n the UK and suggest how it might be improved to mDescribe how the present democratic system works in the UK and suggest how it might be improved to make it more representative and more relevant to the electorate.In Britain we have a representative system of democracy that is supposed to ensure that everyone has a say in the government of the country.
This essay will explore the British system of democracy and then will consider whether alternative systems of representation are more effective to the electorate.Representative democracy is present in Britain. This system allows citizens of a constituency to elect representatives – members of parliament (MPs) to make decisions for them in the House of Commons. The constituents are given the opportunity to either re-elect their present MP or to vote for a new one to represent them in the House of Commons.By doing this the electorate has passed on the opportunity to directly influence any decisions made in parliament to his/her MP. The MP is representing his/her point of view. MPs from every constituency in the country meet in London in the houses of parliament within which can be found the house of commons this is where they debate matters and discuss acts to be considered for law.
The electorate cannot make decisions, however, the MP allows members of his/her constituency to voice opinions on matters through clinics set up by the MP, known as constituency clinics.Direct democracy is quite different to representative democracy in that it requires every citizen who is over the legal voting age and not in prison to vote. Voting like this represents the majority vote. Where as in a representative democratic society the electorate passes this power to their MP.
This is not practical in large-scale societies. It requires the electorate to fully involve its self in every meeting on every subject. It is acceptable to believe that the public cannot afford that scale of spare time. This problem could be seen as nothing more than a minor obstacle in the future due to the rapidly continuing technological developments.
Great Britain is a Liberal democracy as well as being a representative democracy it is, among others, derived from representative democracy. Governments who practice liberal democracy in their country allow freedom of speech, thought, assembly and religion. Liberal democracy is based on six main features. These are majority rule, where matters are voted on before being passed as law. The majority vote determines weather or not a law is passed. The next feature, free elections, has only been in practice since 1832.
this rule states that no electorate should be forced or bribed to vote. The electorates vote is secret. Every individual over the legal age has the right to vote excluding those serving custodial sentences with mental health problems or the lords.
This is known as universal suffrage. Rule of law protects the individuals rights and states that everyone in society is subject to the law and that no citizen can be punished without trial. Individual rights means everyone has basic rights, natural and human.
Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, first came up with these rights in the seventeenth century. He said people have the right to life, liberty and happiness. John Locke, also a philosopher in the same period, agreed with Hobbes but added the right to property. Hobbes and Locke believed that any infringement against these rights would be acting against nature. They saw natural rights as; equal rights, government by consent, individual personal liberty, responsible government and limited government (www.historylearning.
co.uk/gbpolitics.htm).General elections decide whose party is next to take residence at number ten. To vote in a general election you have to be on the electoral register but it is only since 1920 that women have been allowed to vote.
There are two ways to vote for your party. Voting by post is one and the more commonly used, voting by ballot is the second. Voting by ballot requires the voter to attend a polling station where one gives ones address, is then given their ballot paper. The voter then marks their vote and posts it in the box provided and leaves.Anyone can stand for parliament provided they have paid their deposit and at least ten registered people from your constituency nominate you. Britain uses a system called first past the post (FPTP) to establish who is next to run the country. The winner in FPTP is the candidate with the most number of votes favouring his/her party.
FPTP shows clear winners and losers. Ballot papers are simple, easy to use, the voter has only to put one clear mark next to their chosen party. This also ensures the counting of ballots is easy. After most polling days the results are usually known.
This also ensures minimal disruption within the countries political scene, allowing a new party to take over, with speed, or for the government standing for re-election to continue.Having looked in detail at the British systems of democracy I will now consider the arguments whether alternative systems are more representative. The main argument against FPTP is that the system does not represent the majority vote. There can be more votes cast against the winner than the winner has supporting it. The winner could have won merely by one votebut is the winner nerveless. One could argue that this can be reversed to say the losing party had even more votes against it than the winning.
Another argument against FPTP is that the system deters the voter from voting for what are considered to be minority parties. The voter being aware that their vote could/would be wasted. Minority parties loose out as a consequence of this. For example in the 2001 election the lib dems won 52 seats but only 19% of the total votes. 19% of votes cast should have equated to about 120 seats in parliamentFPTP favours the strongest political parties in the country. Meaning that no government would ever introduce a system that would threaten its position.
Under a system of proportional representation (PR) parliamentary seats are awarded according to votes. PR is seen by its supporters as the most successful way forward in the political world. There are many strands of PR but their supporters believe they all follow these advantages. PR undoubtedly represents the electorates wishes in the ballot box. Votes are not wasted as in direct democracy. Thus eliminating the possibility that voters could shy away from voting in favour of minority parties. These minority parties could come out of the election having won a fairer amount of seats in parliament.
PR allows the chance for independent candidates to participate in the election, giving the voter a broader variety of people to vote for. The independent candidates, argue supporters of PR, might bring new, fresh qualities to the system.One argument against PR is you may find you have to vote for parties whose beliefs you disagree with. The system could be too complex for the majority of voters. The consequence resulting in less people voting. Parties form coalitions with each other and so reduce the conservative/labour divide. This OK but a coalition government could give smaller parties an unfair amount of power.
Some parties could bribe the other parties saying if they pass one law for them they would pass another in return.In conclusion I believe that none of the systems above truly represent the electorates views. Direct democracy struggles to represent large numbers of people. British liberal and representative democracy with its FPTP system seems to silence all of those who voted against the winning party.
PR runs the risk of producing hung parliaments where no single party has the majority.Bibliography: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/gbpolitics.htm