One of the ways direct democracy is implemented in the UK is through the use of referendums. A referendum is called by the government to allow people to vote directly on an issue. One example of a recent referendum was the 2010 referendum to decide whether the UK should switch from the First past the post vote system to the AV system. The result was a 67.9% majority against changing the system. This shows hope the people can directly influence the way in which their democracy works and so is hence very democratic.
Referenda are a general vote put upon the electorate on a single political issue and are a direct form of democracy; referenda usually allow the voters to choose between yes/no option or two alternatives. The UK uses a form of representative democracy, the principles of which elected officials represent a group of people to make a decision on their behalf (Burkean model of representation). Referendums have been sparsely used in the UK as there is no established tradition of them and some political leaders argued strongly against the use of referendums. Clement Attlee (labour party leader from 1935-55 and prime minister from 1945-51) felt that “referendums are just not British” because he stressed they were too often used by dictatorships. The delegate model of representation poses a threat to the form of representative democracy used on the UK as the public will have more say on issues which undermines the Burkean model.
PGs do not seek power 4. PGs seek to influence government policy or legislation. 5. PGs do not put up candidates for election NOTE there are exceptions to the above - · Dr Richard Taylor stood as an Independent for Wyre Forest and won, in 2001 and again in 2005 His party is the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern and campaigned to on the single issue of preventing the downgrading of Kidderminster Hospital and demanding the re-opening of its accident and emergency department. · UKIP is a single issue political party, which has won sets in the EU Parliament
However, no reform for a partially or fully elected second chamber has taken place. Until this happens it is argued that the Lords is not democratically legitimate as all policy making institutions must have legitimacy. By merely appointing the members of the Lords means that whilst they may have expertise, they are not socially accountable. These include the likes of Alan Sugar and Sebastian Coe. Also, the Wright report, which includes provisions towards electing members of select committee chairs by secret ballot, and to end the Winterton rule on public bill committees is still stuck within the legislative process.
One argument that the Westminster electoral system should be reformed is that First Past the Post doesn't give the social representation that other system gives, for example in the Parliament elected in 2010, women, 51% of the population, are represented by 22% of Parliament therefore an under representation, however, university educated are overrepresented, 91% of the Houses of Commons represent 31% of the population but having PR doesn't guarantee that the social composition of Parliament only making the percentage of votes more proportional towards the seats. Moreover, FPTP stops extremist parties such as the BNP from gaining election and having influence over policy or gaining any credibility. One argument for reform of the electoral system is that government claim a mandate or legitimacy despite the fact that they have just over a third of the popular vote, in 2005 Labour claimed a mandate or legitimacy to rule despite the fact that only 35.2% of the electorate vote for Labour, however the referendum about changing the electoral system was defeated by a large margin meaning that the majority of the UK is happy with our electoral system and no government will dare to overturn the decision by implementing a form of AV or another electoral system. The most important reason for reform is that there is a poor vote to seat ratio or proportionality that hits the Liberal Democrats more
Only 18 percent of the public said "leaders should not pay attention to public opinion polls because this will distract them from deciding what they think is right." When the public was asked whether they think that "elections are the only time when the views of the people should have influence, or that also between elections leaders should consider the views of the people as they make decisions," an extraordinary 94 percent say that government leaders should pay attention to the views of the public between elections. Closely related to the dissatisfaction with the degree of government responsiveness to the public is the widespread perception that decisions are not being made in the public's best interest. When the public was asked, “Would you say that this country is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves, or that it is run for the benefit of all the
In Defense of Citizens United Decision Introduction The 2012 federal election cycle set to cost a record of $6 billion, which has been marked as the most expensive election in American history.i What’s also special about this election is that it is the very first presidential election after Supreme Court’s decision on the landmark case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), which frees corporations and unions from the limited amount of contribution they can donate to a campaign. “Campaigns are the ‘heart and soul’ of a representative democracy”. ii In the excerpt from Federalist 10 paper, the Founding fathers believe that people naturally form different opinions and it is the preservation of the diversity in opinions
Even inside the borders of our great nation, the Constitution shows that it’s still relevant to the American society. For example, the 27th amendment says that Congressmen and women can’t raise their salary while in office. If this amendment weren’t in place, then our debt wouldn’t be to China; instead it would be to the Congressional Officers of the United State government. Now to reference into foreign countries again; in some countries like South Africa, the right of women’s and colored person’s suffrage isn’t allowed. In other countries like Libya the right to vote is granted to no one because they are either under a dictatorship or the entire country is in mass chaos.
Another example is when Britain joined a referendum by becoming a part of the E.U. This was very controversial because the UK is a democracy and without the consultation of the people, the UK no longer seems democratic. Elective dictatorship ties in with another reason which is time lag. Time lag plays an important role in the UK as it takes 5 years before another general election is held. This is criticised because the current political party in power have the ability to make their own decisions for the UK before listening to what the people want.
Labour made the changes to the Scottish and Welsh Assembly, by implementing proportional representation. Labour also wanted to use the SV system for the European elections to Parliament, as well as the AMS system for the election of London Mayor. In 1997, Labour promised a referendum on electoral reform, however this did not occur, and the Jenkins Commission report was introduced which suggested a system called alternative vote plus. Unfortunately, this report was not looked into any further, which caused a lot of disappointment, as many people felt like this was the best proportional system. Proportional Systems mean that all parties can have an influence, and those Parties which are not successful in the general election could be more success in the European Parliament, UKIP gained 12 seats in the European parliament in 2003 but did not gain any in the general election.