How far and fully Britain satisfies the conditions for representative democracy?
The belief of representative form of government is based on thefull adult franchise- that is, all adults have the right to vote. However, there are some problems with this assumption. Firstly, all adults except prisoners and mentally ill people have the right to vote. Secondly, not everybody uses this right. It is worth mentioning the fact that the turnout is falling and in the last elections the number of people who bothered to vote was about 60%, whereas, on the other hand, in local elections the number of voters was only 30%.Thirdly, we could criticize the government for allowing army, sex and marriage from 16, but participation in elections only from 18. So, the issue of full adult franchise is rather questionable and government should take certain means to improve the turnout and make the people participate.
Second condition for the representative democracy is asecret ballot, which helps to ensure voting without intimidation or bribery. Although in practice it is not as in theory. As the ballot is numbered we can know how somebody has voted.
Next condition isregular elections. It is really true to a great extent because every 5 years in Britain, people have the chance to vote into power those they wish to represent them in Parliament. However it is not always true, as the elections were postponed during the Second World War. Considering the fact whether elections are fair, we could assume that they are, but the election system itself is not really fair.
When we say "fair elections" we mean that each vote should count equally. However, in the First Past to Post system it is impossible. In quantity the votes are equal but not in importance. For example in 1983 and 1987, the Conservatives won majorities of over a hundred seats on just over 42% of the popular vote. So political parties are now paying more attention to the marginal seats rather then to the safe seats. Government could propose another alternative to this system, for example-Proportional Representation, which would be much more proportionate when the seats would be distributing.
The fifth condition isan effective choice of candidates and parties for voters. We can argue that there is only 3 party, or even 2 party system now in UK. Moreover, MPs are not really representative of the society. The big majority of the representatives are white rich middle- age men.
Further condition isa level playing field between rival parties and candidates contesting elections. Yes, it is true but only between 3 main parties, or as previously mentioned 2 parties. And what really helps them to stay popular is TV and press coverage. However, other parties do not have as much attention attached to them as compared to the Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats parties. For example, in the last elections only one seat was given to the anIndependent Candidate
And finally, the last condition for the representative democracy isa free and diverse media enabling a wide expression of views. We could criticize this using the fact that media is controlled and owned by private companies, which support capitalism. Furthermore, there are no extreme left or right wing newspapers. One more important fact to mention is that there are more conservative papers. And last but not less important criticism is that there are no papers supporting other parties, such as Green party, for instance.
Taking into account of everything discussed before, in conclusion it is worth mentioning the fact that people certainly need to participate in the political process more than they are doing now.