HOW COULD THE UK POLITICAL SYSTEM BE MADE MORE DEMOCRATIC? “…our democratic system isn’t working…public faith in our politicians institutions are draining away and being replaced by a progressive and debilitating alienation. ” (David Cameron May 2006) The UK political system has often been criticized on it level of democracy.
However, there are methods or institutes that could be adopted to make the political system more democratic in nature. Firstly, referendums give people more of a say and gets the opinion of the wider public.Since democracy is rule by and for the people, referendums show teamwork thus removing a gulf between the people and the government. An example of this is the referendum of May 2011 regarding the suggested change in the current form of voting. This is from the first past the post method of voting to the AV method of voting. However, with the use of referendums hasty and uneducated decisions and due to referendums only providing a snap shot of public opinion at a specific time they are an unreliable guide to public interest.
Secondly, initiatives would also make for a more democratic political system.Because initiatives are called by the citizens themselves, it is believed that they therefore truly represent the views of the public. For example, In Switzerland if 1%of the public sign up to a proposal within an eighteen month period the proposal is put to public vote and if passed becomes a law. However, initiatives are subject to emotions (as opposed to real ground judgement) and tabloid campaigns thus it could be taken that they are hasty and selfish motives. Thirdly, election of the second chamber of government would allow the public to pick those in that chamber given them a voice.
For example, The House Of Lords. However, an elected house of lords would actually hinder the democratic process because a government with a majority in both houses would effectively become an “elective dictatorship”, and it is pointless having two chambers at conflict because they are both representing the public. To continue, digital Democracy where the method of voting is made easier and more convenient is also ways of becoming more democratic as the system is adjusted to suit the needs of the majority.For example postal voting and online voting. The problem with this is that it has the potential to reduce democratic citizenship to a series of consumer choices. There is also a very large fraud risk as the scrutiny and control of the voting process weakens. In addition, primary elections are held to nominate candidates from each political party, who will then go on to run in the general election. The main purpose of a primary election is to unite each political party behind one candidate to ensure victory.
An example of this would be the labour party under leadership by Edd Milliband is considering adopting a new method of selecting their party leader by giving registered supporters a vote. However this method takes power away from those directly connected with the party such as unions and members simply because registered supporters will carry the majority vote thus the voice of those that really matter is over shadowed. Furthermore, compulsory Voting is a guaranteed method of making the UK more democratic in that the people have no choice but to take part in politics and vote meaning an increased participation. An example is in Australia.All Australian citizens over the age of 18 (except those of unsound mind or those convicted of serious crimes) must be registered to vote and show up at the poll on an election day. Australians who do not vote are subject to fines although those who were ill or otherwise incapable of voting on the election day can have their fines waived.
However compulsory voting takes away civil liberties which is completely undemocratic. In conclusion, the UK political system could be made more democratic with the use of institutes already in place however; the use of these institutes to do would move the society further away from the democratic ideology.