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British Democracy - the bestpossible system of government

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Introduction

British Democracy - the best possible system of government It is interesting to note that no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that our country has the oldest and best democratic system in the world, the facts point to the contrary conclusion. The more one looks at our governmental system and processes, the more one realises that it is an outdated democracy that needs upgrading. Despite our democratic pretences, we are a country that likes the security of our wholly uninspiring system of government and we are loath to change it! This opinion is probably one that you would not agree with, and perhaps this view is extreme. However, it is interesting to look at our modern democratic system and ask questions. The more one looks, the more one sees and the more one doesn't like. Let us begin by looking at the current Labour government, New Labour with all its promises and policies of the manifesto. This was to be a new era of change, of radical reform and dramatic difference. Three years on, one must ask oneself, how much has actually changed? The health service is still riddled with problems almost too profound to solve, the education system, despite labour's new initiative and huge promises of funding amounting to billions of pounds still retains many of the problems that existed under the previous conservative government. ...read more.

Middle

Essentially, the opinion of the masses is not necessarily the best policy, people often make decisions based on less than all the facts, or on gut feeling. These essentially lead to the masses having the wrong ideas of what is right for the country. Election promises are designed to please the uninformed masses, and chancellors are forced to save money in order to give the appearance of increased spending and lower taxes in the year before a general election. Essentially, what is best for the country can come irrelevant, and politicians work to improve only the areas that are perceived to please the voters. The pre-election 'feel-good' factor is used to great effect. Democracy, of course does have its strengths, it acts as a 'safety valve' and it keeps those in authority in touch with the people that they represent. Effectively, a leader that does not perform as required by his people will be removed in a democratic system, whereas in any other system of government a leader can become too powerful to the detriment of the people. As Lord Acton once said "Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely." However, democracy, whilst useful to ensure that no one person becomes too powerful or influential can become detrimental when applied too rigorously to every element of society as a whole. ...read more.

Conclusion

As I have already shown, the British party political system is fundamentally flawed, sismilarly, proportional representation causes as many problems as it solves. However, in my opinion, there is a resolution. The most effective system of government that I have seen operate is that of the Isle of Man. In my home land, there is no party political system, each candidate is voted in on their own individual manifesto, and each candidate is independent. This leads to a system where compromise between individuals is required, but this is far outweighed by the fact that each individual MHK (the Manx equivalent of an MP) represents the interests of their constituency and not that of the party. Furthermore, at the beginning of each year, the elected MHK's vote for a Chief Minister, rather than the leader of the elected party automatically becoming Prime Minister. This leads to a fairer election of a strong leader who essentially, along with his cabinet holds the responsibility for the passage of legislation. This seems to be an effective system of government, a democratic system with a powerful leader who can be effective and decisive. However, even the Manx system can be ineffective as with so many individuals, the passage of legislation can be slowed and compromises must be reached. Even this system has not solved all of the problems of the tendancy of democracy to be ineffective, but until someone invents a better system, democracy does present the best system of government available. ...read more.

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