Political life - The style of democracy

10 important questions on Political life - The style of democracy

What attitude do British people have towards the law?

They do not have much respect for the institutions of the law, but they deeply respect the principal of law. (there is not  much tax evasion like in other countries) However they do not like making new laws; wherever possible it's best to do without them. The country has comparatively few rules and regulations.

Rules and laws are taken seriously, the traditional feeling is to have laws where necessary but to do without where possible. This works both ways. Name both.

  1. Brits don’t need identification or driver’s license when out in public.
  2. Information that the government has about someone is private, and it’s hard to find out what they know about you.

Do British people carry identity cards?

No they do not because they are not obliged to .  Britain is a country with little governmental rules and regulations. Until 1970, when tourism to foreign countries became popular, British people didn't need and therefore didn't have a passport.

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The British don't like making new laws and the country has few rules and regulations which works both ways. How does this work?

There are comparatively few rules telling the individual what he or she must or must not do, and so there are comparatively few rules telling the government what it can or cannot do. 

What does democracy means in Britain?

They never had a hand in the running of the country but that they choose who is to govern the country, and then let them get on with it.

Does Britain have a freedom of information act? Why (not)?

Yes it does, but not until this century a law was passed which entitles people to demand information held by public bodies and it is not completely free: people have to pay to get  the information they want and sometimes information is not disclosed because that would not be in the public interest. Also there is a '30-year rule' which restricts access to government papers for 30 years and the Official Secrets Act obliges government employees to keep the details of their work secret.

What is the Official Secrets Act?

This Act obliges many government employees not to tell anyone about the details of their work.

Is voting compulsory in Britain?

No it is not.The traditional assumption is that people and state should leave eachother alone and so the only duties of the individual towards the state are: don't break the law and pay your taxes.

What are MI5 and MI6 ?

They are intelligence agents. MI5 concerns internal affairs and is equivalent of the Dutch'  AIVD, while MI 6 concerns foreign affairs. MI 6 is the British Secret Service which used to be really secret but its existence was publicly admitted in 1992.

How is democracy seen in Britain?

As a system in which the government is chosen by the people but then this government gets a relatively free hand in running the country. Governing and law making is not done by the people and a refendum is seldom held.

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