How Democratic is the UK?
When it comes to meeting the basic requirements for a modern democracy the UK is doing adequately. These requirements include guaranteeing basic human rights, separation of power between the institutions of state, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion, equal right to vote and good governance that lacks corruption. These are some of the key elements, there are clearly other factors that play a part in the definition of a democracy. Although the UK might seem like they meet all the requirements and abide to all the ‘rules’ and from a shallow point of view looks like an ideal democratic country, there is so much resistance that says otherwise - and it is justified.
Firstly, something that is preventing the country from being fully democratic is the First Past the Post voting system. Granted it is an easy, cheap, fast and commonly used system; but it doesn’t produce the most democratic or fair results. It’s easy because all voters have to do is mark what candidate they want, but FPTP voting will inevitably end in a two-party system as the other parties don’t have a chance at winning. The party that wins doesn’t even need to receive the majority of the votes – just more than the other parties. This means that if, for example, a party got 25 per cent of the votes, 75 per cent did NOT want them to win. So there is one of the problems: minority rule. The majority of voters are now unhappy with the outcome, and the unavoidable two-party system will make even more people unhappy as their parties will never get enough votes and will eventually not run anymore. There are also not enough choices (as the number of parties decreased), and what is democracy without a variety of fair choices? The freedom and participation that is promised by a democratic nation doesn’t count for anything if the choices available only please a small percentage of the country. A ‘government by the people’ becomes ‘a government by some of the people’....
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