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Democracy in Britain

Matt Cole

eBook (PDF) i

This textbook brings together an introduction to the political theory of democracy since Ancient times and a critical picture of its place in Britain today.

The author examines the work of Plato and Aristotle, Rousseau and Mill, Marx and Weber, and locates them and others in the debate about what democracy means. He then scrutinises Britain's claim to be a developing democracy, from the power of the Prime Minister and the role of political parties to the influence of pressure groups and the media, as well as recent constitutional changes.

In the context of declining public trust in political institutions and increasing reluctance to vote, crucial questions are tackled: do we have a democracy, and why does it matter?

Key Features:

  • A wide-ranging, accessible introduction to the place of Democracy in Britain today
  • Divided into two halves: on democratic theory (reflecting its history, development, and key concepts) and democratic practice (examining political institutions)
  • Offers examples of documentary material to illustrate the ideas presented
  • Up-to-date: includes material written after the 2005 General Election


Part 1: Theory
1. Representation, Liberty and Democracy
2. The Origins of Democracy
3. The Emergence of Representative Democracy
Part 2: Practice
4. The Westminster Model
5. Critiques of British Democracy
6. The Remedies
7. Conclusion: The Puzzle of Participation.

About the Author

Matt Cole teaches Politics and History at King Edward VI Sixth Form College in Stourbridge, and has lectured on Social Sciences for the Open University and for Birmingham University. He has contributed to Politics Review, Modern History Review, Parliamentary Affairs and The British Elections & Parties Review amongst other journals, and broadcast as a BBC radio electoral analyst at the last four general elections.

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