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    I'm using First Past the Post as an argument against the UK being a liberal democracy, but I'm not sure how to go about explaining it. I understand how it works but it's hard to get my head around a simple definition Can anyone help me out? Google isn't much use

    EDIT: I was really looking for a simple definition of the system itself, rather than how to use it in the argument
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    How can a country be a liberal democracy if elections are not free and fair? How can an election be free and fair when it can return as the winner someone who didn't win the largest share of the aggregate popular vote?

    Also, when the winning party gets overrepresented, as happens frequently in the UK, the competition within parliament is stifled, and thus is liberal democracy.
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    ahh, I wish we did this in AS History.......
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    *ahem*

    If the UK isn't a liberal democracy because it has FPTP, then nor is Canada, the US, India, and a host of other countries.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    *ahem*

    If the UK isn't a liberal democracy because it has FPTP, then nor is Canada, the US, India, and a host of other countries.
    Well yeah, but it sounds like the set question is just about the UK. I don't actually believe what I put above, it's just an argument that can be made for an essay.
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    Personally I think arguing that any country is undemocratic by virtue of any electoral system is invalid - it's the freedom of the vote that counts, not the counting system.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    Personally I think arguing that any country is undemocratic by virtue of any electoral system is invalid - it's the freedom of the vote that counts, not the counting system.
    Well no, In 2000 the actual majority of votes in the USA were for Al Gore, but because of the counting system (the electoral college) Bush became president.

    The counting system makes a difference.
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    I'm not saying the voting system is irrelevant. Indeed all systems should be considered. But the label 'undemocratic' is not fair to throw at the standard models (shall we say).
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    (Original post by gladders)
    *ahem*

    If the UK isn't a liberal democracy because it has FPTP, then nor is Canada, the US, India, and a host of other countries.
    Yeah it's just the UK I'm writing about
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    (Original post by SilverDoe21)
    I'm using First Past the Post as an argument against the UK being a liberal democracy, but I'm not sure how to go about explaining it. I understand how it works but it's hard to get my head around a simple definition Can anyone help me out? Google isn't much use
    FPTP requires only the least unpopular candidate wins, not that a candidate has support of the majority (50%+1). In most cases, the electorate would prefer someone else other than the winner, and so the winner cannot be said to represent his or her constituency.
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    Who cares?

    As long as Labour get in at the next election, it's all well and good.
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    shouldnt a democray have a fair representation of the population's wishes?
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    (Original post by gower)
    FPTP requires only the least unpopular candidate wins, not that a candidate has support of the majority (50%+1). In most cases, the electorate would prefer someone else other than the winner, and so the winner cannot be said to represent his or her constituency.
    Thanks
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    Use the example of UKIP getting almost 1 million votes in May yet still not having any representation at Parliament?
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    (Original post by Jack Scott)
    shouldnt a democray have a fair representation of the population's wishes?
    Yeah exactly, that's part of the essay, is the UK really a liberal democracy?
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    Well it isnt if it doesnt represent the populations wishes fairly I would say
    What does liberal mean anyway?
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    (Original post by Teveth)
    Who cares?

    As long as Labour get in at the next election, it's all well and good.
    Teveth: Spokesman for democracy
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    The majoritarian electoral process in the UK is called 'first past the post,' or 'single-member plurality system'. It is a constituency system used for elections to the House of Commons; there are 650 constituencies, of approximately equal size, ensured by reviews conducted by the Electoral Commission, and in these costituencies voters select a single candidate on their ballot paper. Each constituency returns a single candidate and the winning candidate needs only to achieve a simple plurality (a number that exceeds those of any other candidates polled).

    Alternatives include AV+ and PR, amongst others.

    A majoritarian system is one which favours or 'over-represents' larger parties, giving them a natural bias.
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    (Original post by Jack Scott)
    shouldnt a democray have a fair representation of the population's wishes?
    Well to get into technical degree level stuff a lot of academics have argued that democracy in any format (and especially in FPTP as in the UK) is flawed because of tactical voting so it can never really represent the 'true' wishes of the populace (game theory etc. comes into it).

    Guessing this is for an A-level essay though so the main argument will be that FPTP returns a disproportional number of parliamentary seats relative the proportion of the vote that party receives (I haven't seen the 2010 stats but in 05 Labour got approx 37% of the vote and 55% of the seats IIRC after a glass of wine).

    You could also include the fact that the Conservatives (and to a much larger extent the Lib Dems) need a far higher proportion of the vote to return a parliamentary majority because of the way constituencies are divided up. I believe there is one in Cornwall where the elected MP only got 11,000 votes or so while most need over 20,000 at the very least - this means that peoples votes are not worth the same amount. Similarly in 'swing' seats votes are disproportionately valuable compared to those in safe seats which could potentially lead to those constituents being unfairly represented in Parliament as their votes are far more important and disenfranchising those in safe seats whose vote carries absolutely no weight in the outcome of the election (which in turn can lead to voter apathy as people simply stop bothering to vote).

    Hope this gets you started!
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    a system cant be fair if every seat won 51% to 49% - therefore disbarring half the population from representation
 
 
 
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