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

To what extent does democracy in the UK need reform?

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom essays

  1. Government & Politics Revision Notes

    The List system This system involves multi-member constituencies. In a closed list system, each party submits a list of candidates for each constituency, but the ballot paper contains a list of political parties rather than a list of individual candidates. Seats are allocated to the party according to the proportion of votes won, a quota is calculated to determine how many votes are needed to win a seat.

  2. Democracy and Voting

    and change their policies so the electorate would like them. It is instrumental (based on one-off, not alignment). Very susceptible to press bias. Dominant Ideology: Individual choices are made by media, (Dunleavey and Husbands). Society is dominated by dominant people (Marxist in nature), the media deciceds what is debated so

  1. To what extent is Britain a liberal democracy?

    (BENTLEY, 2006) Despite that, it also could help to correct those wrong personal information in police records. However, the original Freedom of Information Act was designed to give considerable powers to citizens to see government papers.(BENTLEY, 2006) Because in a liberal democratic country, the government cannot keep secrets to public

  2. Apart from referendums, explain three ways in which democracy in the UK could be ...

    Michael Foot and Labour - both parties fiercely disagreed upon policy and how best to govern Britain. It was only when Tony Blair became Labour Prime Minister in 1997 that Britain's politics became consensual once more after the sourness of the Thatcher era, with Blair's swinging of Labour more to

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of the various ways in which participation and democracy could be ...

    This growing trend in postal voting shows public support and consensus of the system, illustrating that it really could be a viable option in tackling political disengagement. While there are benefits to postal voting, the negatives to the system are also significant.

  2. "Constitutional reform had gone too far, or not far enough?" Discuss

    Moreover, although the Conservatives have reluctantly ?accepted? devolution, they have given a definite no to Scottish Independence, much to the annoyance of Alex Salmon. The Conservative party, the traditionalists of Great Britain are very much against ?reform for reforms sake.? They were therefore rather reluctant to reform the House of Lords.

  1. Critically assess the extent to which there is a crisis in participation in UK ...

    Membership of political parties is also of cost, so this provides explanation as to why party membership is so low today. There is strong evidence of a trend decline in individual membership of the three largest parties since the 1960s (Marshall 2009).

  2. Define Direct Democracy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of referendums?

    Referendums undermine parliamentary sovereignty. Britain is the birthplace of democracy and the whole point of parliament is to make decisions that its citizens don't have to. There is also the issue that some situations may be to complex for people to understand.

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