democratic deficited

Democratic deficit

A perceived deficiency (lack of something) in the way a particular democratic body works, especially in terms of accountability and control over policy-making.

This criticism highlights a significant issue with the UK democracy, even though it was initially directed at the EU. A democratic deficit may arise when there are insufficient voting opportunities or when voting fails to yield proportional outcomes. The term could be employed to critique our democracy if one perceives that governments hold excessive power.

An unelected hereditary monarchy and an appointed House of Lords in the UK undermine the idea of representative democracy. Neither the monarch nor the Lords are chosen to represent any specific group in society, and they can only be removed through death or, since the House of Lords Reform Act 2014, by resigning or being expelled for specific reasons. This lack of accountability means the public cannot hold them responsible. While the monarch and Lords technically have limited powers, these limits are often bypassed, as seen with the Salisbury Convention. Additionally, despite some reforms, 92 hereditary peers still exist, and the appointment process is frequently criticized for favoritism, further diminishing the democratic facade of the House of Lords. This was exemplified in 2020 when Boris Johnson granted 36 new peerages, predominantly to former Conservative MPs and Brexit supporters.

The FPTP electoral system results in many minority MPs not being elected by a majority of their constituents. This system leads to wasted votes and unrepresentative outcomes in parliament. 

The prevalence of safe seats across the UK contributes to a lack of genuine choice in numerous constituencies.

 Moreover, the dominance of only two parties capable of forming a government diminishes the range of options available to voters. 

The exclusion of 16- and 17-year-olds as well as prisoners from participating in general elections. 

Additionally, certain groups, such as the homeless, face disenfranchisement due to registration processes.

 Low voter turnout in general elections, with only about two-thirds of eligible individuals casting their votes, raises concerns regarding the government's democratic legitimacy. 

Factors like wealth, size, and status create an uneven playing field among pressure groups, granting certain groups significantly more influence than others. In a scenario characterized by hyperpluralism, critical issues risk being overshadowed by the multitude of ongoing campaigns. 

Parties often circumvent regulations to increase their spending. The growing reliance on the internet enables parties to circumvent broadcasting restrictions imposed in other mediums.