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To what extent does democracy in the UK need reform?

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Introduction

To what extent, does the UK democracy system require reform To an extent, the nature of democracy in the UK is in need of reform, as the current political system lacks the desired democratic attributes. The democracy system can only be described as severely flawed, as the issues surrounding the electoral system, low voter-turn out and lack of representation are far too great to ignore the failings of the UK's democratic deficit. A democratic state should ensure that power is derived from the citizens of the state, who are then able to elect their representatives. There are two contrasting types of democracy, direct democracy which ensures no separation between the state and its citizens and provides all citizens with a say in decision making, with referendums commonly used. There is also representative democracy, which ultimately sees the public elect a select few to act on their behalf. Firstly, during the 2010 formation of the coalition government involving Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, the UK's voter turn-out stood at a mere 65% despite the significance of the election. This highlighted the need for reform and the current deficit. The decline in voters is detrimental in the pursuit of a entirely democratic state. The below-par turn-out is largely down to the public's lack of engagement and interest towards UK politics and politics in general. Often, politics is often seen as inaccessible to the poorer sectors of society and for that reason they generally feel no need to vote. ...read more.

Middle

In Australia, all citizens are required to vote. However, despite the success there, it does not justify introducing it into the UK. This could increase the amount of 'rebels' who would see fit to abstain from voting or simply choose to vote for a party without partaking in detailed research. Therefore, this is not a required measure, as all citizens should retain the right to not vote, and the introduction of compulsory voting would eradicate this. In addition, the emergence of 'New Labour' has resulted in striking similarities between the policies of Labour and Conservatives. This has led to the current situation, as both parties are ideologically leaning towards the centre. This has resulted in a severe lack of choice for the citizens of the UK. This means that many potential voters will be unable to identify and relate to a particular party, and will therefore abstain from voting. This is therefore the reason, why prominent socialists or capitalists may feel that they would prefer not to vote. Also, the first by the post electoral system is outdated and in need of reform. The current system prevents the minority gaining an accurate representation within parliament. This means that often if a constituency is predominately Conservative, then a Labour supporter may be inclined to not vote as their vote will be essentially worthless. Also, the current voting system significantly reduces the chance of a rising party gaining power, due to the first by the post system. ...read more.

Conclusion

Often the media glamorize controversial issues such as the expense scandal, which then reduces the level of voters. This would require reform, as the media should be encouraged not to be as blunt with politicians personal matters. However, they would argue that they are acting in the public's best interests and simply trying to increase the public's political awareness. To conclude, it is almost certain that, the UK's democratic system requires reform for an array of reasons. The current voting system is often a deterrent for voters and doesn't accurately represent the views of the public, and an AV vote would be more suitable. Also, wider use of referendums have been proposed, however the sustainability of this is not clear, and for that reason direct democracy is not the solution, as it is more focused on short-term management of democracy. Also, this would run the risk of the introduction of 'tyranny of the majority' resulting in the minority being unable to exercise their democratic rights. Essentially, it is clear that reform is required, but it is tweaking which is required and not a overhaul, as this can only prove detrimental to the UK's democratic system. Reforms are needed to increase the level of voters, as citizens are the key to enhancing democracy and the emergence of digital democracy may aid this. However, this also has it's failings and may not be beneficial if the aim is to maintain the level of thought going into votes. Junaid O'Balogun ...read more.

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