Democracy and the British Voting System.

Authors Avatar by missdimondhotmailcouk (student)
  1. Explain what direct democracy is. (5)

Direct democracy is where the people themselves are directly involved in decision making processes, not represented by an elective for example.

One example of direct democracy is through referendums. A referendum is a simple yes or no question based on an important issue which almost all citizens can vote on. An example of a referendum is the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum.

Direct democracy is a wholly beneficial working as it is the purest form of democracy as power is temporarily transferred to the people. Referendums, as described as an example, are also arguably very good for democracy in a number of wars. It increases voter turnout – the Scottish Independence referendum had a turnout of 84% - it prevents government from making unpopular decisions and the people are more likely to accept law if they have expressed consent – all improvements to democracy and beneficial to democratic renewal.

5/5 – no feedback

  1. Explain the criticisms of representative democracy (10)

Representative democracy is where the people’s opinions are represented by an elected MP who is solely involved in decision making processes. It is argued that this is a bad form of democracy for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, it is argued that MPs cannot be truly representative under current circumstances. Within the Commons, a staggering 90% of MPs are university educated in comparison to a minute 4% of ethnic minorities. With figures like these, representative democracy is commonly criticized. It is argued that this common MP stereotype may not be able to fully represent his/her constituents as he cannot totally understand their issues; for example, how could a middle aged white man be able to represent a black woman’s opinions accurately?

Another criticism of representative democracy is that it is a less legitimate form of democracy. Legitimacy is the authority and ability a body has to be representative. Is it argued that MPs are less legitimate because they cannot possibly account for every opinion within their constituency which leaves many voices unheard, whereas in various forms of direct democracy everybody gets their say and is accounted for equally. A main issue this may provoke is the “tyranny of the majority”, whereby the minority are totally overshadowed by the majority/popular vote and consequently unaccounted for.

Join now!

Finally, although it is mostly unlikely, an MP can ignore his constituents and ultimately make unpopular decisions. This would involve disregarding the opinions of the constituents and ignoring their suggestions to make decisions purely of his own accord. An example of this, as sourced by The Guardian, is in 2013-2014 before the possibility of an EU referendum was decided, 438 MPs ignored the complaints and letters of constituents expressing concerns over current EU membership. This is a huge problem because MPs behaving in such a way is totally undemocratic and could ultimately even lead to an autocracy or dictatorship. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay