• 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. To what extent would the wider use of referendums improve democracy in the UK?

    Furthermore, there are arguments against referendums, claiming that they favour elite groups rather than ordinary citizens. Referendums are rarely if not never free of influence by political parties, the media or independent groups. This could create an unfair arena on which citizen?s vote in referendums.

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

    Additionally, on controversial, divisive issues that people feel very strongly about, they may produce an emotional rather than rational response to a referendum. Also, complex and difficult issues can become oversimplified and the electorate may suffer from fundamental problem of lack of information.

  1. "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.

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

    In 2005, only 1.3% of the electorate were members of a party, whereas in 1964 membership was as high as 14%. It appears that there is either mass disengagement from party politics, and the electorate will vote on issues rather than show high levels of partisan alignment.

  1. To what extent is Britain a liberal democracy?

    Thus in the British political culture, civil liberties had a solid foundation. In particular, when 1984s, Data Protection Act came to aim to gives citizens the right to see the contents of any computer file that contains information about them.

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

    Therefore, despite the substantial amount of agreement regarding the ends to reach, the means with which to reach them remains controversial. As recently as the 1970s and 1980s, however, UK politics was bitterly adversarial, the hard Right ideology of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives clashing with the hard Left of

  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. Human Rights Legislation and Citizens of the UK

    This system allows the individual to enjoy benefits offered by the state, and can motivate individuals to work harder with the promise of a good pension. A work permit is issued to Non-UK citizens allowing them the right to work within the UK for a specific period of time.

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