Democracy: We’re Doing It All Wrong

At every election millions of people don’t vote. “It’s rigged.”, “No faith in the system.”, “They’re ignorant.”, “Not bothered.”, “Can’t be arsed.” these are just a few of the comments I’ve absorbed which were both aimed at and coming from people who don’t vote or haven’t voted.

So where are we going wrong? Aside from a lack of political education we also have an inadequate political system. Whether by design or whether it became this way over time is beside the point.

What we have now is a controversial representative democracy which gives voters a measly opportunity to vote for a local candidate who might become a member of government if their party wins a majority of seats in the House of Commons. (I know! it’s all ifs and buts.)

If you’re lucky enough that the candidate you voted for won the seat in your constituency and also their party won a majority of seats in the Commons, you can expect the policy platform of your candidate’s party to become law or at least to be debated and voted on in parliament.

On the flip side if your candidate didn’t win the seat in your constituency or even if they did win but their party didn’t win a majority of seats in the Commons, then you can expect pretty much nothing.

It’s an ‘all or nothing’ system but even the ‘all’ often turns out to be very little or nothing. Politicians seem to have a habit of pledging to do things and then u-turning in the opposite direction when they become part of the government and have the power to change things.

We currently have a system that relies on trust, and many people understandably have little or no trust in politicians and therefore have no faith in our political system. So why would they bother to vote?

Give them something else to vote for!

Three words that could change the whole situation for the better: Vote for Policies

Image: Ballot paper and screenshot of Vote for Policies website

It’s exactly the kind of change we need, to improve UK democracy. It gives the voter real control over which policies become law (or at least to decide which policies get debated and voted on in the Commons.)

Instead of asking voters to elect individuals (who may or may not belong to a political party) in hope their party gains a majority and sticks to their manifesto pledges, we should give voters the right to choose their preferred policies rather than choose politicians.

The results of the Vote for Policies survey so far are in complete contrast to the election results in 2017. The People’s Manifesto currently has policies from 4 political parties and zero policies from the Conservative Party.

The Conservatives’ policies currently aren’t popular enough to win in any of the categories. UKIP (who have zero members of parliament as it stands) are winning in 4 categories and their policies have made it into The People’s Manifesto.

With such disparity in the popularity of policies and the results of recent general elections it’s surely a warning sign that our democracy isn’t fit for purpose. We need to change it ASAP!


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