Are we living in a fake democracy?

15 Dec 2017

 

We have recently reached a peak in political divisiveness. The tight EU referendum result, the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of far-right parties across Europe, all indicate a growing binary, divided system, leaving people little choice when it comes to political parties.

 

The broken and aged system of First-Past-the-Post cannot represent the proper will of the people. The electoral process in this country seems rigged, manipulated as to favour the majority parties. The Liberal Democrats, managing to secure 7.4% of the vote share in 2017, now only hold 13 seats. On the other hand, the SNP secured a disproportionate 35 seats with only 3.0% of the vote share.

 

The new found pluralism, with the creation of new parties, populist and grassroots movements, is evidently too much for the First-Past-the-Post system. We are left with an electoral system in dire need of reform.

 

The growing demand for a fairer system has been compounded into the values of pressure groups such as the Electoral Reform Society. Offering solutions such as the Additional Member System, among other electoral alternatives, they campaign for a fairer Britain, a Britain in which every vote counts, even if the vote happens to sit in the minority. 

 

Such problems stretch further than just the lower chamber. In the Lords, peers are unelected, some looting the taxpayer of their hard-earned cash without making regular appearances in the House. Hereditary peers, lacking in credentials, are as involved in the democratic process as elected representatives, in the Commons. Yet the only reason they sit on the red benches is because they are loaded landlords of a by-gone age. 

 

There is a severe lack of representation in the Commons. Only 208 women were elected out of a possible 650 seats in the 2017 election, an improvement over the previous 191 females elected in 2015, but a long way from truly proportional to the UK population. In reality, the United Kingdom is made up of 50.7% of women - their interests hardly being represented by the 32% of female MPs.

 

Ethnic minorities are also under-represented. According to the think tank British Future, 52 MPs of an ethnic minority background were elected - only accounting for 8% of MPs in total. In an age of globalisation, ethnic diversity should be celebrated as an asset to this country.

 

The questionable representation of the Houses of Parliament can lead to us questioning just how true our democracy is. Britain prides itself in spearheading democracy, but are we being hypocritical? Our lower chamber is unfairly elected, entrapped within a two-party system. Our upper chamber is completely unelected, some peers being present purely because they won the lottery of life.

 

This is not democracy. Democracy is the representation of the people, but all I see is the representation of the establishment.

 

 

 

 

 

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