British politics, the birthplace of Brexit and the continued traditions carried out over centuries. Britain is revered as a place of democracy and freedom, as everyone can be and act as they wish. But you might ask yourself: Is Britain really that democratic?
Britain vs Dictatorships
Some would say that the inhabitants of this small island are lucky, that we take for granted how free and prosperous we actually are. But they do this, often enough, by comparing Britain to countries that are dictatorships.
Our Electoral system
If you analyse and contemplate the system of this country, you find out that we are not entirely democratic in some people’s opinions.
For example, the whole system in which our representatives are elected is rather imperfect. We use the first-past-the-post system. This means that the electorate vote for their ideal candidate and the one with the most votes wins. But this can be seen as a rather crude way of exercising democracy, given that all the people that didn’t vote for the winning candidate are then subjected to five years as constituents to that candidate. If the candidate doesn’t truly represent them, then how can they be honestly classed as ‘representatives’ of the people? We also have the expulsion of people and groups from the voting process entirely. This includes prisoners, 16-to-18-year-olds and EU citizens (living in the UK). This in itself shows a fall in democracy.
The youth and prisoners
The Government has consistently ignored the voices and opinions of 16 and and 17 year-olds, especially concerning issues that affect their life prospects directly. These notably include, the underfunding of schools and youth centres. If politicians gave the youth a say in how the country is run, the education system, for one, would be funded with greater efficiency. Concerning the rights of prisoners. Arguably, our fundamental and human right in a democracy is that everyone ought to be able to cast their vote — and this should surely include the majority of prisoners, unless there are special reasons against their eligibility.
British Democracy Legal disputes
People have taken the issue concerning prisoners’ right to vote to the British courts and lost. They then fought their case in the European Court of Justice and won. This protracted dispute suggests that Britain is a country that wants to limit the rights of certain voters. The ECJ ruled in favour of giving prisoners the right to vote in the UK and ordered that Britain step in line with other EU member states on this matter. But Britain still hasn’t budged.
British Parliamentary traditions
The House of Lords. Did you know that the House of Lords can delay a bill for up to one year? Why should they be able to postpone democracy and delay bills in this manner? Blocking people’s parliamentary sovereignty by delaying it, possibly indefinitely, is hardly democratic.
Media and the press
Finally, there’s the media and the freedom of the press. The owners of these press and media companies are bosses of big corporations. Some feel that this high status makes them unaccountable to the public. It is also the case that they often place their private agenda into the products they create. The result, is that the public are easily swayed towards a certain political party or social movement, quite unbeknownst to them. Some would say, that this is a way of controlling your vote.
We are not a dictatorship, but neither are we a perfect democracy. Take your time and consider the above points before making your own mind up.