• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Should the UK reform the Electoral System used for General Elections?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Should the UK reform the Electoral System used for General Elections? The United Kingdom has had competitive elections since the 18th century, with calls for electoral reform dating back the 19th century. The system was almost changed in the 1930's by the Labour Government but they were defeated in the next election. The UK has never seen major change to its electoral system, but since the success of New Labour in 1997 it has become increasingly likely. To ascertain whether or not the system should be reformed, it is necessary to examine the current system and the proposed alternatives, whether in use or not, and to analyse issues surrounding possible electoral reform. The current First Past the Post (FPTP) system is the most widely used democratic electoral system on account of its simplicity. It provides a clear choice for voters, usually between two main parties but allowing other representatives to stand. This gives a clear majority to the winning party, meaning the elected government have a clear mandate so coalition governments are rare and therefore reform is more likely. The FPTP system retains the link between representatives and their constituencies, giving rise to a Parliament of geographical representatives. The main criticism of the FPTP system is that it has "an inbuilt disproportionality" (Rose). Minor parties are excluded from fair representation as the number of votes won does not equate to the number of seats obtained in Parliament. ...read more.

Middle

Many Labour MPs, when asked for their opinion on the matter, refer to their signing of the Make Votes Count "Call for Democracy". Typically, Conservatives are against electoral reform as they have traditionally seen most success under the current system. In England at least, the FPTP system often over-represents Conservatives and for this reason many see no reason for change. In the Welsh Assembly, however, despite one in five Welsh people voting Conservative, the party did not win a single seat in the 1997 Election. Conservative MP for Canterbury Julian Brazier refers to the Labour founded Jenkins Commission (ICVS) to show his approval of the current scheme: "As you know, the Labour Party set down four criteria by which Jenkins was to judge an electoral system: broad proportionality, voter choice, stable government and maintenance of a link between MPs and geographical constituencies. The current British system fulfils all of these proposals. In fact, our current system fulfils the criteria better than the 'AV+' proposal." Liberal Democrats are poorly represented under the current system and consequently the party advocates electoral reform. As mentioned above, minor parties suffer the most with FPTP and have the most wasted votes as a result of being third in a dominant two party system. When asked, the majority of Liberal Democrat MPs "follow the party line, i.e. STV, with AV+ as a step in the right direction," (Sue Doughty, Liberal Democrat MP for Guildford). ...read more.

Conclusion

The system ensures the targeting of marginal seats is reduced and producing majority governments, thus eliminating the possibility of coalition governments if the voters so choose. Conversely, the possibility of tactical voting is still probable and the ballot papers can be considered too complicated for the masses. The proposed larger constituencies damage the link between MPs and their constituencies, but not to such an extent that it would be greatly noticed as between 550 and 600 constituencies would still be in use. The system used to vote members into the devolved Scottish Parliament is the Additional Member System. This is similar to the AV+ model in that voters have two votes, one for their choice of the 73 MSPs voted in using FPTP and one for the 56 MSPs using proportional representation (top-up members). This is a system also used in Germany, New Zealand (called Multi Member Proportional Representation) and Japan. Elections for the Welsh Assembly are also carried out using this system. In Northern Ireland local elections, the Single Transferable Vote (STV) has been used since 1973. This is related to the AV system as voters indicate preferences on the ballot paper, but the STV works in multi-member constituencies. Voters can choose from a list of candidates proposed by parties so there is much greater choice and there are no wasted votes, as votes can be transferred such as in the AV system. When all votes have been cast, the winning candidate must achieve over a certain quota. Any votes over this are transferred to those voters' second preferences. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Information Systems and Communication section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Information Systems and Communication essays

  1. Feasibility Report

    Another 20% (�5,000) of the �20,000 budget will be kept for essential maintenance of each of the computerised system within the Perfect Pie Company. Along with maintenance of the new system, it would be advisable that an ICT or team of ICT technician are employed to ensure that all of

  2. I have been asked to write a report on current working practice and I ...

    They guess the time for tasks which they have never done, this is very risky if they can not deliver the product to client on time it will affect the reputation of their business and they will have pressure at the end to complete the project which could affect the quality of the product.

  1. Data Processing Task. Mr Peters, the man who runs this particular Samsung store ...

    does Test 36 When I select the frmSearchCustomerWithPostcode this box will appear It will then bring me to the form when I type in the postcode Test 37 When I select the frmSearchCustomerWithSurname this box will appear When I enter the surname it will bring me to the form Test

  2. ICT Spreadsheet System

    To produce this it takes a long time, thus the proprietor has to count the items in the stock room. > The receipt - the cashier has to write the item name and the price of the item, which is dated and given to the customer.

  1. User Guide. This system is for Regs Second Hand Cars. This user guide will ...

    * If 'Ocean Loans' was the cheapest option you would select the button 'Select Ocean Loans' to save the agreement. Validation: There is validation when creating an agreement. If this validation is ignored then you could encounter problems. 1. The first piece of validation is when selecting the correct customer ID number.

  2. Before the system can be installed and used by hatch end cars it is ...

    Details of member ID 11 should be printed with all his/her details clearly shown. Pass. None needed. 13 Yes exit macro and No exit macro. Normal data and integration testing. Click on Exit button on main menu: * Select YES * Select NO 1.

  1. Implementing a new system for Mastercare.

    (Please tick) [] Yes [] No [] Unsure 12. How often does the system need to be backed up? (Please Tick) [] Daily [] Weekly [] Monthly [] Less than Monthly Thank you very much for completing this questionnaire. Your answers will lead to a better system being produced for you and the company.

  2. IT and Society

    o Certain medical reported relating to an individual's mental health o Information being held for the prevention and detection of crime, or for the apprehension and prosecution of offenders Flaws In the Data Protection Act: o Personal data may be denied in the case of subject access requests under the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work