To what extent is there a democratic deficit in the UK?
The most telling indicator of there being a democratic deficit in the UK today is the continuing decline of voter turnout at all elections for the past 60 years. There is a growing level of general apathy towards political issues in the UK which is not just damaging to the health of a democracy but fatal. The government requires a mandate to govern, if they do not achieve popular consent then how are they representative of the people? The last three general elections have yielded voter turnout of around 60 – 65% of the electorate, leaving a significant proportion of people who chose not to exercise their democratic right to vote. At the European Parliament elections turnout has been far lower with the last three elections yielding 24 – 39% of voters turning up to cast their ballot. The recent Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections have produced the lowest ever turnouts in the UK with just 14.9%. The Prime Minister said that the PCC’s have a mandate; although it was only the turnout that was 14.9% so many PCC’s will be governing with less than 10% of the vote. This incredibly low turnout illustrates just how apathetic people have become in regards to British politics, but there is also the matter of spoiled ballot papers. The total number of votes was 344,213 (excluding spoilt ballots) with the number of spoiled votes standing at more than 120,000. That means over a quarter of people who turned up to the polling stations did so for the sole purpose of spoiling the paper. The fact that people would take time out of their lives specifically to undermine the democratic process shows just how much of a democratic deficit exists in the UK. People have become so disillusioned with traditional democracy in the UK they resort to methods such as spoiling the ballot paper to tell the government that the people will not stand for it, that voting doesn’t work, that all politicians are in it for themselves. The...
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