The shift from government to governance has had an impact on the way politics are viewed by the people, and power seems to be decentralized and dispersed. This means that the institutional structures traditionally in charge of policy-making now have to share these skills with organized groups and communities of experts. This brings the question of whether this situation challenges the representative democracy of the UK. Indeed, does the loss of the government imply a transfer of power and decision-making towards the people? For those who view the state as an omnipotent and threatening figure compared to an individual, the existence of a multi-level governance is inevitable.
[...] For Thatcher, pressure groups were a potential threat to parliamentary democracy. When it comes to the relationship between the New Labour government and groups, Blair tried to cooperate with them, for example in his attempt to work with the CBI, although organised groups were not actively included in the government's actions. These two different positions towards organised groups reflect different views of the democratic process. I will first try to develop why organised groups can be seen as an evolution of the democratic process towards more popular participation; then I will present some of the deviations of this situation which can make organised groups a perversion of representative democracy; and I will finish with Klijn and Skelscher's four conjectures, which suggest that there can be other situations in the relation between organised groups and democracy Organised groups as an evolution of the democratic process towards more participation To make the case for organised groups as an improvement to the democratic process, their nature is a factor to take into account, as they involve the public, delegating some of the state power to citizens in different subjects. [...]
[...] Groups also act in a more affordable level, a more human dimension. Therefore, they can inform their members about the political mechanisms of the UK, which contributes to the creation of a civil society aware of the issues. Thanks to these kinds of structures, citizens are in a way coached and encouraged to develop a critic opinion and to manifest their interests. They provide specific expertise in certain matters and give a chance to people who, for social and economic reasons could not join the political leaders, and therefore act, in a way, as talent recruiters, giving opportunities, which is obviously a characteristic of democracy in theory. [...]
[...] Organised groups and democracy The shift from government to governance has had an impact on the way politics are seen by the people, and power seems now to be decentralised and dispersed. This means that the institutional structures traditionally in charge of policy-making now have to share these skills with organised groups and communities of experts. This brings the question of whether this situation challenges the representative democracy of the UK. Indeed, does the loss of the government imply a transfer of power and decision-making towards the people? [...]
[...] The first one, the incompatibility conjecture, indicates that organised groups and representative democracy are in conflict, that they are incompatible. This is due to the fact that the governance model implies the sharing of the state's sovereignty, and therefore weakens the state hegemony. Another reason can be the different types of representation that they both lead, and the difficulty of state institutions and groups to work together in coordination. What is more, the situation of governance blurs the distinction between public and private, and between state and civil society. [...]
[...] One of them is the transitional conjecture, in which governance is seen as a normal evolution of the system in which the state is central, in part due to globalization. Finally, the instrumental conjecture argues that the governments use networks in an instrumental way in order to deliver public policy. To conclude, it is undeniable that organised groups can be an improvement for democracy in certain fields. However, the importance which is given to them can not be legitimised when it comes to the process of policy-making, which is the skill of the state, and their influence should be kept in the level of civil society and expertise. [...]
Lecture en ligneavec notre liseuse dédiée !
Contenu vérifiépar notre comité de lecture