What kind of democracy do we have in the UK and what are its biggest flaws?

Topics: Elections, Democracy, Representative democracy Pages: 2 (693 words) Published: January 30, 2014
One of the key features of British democracy is democratic elections. These elections are Free and fair and this has been achieved through a secret ballot and the establishment of one person, one vote, which means each vote carries equal weight. These elections are regular, at a minimum of every 5 years, so the electorate can regularly hold the government to account. In the UK, the first past the post system is used, which means the candidate with the most votes in an election is elected, without requiring a majority. There is electoral choice, with a wide variety of parties to choose from, though some may argue it’s really a two party system, with Conservative and Labour views dominating. Another key feature of UK elections is universal adult suffrage, though there are exceptions to this, such as members of the house of Lords, prison inmates and the mentally incapable. There are some weaknesses of the British election systems, such as there being non-elected bodies like the House of Lords in key decision making positions without any real legitimacy. The first past the post system has been criticised for creating a system of plurality rule where a majority isn’t needed to govern, which could be construed as undemocratic as the majority of the population didn’t vote for the governing party. It appears that Britain has a representative democracy in this sense, with people voting for a representative in Parliament, though there are elements of Liberal democracy as there are free and fair elections. Another key feature is Parliament, the only popularly elected institution in UK central government, linking the government with the people. Its main chamber, the House of Commons, is elected, which is a form of representative democracy. Parliament also maintains deliberative democracy, as the commons sees regular debates regarding issues facing the nation. It oversees and scrutinises the actions of the government and the government needs the backing of the House of...
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