Due to the increasing presidential style of recent prime ministers and the party loyalty of the executive one can consider Parliament’s control of executive power minimal. However, due to the development of independent bodies surrounding Select Committees and the delaying of legislation by the House of Lords it can still be argued to be effective. The government usually has an overall majority. This is due to our voting system of FPTP which gives preference to the two main parties, normally giving them majorities (and increasingly large ones) as opposed to coalitions and minority governments which are produced through other voting systems such as AV in Scotland and Wales. Although we are currently in a coalition the government still has a majority through the combination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Using your knowledge as well as the passage, explain why the First Past The Post System has rarely resulted in coalition government at Westminster. First Past The Post (FPTP) or Simple plurality is the traditional system of voting in general and local elections in the UK. It is voting systems that enable people to vote through the ballot box in every election which take place in every 5 years. It’s a majoritarian system were the person with the most vote wins all in which it tend to favour larger, more established parties over those who support smaller parties. As a result of this, first past the post has rarely resulted in coalition government at Westminster because first past the post prevent other parties to form coalition government as
Discuss the view that elections in the UK no longer fulfil their purpose The main function for elections is to choose a government and they succeed at this as they have chosen governments at each general election such as choosing a Labour government in the 1997 general election and a Conservative government in the 1979 general election. They have fulfilled their purpose in this aspect as they have chosen governments at each election. However, it can be argued that they are gradually falling behind in this area as in the 2010 general election the outcome was a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, and as the system used in elections is first-past-the-post which is designed to elect a majority government, it didn’t fulfil its purpose at that election, although the coalition has done well in its term in office. Another way in which election fulfil their purpose is holding representatives (MPs) to account, election do this by making the representatives take part in the election every five years. It succeeds in this as if a party is not representing the people in the way they said or are not fulfilling their promises then the people can choose another party who they think can represent them in a better way than the previous party.
Should the Westminster electoral system be reformed? The Westminster electoral system has been a target for reform for a long time. Despite the loss in the 2011 referendum, reform is still wanted by a number of people especially the Liberal Democrats who will benefit the most. First Past the Post is the system that Westminster uses for election to the Houses of Commons it is a simple majority or plurality system that requires a candidate to get more votes than anyone else. 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.
When evaluating the arguments raised on both sides it I believe that the Electoral College should be replaced by a national popular vote. An argument that exposes the weakness of the Electoral College and why it should be replaced by a national popular vote is because the ‘winner takes all’ system distorts the results of the elections. There have been various results in which the popular vote did not reflect the results of the Presidential election. A notorious example of how distorted results can be under the Electoral College is that of Bush and Al Gore in 2000. Though Al Gore won the popular vote by 48.4% Bush won the votes of the Electoral College which resulted in him winning the Presidential election.
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. Likewise it undermines parliamentary sovereignty as parliament is already bypassed by the government, referendums only make it worse. An example of this is when Labour were voted in and in their manifesto contained a referendum on devolution however the result didn’t turn out in their favour in contradiction of the government, further undermining their power. Moreover the public may not be well advised/trusted to make decisions on issues such as capital punishment as the polls show a majority in favour of it, however MPs can see the faults in the use of the death penalty and vote against it. Also the public may not be educated on some of the deeper issues such as the role of central banks in relation to a single currency.
A two party system, is one in which two individual parties absolutely dominate the political system in all its aspects. Since 1922, Governments have been contested between two parties, which have been Labour and Conservative, which has only been challenged 3 time in the last 100 years with coalitions, the latest of which has been the 2010 Conservative Lib Dem Government. The extent to which this rivalry has caused a two party system can be explored through the paradigmatic features of a political system. Such features being rivalry in House of Commons (HOC), consensus politics and the current state of political uncertainty. In the 1960s, 60% of voters claimed to have had an alignment with an individual party, however, as of 2000 this numbers has fallen down to a mere 10%.
Parliament may face difficulties in controlling executive power as the government usually has an overall majority. This is especially the case when there has been a creation of a large majority after elections such as 1997 and 2001 with Labour majorities of 179 and 167 respectively. Majorities of 66 in 2005 and 83 with the coalition in 2010 have also been recorded. This allows the government to claim a mandate from the people for its policies when it is elected to power. Therefore the parliament lacks the legitimate right to ignore the mandate and tends to accept the government’s right to govern.
The purpose of our nation’s democracy is to allow American citizens to elect officials that represent their interests and beliefs. However, the two-party system takes the power that the founding fathers set out to invest in the American people and gives it to the dominant parties. The dominant parties act as institutional bodies themselves, so the candidates remain very similar to those of previous elections. American citizens are left with a limited choice of candidates with little variation. Alternative third-parties do not have a realistic chance of winning elections, so citizens are forced to vote either Democrat or
The vast majority of men and all women were without the vote. Voting was seen as the right of a small number of well-to-do people. The upper class dominated politics. One out of every seven adult males had the right to vote. By 1860 there were only 1.4 million voters out of a population of 30million.