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UK Political System - Essay Example
Pages 10 (2510 words)
To determine how few or how many checks and balances the British government labours under, and whether they have increased or decreased over the years, it is necessary to note the special features of the British democracy. First, the UK has an unwritten Constitution or, more appropriately, an uncodified one; second, it has a unitary system of government that has remained unimpaired by devolution of powers to subnational States, such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland…
Fifth, there is a two-party system which keeps the party in power continually on its guard lest the Opposition should make political capital out of just one of its tumbles on policy; sixth and last, there is a culture of democracy that preceded formal establishment of democratic institutions.
Parenthetically, checks and balances are a lot more than mere separation of powers: the essence of the latter is autonomy for every branch, which can only ensure that one branch of the government does not poach on the particular preserves of endeavour of any other. But checks and balances ensure that no branch of the Constitution lets another overreach its powers. For example, parliament makes laws and the judiciary interprets them in the light of the Constitution, even though in the case of Duport Steel versus Sirs in 1980 the judges said "it is parliament's opinion on these matters that is paramount". Interestingly, under the British Constitution judges cannot be removed from office except by impeachment which has been very rare. Also, the executive is discouraged from criticising judicial decision.
The US President is often called the world's most powerful functionary. ...
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