To what extent would you regard the UK system as truly democratic?

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C) To what extent would you regard the UK system as being truly democratic? (25 marks)

Democracy is a general description of a political system that is organised on the basis that government should serve the interests of the people. It is expected that citizens should also influence decisions or make decisions themselves as well as this; the government should be accountable under a democratic society. The UK is regarded as beholding democracy however current trends suggest increasing political apathy have begun to question whether the UK political system is truly democratic.

The UK is regarded as being highly democratic in that all elections are free from bias and interference. This means that all adults can vote without difficulty in a secret ballot, truly expressing their own opinions. However, the First Past the Post electoral system somewhat undermines the belief of free and fair elections in that smaller parties are subject to the tyranny of the majority, thus have no realistic chance of winning. There is only one representative of each constituency to express the ideologies of all constituents. This means that the constituents are underrepresented. For example, in the 2005 general election, MP of Chelmsford, Simon Burns gained 44.9% of the vote. This shows that the majority of the constituency, 55.1% of Chelmsfordians, did not wish for the Conservative to be their MP. However, the fact that such a large proportion of the electorate vote for Burns consistently, year- on-year means that other political parties don’t stand a chance, not Labour for example – let alone other smaller parties such as UKIP. This therefore undermines the principle of the free “choice” we have of political parties. Chelmsfordians here don’t have a choice, they are subject to the tyranny of the majority, they don’t have the ability to choose freely an MP to represent them, and the only chance they stand of expressing their views is through “tactical voting”. This is not democratic but unjust to those that oppose the party in office, thus; to what extent therefore do we truly have a choice in elections? We’re in that sense, not truly democratic. This is the effect of pluralist democracy, a “majority” as such is not achieved, just more votes than the opposition.

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In regards to representation issues that lead questions to arise on the democraticness of the UK political system. The MP representatives don’t socially represent the nation as a whole, for example, only 22% of MPs in the House of Commons are women and just 21% in the House of Lords. This in contrast to the 51% population of women shows just how underrepresented the system leads to be. As well as this only half the percentage of MPs are of ethnic minority, as the percentage of ethnic minorities within the British population. Therefore it shows that those in power’s interests ...

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