• 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 its system for General Elections?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Should the UK reform its system for General Elections? For centuries Britain has used and adapted the First Past The Post (FPTP) Electoral system. It has been developed through a growing country that is reflected in the unwritten constitution. FPTP is arranged whereby the country is split into constituencies, and any candidate (as long as he/she pays a �500 deposit) may stand to be elected. The candidate with the largest share of votes wins the seat, is elected to Parliament and becomes an MP. The MP has the right to go to every Parliament session and vote on legislation for the four or five year term. The candidate usually stands under a party name. This means when an MP under a party name gets a seat, that party gets a seat. The party with the majority of seats then gains power and becomes the Government. This is called the General Election. The Government is drawn from Parliament and chosen by the PM, they run the country until the next General Election in four of five years time, at the Government's discretion. This system is often called undemocratic and indirect so by analysing its weaknesses and the possible alternatives, it will be possible to determine whether it is desirable to reform the voting system. ...read more.

Middle

N.B. It can be argued that as the electorate votes in the MPs, who in turn vote in the PM, who in turn chooses his cabinet, they are being indirectly represented. The concept of indirect representation shows that power is being taken away from the electorate. As the sole purpose of the General Election is put the government in power that is chosen democratically by the people, FPTP fails to do so in directly democratic manner. This highlights the need for a new electoral system where choice is given, and that choice is honoured directly, so that the system is democratic. The final, and most commonly stated reason for electoral reform, is the bias and disproportionate ratio of votes: seats. Due to the fact that only a majority vote is needed, when three candidates stand, only 34% of the votes is needed. This means that over 60% of the constituency did not vote for the winning candidate. This in-turn means that a party can have well below 50% of the votes, and still gain power. Where marginals and safe seats are concerned, it defies the statement that in a democracy each vote has the same value and importance. ...read more.

Conclusion

The strong MP relationship means that the Executive has communication links with the electorate all over the country, helping the democratic process. The FPTP system also offers a political battleground where ideas can be deliberated. This competition allows the parties to offer the manifesto that will best help the people, and therefore, it is better for the citizens, who get the most helpful and reasonable policies implemented. The simple system has been used for centuries and it is easy to understand. The British public is used to it, and generally accepts the system. There are many critics of the FPTP electoral system used in the UK. There will always be criticisms of the fact that it does not deliver a very democratically elected Government. The reluctance for new countries to take on the system shows its reputation for indirect democracy and often apathy. It could be argues that what the UK needs is a change of its whole political system to a presidential system, possibly encouraging political participation and democracy. However any change is unlikely in the near future as Labour are prospering with huge majorities in the House of Commons. Therefore there is no need for them to change the electoral system even slightly. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics 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 GCSE Politics essays

  1. Consider the arguments for and against retaining first-past-the-post for general elections

    However, prior to the 1997 election, Blair promised an independent enquiry (backed by the LibDems) into electoral reform and a referendum on its findings. The five-strong enquiry was led by Lord Jenkins. Four terms were set out by the Home Secretary which the proposed electoral system should fulfil.

  2. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    Besides when he arrived in 1839 he was already a member of the Giovine Italia, and he immediately set-up a printing press, after that the Freedom of the press was granted in Malta. Through his pamphlets published he made the Italian main cause become famous.

  1. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    Of course again the pattern was not linear, (see Diagram 4) and more women were elected in some majoritarian systems like Canada than in other countries like Israel using highly proportional systems. The cultural context, and especially the process of recruitment within parties strongly influences the opportunities for women in elected office (Lovenduski and Norris 1993).

  2. Politics and Power notes on the UK system

    Labour Conservative Liberal Democrats o Reviving neighbourhood policing, believing people want a strong organised uniformed presence back on their streets. o Shifting from tackling the offence to targeting the offender, with a massive increase in drug testing and treatment, and sentencing being more focussed on the offender.

  1. Who would you vote for?

    It seems to me that they have little idea how to deal with the problem, and simply make promises that they hope will win them votes. Over-crowded prisons are one thing, but surely the right way to go about this problem is to look at why people so readily re-offend and the sentencing system.

  2. Is the UK democratic?

    The European Parliament's powers to initiate policy are negligible, and its power to amend policy is minimal. In 1974 Edward Heath asked "Who governs Britain?", and due to the lack of a written constitution thirty years on, Britain is governed by judges, by officials and by Eurocrats.

  1. Minority parties in Britain call for electoral reform whereas the two major parties tend ...

    make up of the House of Commons would reflect the way in which the country has voted. In October 1974, Labour were able to form a majority government with a minority (only 39%) of the popular vote (Jones & Kavanagh, 1990)

  2. What is Politics UK politics revision notes

    * No HQ, no staff, just groups linked by the internet, global, anarchic and chaotic. * Environmentalism o Pressure Groups i.e. Green Peace o Political Parties i.e. The Green Party o Action - Protest and Direct, i.e. Rainbow Warrior o They include a wide variety of ecologists, conservationists, eco-warrior etc...

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