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UK Political System
#1
UK political system

Perhaps interesting to have this as a separate topic. In what way does it hinder democracy in the UK?

To quote Ciaran:

The UK voters chose not to have proportional representation or any other form of modern, representative voting system.  As recent as 2011, the UK electorate was given the opportunity, via a referendum to adopt the Alternative Vote, with the vast majority (67.9%) voting against it.  The British LOVE to hide behind the two-party, first past the post electoral system, waving their hands in the air screaming "it's not our fault!"

Recently I watched PMQ. It is the most ridiculous and appalling thing I have seen in a while. It is a complete infantile Punch and Judy show. Is this what the British people expect of their governance?
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#2
[quote pid='206' dateline='1537262001']
Perhaps interesting to have this as a separate topic. In what way does it hinder democracy in the UK?

To quote Ciaran:

The UK voters chose not to have proportional representation or any other form of modern, representative voting system.  As recent as 2011, the UK electorate was given the opportunity, via a referendum to adopt the Alternative Vote, with the vast majority (67.9%) voting against it.  The British LOVE to hide behind the two-party, first past the post electoral system, waving their hands in the air screaming "it's not our fault!"

Recently I watched PMQ. It is the most ridiculous and appalling thing I have seen in a while. It is a complete infantile Punch and Judy show. Is this what the British people expect of their governance?
[/quote]

Hello guest, do you think you could register? I was thinking to change the name of this thread to "UK Electorial system" as Political System is a bit broad but have held off doing that because as a guest you would not be notified of this change and may end up thinking your post was deleted. 

To answer your question the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system is open to abuse in the form of gerrymandering. This allows the governing power to essentially rig elections and hold onto power in a way that subverts democracy, see here:-  The FPTP system was used during colonial times to retain control over a colony despite overwhelming support for a peoples candidate, as you could draw a boundary around what constitutes the majority of the native population and say they get one vote, and then smaller boundaries around a few wealthy land-owners and say that they get one vote. Such a system is highly disproportionate of the democratic wants of the people. It's also easier to strong-arm a single representative of 5000 people than 5000 people. 

Today MP's are commonly lobbied, blackmailed, bought, promised positions to vote one way or another, often in betrayal of the constituents they represent. This kind of corruption is rife in FPTP systems and are not really viable options when trying to influence the public at large. 

Lastly, it does give rise to two-party systems. How democratic can it really be when there are other legitimate parties to vote for but everybody knows this is just a wasted vote anyway. 

To Ciaran: I believe if we were offered the vote again it might go differently. Back in 2011 there was turn out of 41%, a lot of these did not really know what they were voting for but rather were swayed by Cameron's campaign and a very influential press backing it. The media's influence has dwindled greatly and confidence in May is extremely low.
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#3
As pointed out several times before, I get a prompt that the website isn’t safe when trying to register. Who am I to argue with my iPad?

Change the name all you like but it was broad on purpose since I wanted to include what goes on in the HoC. It must surely be related?
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#4
You can argue with your Ipad if you like, technology needs to be reminded who's really boss everyone once in a while. That said you don't need to register to have use an alias on here. Just put whatever you like in the username box when posting.
Sure thing, if you want to include HoC commentary I'll leave the thread title as is.
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#5
(18-09-18, 02:07 PM)Pando Wrote: [quote pid='206' dateline='1537262001']
Perhaps interesting to have this as a separate topic. In what way does it hinder democracy in the UK?

To quote Ciaran:

The UK voters chose not to have proportional representation or any other form of modern, representative voting system.  As recent as 2011, the UK electorate was given the opportunity, via a referendum to adopt the Alternative Vote, with the vast majority (67.9%) voting against it.  The British LOVE to hide behind the two-party, first past the post electoral system, waving their hands in the air screaming "it's not our fault!"

Recently I watched PMQ. It is the most ridiculous and appalling thing I have seen in a while. It is a complete infantile Punch and Judy show. Is this what the British people expect of their governance?

Hello guest, do you think you could register? I was thinking to change the name of this thread to "UK Electorial system" as Political System is a bit broad but have held off doing that because as a guest you would not be notified of this change and may end up thinking your post was deleted. 

To answer your question the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system is open to abuse in the form of gerrymandering. This allows the governing power to essentially rig elections and hold onto power in a way that subverts democracy, see here:- 


[/quote]

The above post shows a breathtaking lack of knowledge about the operation of the British party system and Parliament. It complains about features which are not a problem at all while missing out valid comments about its shortcomings.  It also fails to recognise how the system has delivered stable governments for the best part of a thousand years, while few Continental systems can manage more than 100 years. 

There seems to be no point in going into further detail about the system for the benefit of people who seem anxious to denigrate it but know so little about it. I suggest that if you learn a bit more about it you will see its strengths and weaknesses much better....
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#6
Is that a ‘yes’ to my question if the British people expect this of its governance? It would very much explain the dysfunctional state of the country.
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#7
Think written constitution

The Brexit blunder has fully exposed the underlying real problem in the UK: the UK does not have a democratic system in any modern sense of the word.

The gradual improvement of democratic standards has been an international effort for centuries, from which the Brits have deliberately isolated themselves. Due to this long-term international sharing, currently all EU members apart from the UK have our shared European democratic standards = very similar democratic systems (with a lot of local variation in details, but the same basic democratic principles). These shared democratic standards are also reflected in the functioning of the EU, which is magnitudes more democratic than the UK.

The UK has been left behind with its archaic non-transparent anti-democratic theo-aristocratic system with absolute power of the government/ parliament, no written constitution, FPTP where more than half of the votes are discarded and governments get majorities of seats with a very low support of the voters, party whips ordering the MPs how to vote, totally confused devolution (with Scotland wanting to get out, England complaining about the West Lothian question and N Ireland still thorn apart by a sectarian civil war), no proper separation of powers, the black-spider letters, secret royal archives, clerics sitting in the parliament (like in Iran - where in Iran the clerics have to get elected to be sitting in the parliament, whereas the UK has UNelected clerics in the parliament), unelected head of state (who is also the head of a religion), unelected entire second chamber of the parliament etc.

The UK is the only EU member where the current government/ parliament has totally unlimited power and can thus change such important things as human rights or devolution or indeed make decisions about the Brexit procedures using a simple majority in the parliament (with no need to even use the anti-democratic Henry VIII powers). No other national parliament in Europe has such immense power. The UK is also the only European state without a written constitution.

Strangely, the Brits think that having the right to vote every five years and the government having absolute, unlimited power in-between is democracy.

In other EU members people have much more power than in the UK - e.g. via our national written constitutions which limit the power of politicians in favour of the power of the people, and which also protect  our rights at the national level frpm the whims of the current government (because the parliament has no power to change the constitution just like that, with a simple majority!!!).

The mechanisms enshrined in modern written constitutions which limit the power of the parliament/ government/ politicians in favour of the power of the people are:

* the second chamber of the parliament and/or the elected president (head of state) and/or the constitutional court with a veto power to annul the legislation passed by the parliament (e.g. if it breaches the constitution)

* a high national unity needed for all important decisions (e.g. a new constitution, changes to the existing constitution, ceding a part of sovereignty to international organisations such as the EU and NATO) - in such cases, a simple majority vote in the parliament is just not enough! Usually, the procedures for such decisions involve a special majority vote in the parliament (usually three-thirds or three-fifths of all MPs) and/or a referendum.

* for some important decisions, a referendum is compulsory and binding to the parliament, so that the parliament cannot make these decisions without consulting the people (e.g. about any changes to the constitution)

* the people have the right to veto and annul with a referendum (which they can demand themselves) legislation passed by the parliament if they do not agree with it 

* the people have the right to call for a referendum on different issues (and the parliament is obliged to deliver this referendum)

* the people have the right to propose draft new legislation and changes to the constitution directly to the parliament, which is obliged to take this proposal through the prescribed parliamentary procedures for adopting new legislation / changes to the constitution and to publicly discuss the people's proposal

* the people have the right to recall their representatives before their term is over due to misconduct

All European written constitutions contain some of the above democratic mechanisms which limit the power of the parliament (and of all state authorities). In fact, this is the main function of the written constitution which belongs to the people – even the politicians have to respect the rules enshrined in the constitution.

Think written constitution to modernise, define and then protect democracy in the UK.

_____

PS: Note that modern European democracies do not even remotely have such crazy attitudes towards the constitution and the constitutional court as the US!
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#8
"The UK voters chose not to have proportional representation or any other form of modern, representative voting system.  As recent as 2011, the UK electorate was given the opportunity, via a referendum to adopt the Alternative Vote, with the vast majority (67.9%) voting against it."

Firstly, we do have PR in pretty much every election except the Westminster parliament, especially in the devolved parliaments.
Secondly, AV is a very inferior system.
Thirdly, the upper house at Westminster is mostly appointed - and can have zero democratic legitimacy anyway. 

Finally, the comment that the UK FPTP "system has delivered stable governments for the best part of a thousand years" is not strictly accurate.

There were extremely restricted electoral rolls until the 1930s - excluding women. 
Prior to that property ownership was a frequent criterion for eligibility to vote.
Pocket and Rotten Boroughs were utterly fraudulent until the 1832 Reform act.
Any system where government only represents a minority is not democratic, by definition. 
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#9
Dodgey Geezer wrote "..It also fails to recognise how the system has delivered stable governments for the best part of a thousand years, while few Continental systems can manage more than 100 years."

You must have had your head in the sand for the last 8 years.

For three elections in a row, Westminster’s voting system has failed to work even on its own terms – producing two Parliaments where no party got more than half the seats, and in 2015 a wafer-thin majority amid the most disproportional result in British history.
These last three election results have been shown to have been unpredictable, erratic and more importantly undemocratic. 

The claim that FPTP provides strong and stable Government is no longer tenable. How long must we suffer the consequences of a system no longer fit for purpose
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#10
My own take of the British electoral system is that it could be easily made to work for the people in the UK - if they could just see that political leadership is not something that should be seen as a team "sport" at all.

That is to say that the problem, in my view, with the British system is caused entirely by political parties fighting between themselves for power, rather than individual politicians fighting for the benefit of their own electorate in a parliament of other individual political representatives equally representing their constituencies, rather than any unelected political party which is so easily influenced by outside forces (think of Murdoch here).

You actually have a very workable electoral system in the UK, if only you could understand that by electing your local representative on the basis of his or her's competence and ability rather than what political party they belong to.

Why not vote for your MP on that basis and totally ignore which political party they belong to? In fact, why not abolish political parties entirely? All they bring to the political governance of the UK is the easy ability to pervert the entire system for the benefit of those that have the wealth to bribe and cajole the elected representatives against the best interests and wishes of the very people that elected them.
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