To what extent is there a democratic deficit in the UK?

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To what extent is there a democratic deficit in the UK?


A democratic deficit is, literally, a lack of democracy, and that the electorates opinions are not expressed through Parliament. Although the UK is considered to be, on the surface, a wholly democratic nation, there is some dispute to the extent to how democratic it really is.

Some argue that the UK is not democratic – one of the reasons being the increase of a participation crisis over the last decade. Participation crisis is when political apathy is so high that election turnouts drop very low. There are several trends that have become worrying.

Firstly, in both the 2005 and the 2010 general elections, the lowest turnouts were had since 1918. Secondly, in the Police Commissioner election, the turnout was 16%. This is incredibly low. Thirdly, in the past decade, the percentage of the UK that is a member of a political party has dropped from 7% to 1%.

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The decline in participation creates a democratic deficit as it shows that only a select number of people are voting, and the views of the whole of the UK is not being represented in Parliament. The people who do not vote as much are those in a disadvantaged situation – the poor, or the homeless, which is a large part of the UK’s political voice not being heard.

However, in the recent Scottish Independence referendum, the turnout was 85%. This suggests that if the purpose of the vote is important enough, then the electorate will definitely participate.

Also, the ...

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