archives: institution

Can democracy ever be ‘fully’ consolidated?

In democratic theories there is the debate whether democracy can be fully consolidated or not. There is the common argument that consolidation is possible in every democratic regime, but a ‘fully consolidation’ seems to be more unlikely.  This essay will discuss: Can democracy ever be ‘fully consolidated’?

In the last decades ‘democracy has been widely recognized as the best political regime yet invented, because its citizens are both treated with respect, dignity and have some say in political decision-making’.[1] In this sense, democracy can be consolidated, but not completely. To understand this: consolidation is seen as a scale; because of multiple different factors that are used to work out whether a democracy is consolidated or not. Therefore, it would be wrong to see democratic consolidation as a dichotomy. For example; if two democracies (A,B) were equal in almost every way sharing similar political institutions, ethnic divisions, size, region, political culture; it would be absurd to classify A as a consolidated democracy and B not just because A has more equality of wealth.  Instead a better classification would be to say that A is more consolidated than B. The bottom-line here is that, democratic consolidation is best understood as a scale; this means that for a country to be ‘fully consolidated’ it must be at the very top of the consolidation scale. Moreover, for a country to be consolidated it would have to be on balance more likely to it to remain a democracy than to revert back to a non-democracy. In this case; it could be argued that for such a state to exist is almost impossible as for it to do so all the possibly relevant factors would have to be a factor strengthening democracy or at least not weakening it. To a national level, even in Britain for example, the lack of a codified constitution, the rise of BNP and declining turnout can all be pointed to as factors which make Britain’s democracy not fully consolidated because under the right conditions they could make the UK slide into authoritarianism.  Although this is not likely the existence of these weaknesses in Britain’s democracy still mean that the UK can’t be called a fully consolidated democracy.

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British and US ‘special relationship’ (foreign policy)

 How far does Britain’s special relationship with the US constrain its foreign policy?

The ‘special relationship’ is a phrase used to describe close political, diplomatic, cultural and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. The term was first used in 1946 in a speech made by Winston Churchill. In recent decades, it has been argued that the’ special relationship’ is about control and how to keep both interests aligned. Today, is to believe that to a very large extent Britain special relationship with the United States constrained its foreign policy. This essay will discuss: How far does Britain’s special relationship with the US constrain its foreign policy?

As a concept foreign policy aims to ensure the security of its people and territory, promotes its aims in the international arena, and encourage co-operation with other countries. The special relationship between Britain and United States is close and robust because British and American values are essentially the same, which explains why national interests are often aligned. ‘The US-UK relationship is strong because it delivers for both of us. The alliance is not sustained by our historical ties or blind loyalty. This is a partnership of choice that serves our national interests.’[1] Still, in many aspects for both parties foreign policy is dependant one on each other. At the moment, it is evident that there is a distinctive relationship between Britain and the United States, but it exists at the top and bottom with very little in between. At the top, the common language and a degree of shared relationship and culture between leaders has clearly provided Britain with some extra diplomatic leverage with US policy-makers. At the bottom, there is a degree of detailed co-operation and understanding between the armed services of the two countries and their intelligence organizations. However, Britain and the US perhaps understood one another much less well than they assumed, despite the link of a common language. Britain was a ‘little island’, the US a subcontinent; Britain believed in the committed to the welfare state and massive state intervention in the economy; the US, at least in theory, remained committed to private enterprise. ‘Anti-Americanism in Britain was matched by certain anti-British sentiments in the US, especially among the Irish.’[2]

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