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To What Extent Is There a Democratic Deficit in the Uk?


Submitted By MattStock98
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A democratic deficit occurs when government doesn’t provide the values of democracy or when political representatives are shamed in the eyes of the public. In the UK there has been debate that Britain’s democracy is flawed. The voting system is unfair and recent expenses scandal exposed just how many politicians do not respect the position they are given.
One of the main factors to argue there is a democratic deficit in the UK is the low levels of voter turnout and widespread discouragement with the FPTP system. In 2001 the UK received a general election turnout of 59.4%, the lowest since the start of universal suffrage in 1918. Low turnouts in elections will weaken the electoral mandate of the party and the legitimacy of the government, and if citizens are not participating in politics the decisions made by government are no longer in the interest of the whole nation. For instance the 2011 AV referendum got a turnout of just 42.2% so it would not accurate to base this result on a decision that will affect the whole country, when fewer than half of the population voted.
Some suggest that the elections in the UK are not fair due to the “First Past the Post” voting system. The FPTP system favours two parties (the Labour and Conservative party) and this means that there is a reduced chance of smaller parties winning constituencies. In the 2010 general election the Labour party got 29% of the vote and gained 258 seats, whereas the Liberal Democrats won 23% of the votes but secured 57 seats. This shows how FPTP discriminates against smaller “3rd” parties like the Liberal Democrats who have a widespread but low concentration of support so are unlikely to gain a majority of votes in any one area. FPTP also promotes tactical voting in constituencies where there is not a party that regularly wins, creating lots of wasted votes. Therefore the FPTP system undermines democracy

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