The current democracy = Farce

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saayagain
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1) How can there be democracy if money plays the most important role in politics?

Political parties are privately funded ergo if you are rich you can influence the success of a political party (probably the one that has enables you to achieve your personal goals i.e. get richer).

I have done my own research and analysis and found that in the five year run ups to the past two general elections the party which received the most 'donations' won the election. Also, Labour and the Tories received at least 4 times as much as the Lib Dems and at least 10 ties as much as all the other parties combined in the both general elections.

Another statistic from my analysis shows that Lab and the Tories receive at least 85% of the total seats in an election.

Political party funding should be provided solely by government.

2) How can there be democracy when there are conflicts in interest and a lack of transparency?

For example, Tories are reluctant to implement policies that will hurt their buddies.

MPs (and potential MPs) personal wealth should be public knowledge along with their CV (work experience, education background etc...). This should help to identify any conflicts of interests. Any effort to conceal information by any means should be penalized.

3) How can there be democracy when the winner of the election is determined by seats won rather than votes received thus rendering votes useless?

Change the system to votes based win i.e the party with more than 50% of the votes wins (50.1%).

What does the TSR population think of what I have suggested?

Good Day
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cjmro
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I agree with a lot of what you have said. I find the FPTP system has added to already existing voter apathy and that the AV system would provide a better alternative. Sadly though, money talks and the UK continues to be controlled by those in virtuous circles, protecting those virtuous interests. How do you think the next General Election will pan out? I'm uncertain although I'm confident the Lib Dems will be far less popular than they were in 2010.
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gladders
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While sympathetic to your criticisms, it should be noted that it is impossible to eliminate these in a free society. You can mitigate them and seek to reduce them, but, as with crime, a free society means the acceptance of some of it.

The question is how much, of course.
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gladders
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(Original post by saayagain)
3) How can there be democracy when the winner of the election is determined by seats won rather than votes received thus rendering votes useless?

Change the system to votes based win i.e the party with more than 50% of the votes wins (50.1%).
Just spotted this and can't help but say I have issues with it. It can be, and indeed is a democracy if it's determined by seats won. Just because you don't like it can't deny that according to political science, it is a perfectly democratic way of organising things.

The problem with apportioning seats by share of votes is that this destroys any link between voters and their representative, arguably making the representative less accountable for their decisions.

And what do you do if no party has a majority? Arguably, coalitions which are not formed before an election could be seen as democratically problematic - who voted for them?
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saayagain
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(Original post by cjmro)
I agree with a lot of what you have said. I find the FPTP system has added to already existing voter apathy and that the AV system would provide a better alternative. Sadly though, money talks and the UK continues to be controlled by those in virtuous circles, protecting those virtuous interests. How do you think the next General Election will pan out? I'm uncertain although I'm confident the Lib Dems will be far less popular than they were in 2010.
If you look at the donations received, Labour is going to win the most seats.

Let's see if it is an accurate prediction...
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saayagain
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(Original post by gladders)
While sympathetic to your criticisms, it should be noted that it is impossible to eliminate these in a free society. You can mitigate them and seek to reduce them, but, as with crime, a free society means the acceptance of some of it.

The question is how much, of course.
Well what I have suggested will help increase the level of democracy.

Government funding is a step in the right direction. Guess which country provides the most government funding to political parties based on votes? Sweden lol. Oh how these politicians love the Scandinavians.

Also, in elections, when the candidates running for Prime Minister make pledges/promises the people should be able to have the power to remove them if they go back on it. No doubt Cameron made a lot of pledges in the run up to the 2010 elections. I remember someone mentioning the fact that Cameron said he wouldn't privatize the NHS but it's happening under his watch. That should an immediate removal from position offence.
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saayagain
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(Original post by gladders)
Just spotted this and can't help but say I have issues with it. It can be, and indeed is a democracy if it's determined by seats won. Just because you don't like it can't deny that according to political science, it is a perfectly democratic way of organising things.

The problem with apportioning seats by share of votes is that this destroys any link between voters and their representative, arguably making the representative less accountable for their decisions.

And what do you do if no party has a majority? Arguably, coalitions which are not formed before an election could be seen as democratically problematic - who voted for them?
One person. One vote. The seats system causes votes to be dismissed. For example, If Labour gets 1000 votes and Conservatives get 1500 and win the seat the 1000 votes count for nothing.

In a general election you are voting for the leader of the country. The representative in your constituency is just a rep. They get their orders from whoever is in power. They just relay the constituencies concerns.

If no part has a majority then it's settled in the same way it is settled when it is decided by seats won. Hung parliament and majority makes coalitions with whoever to make their total share a majority...
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chemistrykid123
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If you don't like it then **** off to another country, this one is a lot better than ALOT of other countries
(Original post by saayagain)
1) How can there be democracy if money plays the most important role in politics?

Political parties are privately funded ergo if you are rich you can influence the success of a political party (probably the one that has enables you to achieve your personal goals i.e. get richer).

I have done my own research and analysis and found that in the five year run ups to the past two general elections the party which received the most 'donations' won the election. Also, Labour and the Tories received at least 4 times as much as the Lib Dems and at least 10 ties as much as all the other parties combined in the both general elections.

Another statistic from my analysis shows that Lab and the Tories receive at least 85% of the total seats in an election.

Political party funding should be provided solely by government.

2) How can there be democracy when there are conflicts in interest and a lack of transparency?

For example, Tories are reluctant to implement policies that will hurt their buddies.

MPs (and potential MPs) personal wealth should be public knowledge along with their CV (work experience, education background etc...). This should help to identify any conflicts of interests. Any effort to conceal information by any means should be penalized.

3) How can there be democracy when the winner of the election is determined by seats won rather than votes received thus rendering votes useless?

Change the system to votes based win i.e the party with more than 50% of the votes wins (50.1%).

What does the TSR population think of what I have suggested?

Good Day
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zippity.doodah
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I think this pales in comparison to our voting system, our parliamentary structure (e.g. lords, unitary system, etc), MP independence and how members of the government are chosen
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saayagain
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(Original post by chemistrykid123)
If you don't like it then **** off to another country, this one is a lot better than ALOT of other countries
Petulant zombie.
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RF_PineMarten
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I would like a more proportional voting system, but not AV. I think the one they use for the European elections would be a better option, if it could be implemented. It's definitely something we should be debating, because it could eliminate tactical voting and give smaller parties (but only ones getting over a certain % of the vote) some representation, instead of none at all. It would help make politicians more accountable to the public. It would make protest voting more viable and effective, putting more pressure on other politicians and the government to act on certain issues.
Whether and how exactly it could be achieved is another matter.

We in Britain have been developing our democracy over a long period of time, but that doesn't mean we're finished. I think proportional voting is something that needs a serious debate.
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gladders
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(Original post by saayagain)
Well what I have suggested will help increase the level of democracy.

Government funding is a step in the right direction. Guess which country provides the most government funding to political parties based on votes? Sweden lol. Oh how these politicians love the Scandinavians.
I have every confidence that the people of the Scandinavian countries are just as despising of their politicians as we are of ours.

Also, in elections, when the candidates running for Prime Minister make pledges/promises the people should be able to have the power to remove them if they go back on it. No doubt Cameron made a lot of pledges in the run up to the 2010 elections. I remember someone mentioning the fact that Cameron said he wouldn't privatize the NHS but it's happening under his watch. That should an immediate removal from position offence.
The people do have the power to remove them if they go back on it - it's called general elections.

If you mean remove them the instant they go back on the pledge, that's rather difficult. Circumstances may change, or they may discover information when they achieve office which makes their proposal impractical. Or they may have been forced to go into coalition with a party that has a mandate to block that idea. What then?

Fact is, it is the role of the people, not the courts, to punish politicians.

One person. One vote. The seats system causes votes to be dismissed. For example, If Labour gets 1000 votes and Conservatives get 1500 and win the seat the 1000 votes count for nothing.
And you ignored what I point out as the weakness of a directly-proportional system (which is known as party list): the representatives, once chosen, are unaccountable to the people.

In a general election you are voting for the leader of the country.
No, you're not.

The representative in your constituency is just a rep. They get their orders from whoever is in power. They just relay the constituencies concerns.
This is the most astounding misunderstanding of the role of MPs I have ever seen.

If no part has a majority then it's settled in the same way it is settled when it is decided by seats won. Hung parliament and majority makes coalitions with whoever to make their total share a majority...
Which, arguably, is also quite undemocratic. Who voted for that coalition?

Claims of democratic and undemocratic can go in many ways. There is no one single way of being democratic; at its core, it's the ability of the people to unseat those in power peacefully through elections, and to direct policy through their elected representatives in parliament. All the rest is really tinkering.
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saayagain
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(Original post by gladders)
I have every confidence that the people of the Scandinavian countries are just as despising of their politicians as we are of ours.
Maybe. Maybe not. But their system is better than ours. I'm not saying their system doesn't need to constantly improve. At the moment the system is broken...It's barely democracy. Just because you vote once every 5 years it doesn't mean the country is democratic...

(Original post by gladders)
The people do have the power to remove them if they go back on it - it's called general elections.
That's bs because people with the same ideology or views get elected then it's like nothing has changed. Vote for David Cameron or Ed Miliband. They are essentially the same and will implement roughly the same policies.

(Original post by gladders)
If you mean remove them the instant they go back on the pledge, that's rather difficult. Circumstances may change, or they may discover information when they achieve office which makes their proposal impractical. Or they may have been forced to go into coalition with a party that has a mandate to block that idea. What then?
Yes well. It should be mandatory for parties to set out their objectives and then a review of the progress of the achievement of those objectives should be held in which the review committee consists of randomly chosen citizens.

(Original post by gladders)
Fact is, it is the role of the people, not the courts, to punish politicians.
People have zero power. Why? because they can only chose between two parties. Why? because all other parties aren't taken seriously. Why? because their exposure to the public is limited. Why? because they have poor funding. Why? Because the private individuals and institutions chose not to. Why? Because they see no way they can benefit from another party winning the election.

This means people must chose between the sponsor chosen parties.

(Original post by gladders)
And you ignored what I point out as the weakness of a directly-proportional system (which is known as party list): the representatives, once chosen, are unaccountable to the people.
How are they not accountable?


(Original post by gladders)
No, you're not.
So the prime minister isn't determined by the number of seats won by the party?


(Original post by gladders)
This is the most astounding misunderstanding of the role of MPs I have ever seen.
What does an MP do then? The majority of their time is used tio relay info from their constituents to the prime minister via committee meetings, the house of commons, PMQs etc.

(Original post by gladders)
Which, arguably, is also quite undemocratic. Who voted for that coalition?

Claims of democratic and undemocratic can go in many ways. There is no one single way of being democratic; at its core, it's the ability of the people to unseat those in power peacefully through elections, and to direct policy through their elected representatives in parliament. All the rest is really tinkering.
Well then make a system that ensures people get to choose their second and third choice or have a two round system. There are ways to improve this crapola. You seem like you're smart. Make one. Maybe after the first round of voting the parties make coalitions based on their reasons. Then everyone votes again. For example, Tories receive 40%, Labour receive 35%, Lib dems receive 15% and the Green party receive 10%. Tories decide to make a coalition with lib dems, labour makes one with the greens. Then everyones votes for who they want....bare in mind i'm just spit balling here
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RF_PineMarten
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(Original post by gladders)
This is the most astounding misunderstanding of the role of MPs I have ever seen.
Actually, it's not as far off as you seem to think it is. It should be noted that MPs often stick to the party line, even where doing so is unpopular with their constituents.
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chemistrykid123
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(Original post by saayagain)
Petulant zombie.
Honestly all you people do is go on and on can't you just accept that this is not that bad considering democracy is not in human nature we should be celebrating this instead of always putting people down.
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landscape2014
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The methods of arriving at the agent in the legislature who articulates a particular set of ideas on behalf of a political group are many and varied. In the West there is a constant promotion of democracy – rule of the people by a representative legislature – nowhere in the West does this actually occur (MP’s are agents who represent the party not the public whose opinions are not embraced, only their vote). The recognition of all citizens’ right to directly select their senior authority figures in government by secret vote is fundamental to democratic philosophy; it relies on the voter acquiring knowledge to make an informed choice the pursuit of which, presently, the bulk of any nation does not engage in. Whilst this situation remains the informed representative exercising their uncoerced vote on the basis of their electoral support is theoretically the next best democratic arrangement. The concerned citizen now has to put himself forward as an independent representative (of his own views) or become a member of a political party which, to be democratically framed, would allow the members to directly select candidates for consideration by the voters at local and national elections. The senior authority figures in a party could be selected by democratic vote (AV- as many alternative votes as there are candidates, the members individual vote allotted a value commensurate with its position; 1/1, ½ , 1/3, ¼ , et al) of the assembly of which they are part. Without the use of democratic means to reach these decisions their legitimacy is always in question. Presently the legislatures are stocked with placemen and women whose positions are filled by a system that has very little connection with democratic philosophy. The electorate are invited to vote for a candidate the party establishment select (not the party members – they like the wider electorate merely endorse the candidate(s) put before them). Since most western political parties are not organised on democratic principles (selection committees selecting the party candidate not direct selection by all the party members in a particular constituency), it ill becomes them to preach about a system they will not adopt themselves. Without pluralistic representation at the constituency level (impossible with single member constituencies) the span of political sympathies of a particular electorate will never be known and more importantly never represented. The pontifications of so many western politicians about the dire state of other legislatures smack of hypocrisy. Their own parties are run by privileged self-serving hierarchies.
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gladders
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(Original post by RFowler)
Actually, it's not as far off as you seem to think it is. It should be noted that MPs often stick to the party line, even where doing so is unpopular with their constituents.
Yes, they do, because that is what they were elected to do: they made promises in manifestoes, after all. To argue that this is wrong is to contradict OP's claim of politicians going back on their word.

Outside of manifestoes, however, it is worthwhile noting that we are in a golden age of parliamentary party rebellion, one of the highest rates ever, from the low of the 1945-50 Parliament.
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gladders
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(Original post by saayagain)
Maybe. Maybe not. But their system is better than ours. I'm not saying their system doesn't need to constantly improve. At the moment the system is broken...It's barely democracy. Just because you vote once every 5 years it doesn't mean the country is democratic...
I say again: you disliking it does not make it any less democratic than, say, Sweden's system. Both are actually quite similar in many ways, anyway. Moreover, political scientists have long acknowledged that what's working in one system may have different results in another.

A significant factor is population size, for example: the larger the country the greater the dangers to protection of minorities and so on.

That's bs because people with the same ideology or views get elected then it's like nothing has changed. Vote for David Cameron or Ed Miliband. They are essentially the same and will implement roughly the same policies.
Then what's stopping people running for election themselves and/or voting for other candidates?

Swedish people have this exact same criticism of their parties, particularly because they more regularly go into coalitions and so must have common ground to work with.

Yes well. It should be mandatory for parties to set out their objectives and then a review of the progress of the achievement of those objectives should be held in which the review committee consists of randomly chosen citizens.
That's what Parliament is for, and it's considerably better equipped to do that job.

People have zero power. Why? because they can only chose between two parties. Why? because all other parties aren't taken seriously. Why? because their exposure to the public is limited. Why? because they have poor funding. Why? Because the private individuals and institutions chose not to. Why? Because they see no way they can benefit from another party winning the election.

This means people must chose between the sponsor chosen parties.
Well that's a factual error: there's three main parties in Parliament, and tons of other smaller ones.

If the smaller parties aren't taken seriously, what can be done about that? That sounds like a criticism of smaller parties (perhaps being doctrinaire/splinterist)?

And anyway, while I utterly despise UKIP, it can't be denied that this party has broken the political mould, has mass support and has gathered money from powerful backers. If the main parties are so peachy, explain why this has happened?

People have absolutely tons of power but are very bad at using it in effective ways. To start with, you seem to be assuming that the only way we could and should interact with government is through elections, as if voting is the end of democracy. It's not: it's the beginning.

People have the right to speak out, debate, campaign, email, petition, run for election, get on the news, join organisations, do all kinds of collective public pressure-making that directs and influences government.

Having worked in central government, I can freely acknowledge that it's a clunky, creaking machine, but one thing that Parliament is constantly snapping at their heels over is consultation, and they make a real effort to get views and opinions on any and every policy and legislation that is made. The problem is people simply don't care, and won't take five minutes to fill in a simple form. This is in part because there are thousands of consultations taking place at any one time, but you don't have to fill out them all, simply the ones that affect you.

I am in no way convinced that people actually use their power to its fullest extent.

How are they not accountable?
Single member system (such as UK): I vote for a person, based on their promises. Five years later, I consider their record. If I am unhappy, I vote for someone else.

Purely proportional system: I vote for a party, which has a list of candidates. I cannot choose who on their list becomes a representative. Five years later I consider their record, and while Party X's first representative was piss poor, their second representative wasn't bad. If I vote for Party X again however, their first representative is the one who is rewarded.

So the prime minister isn't determined by the number of seats won by the party?
He is, but that's not what you said. You said we vote for the leader of the country. We are voting for our MP, and the collective total of the MPs will determine that government as a whole, and through that, the leader will be chosen. It's entirely possible for the majority of the country to vote mostly for Party X but, while that party is in government, Party Y has the Prime Ministership.

What does an MP do then? The majority of their time is used tio relay info from their constituents to the prime minister via committee meetings, the house of commons, PMQs etc.
Their role is myriad, but to argue (as I have just done above to RFowler) that they are all simply lobby-fodder is to ignore the last fifty years of changes in behaviour of MPs. They are considerably more likely nowadays to favour their constituents' wishes over their party's, but even then this has to square with what they promise at election-time through the party manifesto. There is, in every country, an eternal and unresolvable tension between the rights of the locality and of the nation as a whole; that's democracy.

Well then make a system that ensures people get to choose their second and third choice or have a two round system. There are ways to improve this crapola. You seem like you're smart. Make one. Maybe after the first round of voting the parties make coalitions based on their reasons. Then everyone votes again. For example, Tories receive 40%, Labour receive 35%, Lib dems receive 15% and the Green party receive 10%. Tories decide to make a coalition with lib dems, labour makes one with the greens. Then everyones votes for who they want....bare in mind i'm just spit balling here
I'm not arguing that FPTP is perfect by any means. It's riddled with flaws and problems. But likewise, no other system out there is perfect, and all you're doing in adopting a new one is accepting other strengths and other weaknesses. I used to be a firm advocate of Single Transferable Vote, for example; but now I am, basically, wholly agnostic on the idea of electoral reform.

I also think changing the electoral system will do a lot less for improving how this country works than other, less flashy, more technical reforms. Things like Lords reform and electoral systems gets heads and sounds exciting, but it's a paper tiger really for making the country work better. Reforms that do work and make a difference, however, are the dull, grey, but important ones like committee reform, procedural changes. and reinforcing the culture of consultation that central government is obliged to pursue.
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saayagain
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(Original post by chemistrykid123)
Honestly all you people do is go on and on can't you just accept that this is not that bad considering democracy is not in human nature we should be celebrating this instead of always putting people down.
Don't talk about human nature mate. Humans are intelligent enough to establish more civil ways of living. Do not lump humans aside animals.

There is no democracy in the jungle because animals are not smart enough to create one.

We (humans) are. So we can decide to do things or not to do things.

You can celebrate this crap if you want but I pity you for not wanting more.

Suckers like you are the perfect type of citizen for this 'democracy' lol. Believe what you want. Do not ask questions.

Petulant zombie.
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saayagain
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(Original post by gladders)
I say again: you disliking it does not make it any less democratic than, say, Sweden's system. Both are actually quite similar in many ways, anyway. Moreover, political scientists have long acknowledged that what's working in one system may have different results in another.

A significant factor is population size, for example: the larger the country the greater the dangers to protection of minorities and so on.
If you are rich your vote (donation) counts.

(Original post by gladders)
Then what's stopping people running for election themselves and/or voting for other candidates?

Swedish people have this exact same criticism of their parties, particularly because they more regularly go into coalitions and so must have common ground to work with.
Money stops them.

Which country is the most democratic country?

(Original post by gladders)
That's what Parliament is for, and it's considerably better equipped to do that job.
Parliament is poo.

(Original post by gladders)
Well that's a factual error: there's three main parties in Parliament, and tons of other smaller ones.

If the smaller parties aren't taken seriously, what can be done about that? That sounds like a criticism of smaller parties (perhaps being doctrinaire/splinterist)?

And anyway, while I utterly despise UKIP, it can't be denied that this party has broken the political mould, has mass support and has gathered money from powerful backers. If the main parties are so peachy, explain why this has happened?

People have absolutely tons of power but are very bad at using it in effective ways. To start with, you seem to be assuming that the only way we could and should interact with government is through elections, as if voting is the end of democracy. It's not: it's the beginning.

People have the right to speak out, debate, campaign, email, petition, run for election, get on the news, join organisations, do all kinds of collective public pressure-making that directs and influences government.

Having worked in central government, I can freely acknowledge that it's a clunky, creaking machine, but one thing that Parliament is constantly snapping at their heels over is consultation, and they make a real effort to get views and opinions on any and every policy and legislation that is made. The problem is people simply don't care, and won't take five minutes to fill in a simple form. This is in part because there are thousands of consultations taking place at any one time, but you don't have to fill out them all, simply the ones that affect you.

I am in no way convinced that people actually use their power to its fullest extent.
Smaller parties do not have the funds to compete with the TWO mainsteam parties. If you think Lib Dems are major party then I give up. People have the power to choose between who the real people in power choose i.e the people that back them via donations which allows them to build a strong campaign with loads of PR and inclusion in media (newspapers, tv shows, the news etc...). So people do not have the power. The establishment make you think you do but you don't. You choose between right wing or centre right wing that occasionally has a left policy or two but are basically the same. *sigh*

(Original post by gladders)
Single member system (such as UK): I vote for a person, based on their promises. Five years later, I consider their record. If I am unhappy, I vote for someone else.

Purely proportional system: I vote for a party, which has a list of candidates. I cannot choose who on their list becomes a representative. Five years later I consider their record, and while Party X's first representative was piss poor, their second representative wasn't bad. If I vote for Party X again however, their first representative is the one who is rewarded.
That's bs. if your views are right wing you never vote for labour. if your are left wing you never vote tory. It's as simple as that. never has a party disappeared due to major incompetence. They are simply rebranded.

(Original post by gladders)
He is, but that's not what you said. You said we vote for the leader of the country. We are voting for our MP, and the collective total of the MPs will determine that government as a whole, and through that, the leader will be chosen. It's entirely possible for the majority of the country to vote mostly for Party X but, while that party is in government, Party Y has the Prime Ministership.
Well it should be the way I said. You vote for the leader. Then you look at each constituency and see who got the most votes there. Vote for an MP that might as well be a bumble bee.

(Original post by gladders)
Their role is myriad, but to argue (as I have just done above to RFowler) that they are all simply lobby-fodder is to ignore the last fifty years of changes in behaviour of MPs. They are considerably more likely nowadays to favour their constituents' wishes over their party's, but even then this has to square with what they promise at election-time through the party manifesto. There is, in every country, an eternal and unresolvable tension between the rights of the locality and of the nation as a whole; that's democracy.
MP's are useless.

(Original post by gladders)
I'm not arguing that FPTP is perfect by any means. It's riddled with flaws and problems. But likewise, no other system out there is perfect, and all you're doing in adopting a new one is accepting other strengths and other weaknesses. I used to be a firm advocate of Single Transferable Vote, for example; but now I am, basically, wholly agnostic on the idea of electoral reform.

I also think changing the electoral system will do a lot less for improving how this country works than other, less flashy, more technical reforms. Things like Lords reform and electoral systems gets heads and sounds exciting, but it's a paper tiger really for making the country work better. Reforms that do work and make a difference, however, are the dull, grey, but important ones like committee reform, procedural changes. and reinforcing the culture of consultation that central government is obliged to pursue.
Just fix it and then the people's choice shall be appointed and all shall be well for the UK and the world.
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4.45%

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