How Effectively Does Representative
Democracy in the UK has many operative strengths claimed on its behalf. Proposed legislation in the UK can be processed through parliament very quickly due to no separation of powers, this is because there is a majority in the house of commons of the winning party members who can get their party whips to convince others to vote in a certain way in their favour. In 2001 when the Labour party had a majority in parliament of 165 seats, bills were passed more efficiently as almost the entire party voted for each legislation passed by the Labour party making the country in what Lord Hailsham would call an elective dictatorship.
Another example is Liberal Democracy, which is a type of representative democracy where there is an emphasis on the protection of individual rights and liberties, where the rule of law is strictly adhered to, and where government is limited by enforceable constitutional laws. MPs are aware of civil rights and value and respect them. the Human rights act also protects freedoms. an example of this is the ABU Qatada, the human rights act protected his rights to live and didn’t let him go back to Jordan.
the U.K. democracy possesses fair electoral systems which secure accurate representation. in the U.K. FPTP is used which is simple, quick and produces a clear winner which in return leads to a strong and stable government which is also won through a majority vote; Blair won by 179 seats in 1997. government have been able to be effective in passing legislation in u.k. thanks to a clear mandate in FPTP which has been efficiently used for over 50 years.
representative democracy effectively operates in the u.k. as it produces legitimacy in government. UK representatives are elected professionals who fairly represent the population. each constituency has an MP who won a majority vote to represent the constituents. MPs are less emotional when it comes to deciding on policies, for example MPs rejected the death penalty. furthermore the people are able to hold them accountable by removing them in future elections. for example the general election of 2010 withdrew legitimacy from Gordon browns labour government. Furthermore the uk parliamentary systems make it vital that members of the government can be made directly accountable to parliament and citizens. The government is constantly accountable to parliament as it must submit all proposals for law to parliament for approval. Also means that government ministers must report regularly to parliament. Overall parliament is held responsible or accountable to ordinary citizens at general elections whereby citizens have the choice to remove their MP and indirectly remove a governing party from power.
Lastly representative democracy allows representatives to mediate the demands of citizens. This means minority are more likely to be protected from tyranny of the majority. Minority groups unpopular with the public would have their rights eroded under direct democracy because they would never win a vote.
however there are arguments to whether representative democracy does effectively operate in the u.k.. Rights are not entrenched in our political system. that civil liberties receive little protection, which was illustrated in full technicolor by blairs fourfold extension of detention without trial. unless the surreal application of the law is adhered to, SOCPA makes it a criminal offence to protest in the vicinity of parliament. ASBOs have created a criminal class of innocent civilians.(Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005) (Anti Social Behaviours Order)
It can be argued that the house of lords appointment process is corrupted. the house of lords lacks democratic legitimacy as it still contains Hereditary Peers. furthermore the electoral system is disproportionate and leads to wasted votes, for example tories won on 36.9% of the vote in 2015. Also minority parties such as UKIP are unrepresented. the current electoral system used in the UK FPTP, it causes voter apathy which means that turnout is low which creates several problems such as illegitimacy, accurate representation and political disengagement.
Representative democracy is indirect which means it lacks diversity as it does not represent the people, MPs are able to vote on things that do not affect them. There is also a high probability that your choice will not be elected. This is extremely important as you would be left without any representation or end up being represented by someone else completely hostile to your interests. There is also the problem that your choice will not stick to pre-election promises. It can be a problem that general elections are infrequent because the minority who didn’t win their vote are disregarded and their opinions are irrelevant to the current party which is in lead. In 1979 Scottish Parliament referendum had a low turnout of 64%. The referendum was abandoned even though 51.6% of the votes were yes. Voters after this referendum may feel that their vote was wasted and irrelevant to the outcome as their vote did not account for anything.
The UK is a representative democracy with tiers of government at a local national and regional level. Since 1997 power has been devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the quality scope of representative democracy has expanded. An example of this is the scottish referendum in 2014 when powers have been promised to the scottish parliament. The West Lothian question is when the people in northern ireland, wales and scotland are represented by MPs in westminster but also by their representatives in their devolved assembly’s/ parliaments. this means that they can vote on issues in the UK but English MPs can’t vote on issues that may concern Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. for example they can vote on changes within our education and NHS however we can’t on theirs.