The people have spoken – but what did they say? And is anyone listening? That’s democracy in action for you.

How democracy works in the United Kingdom.
Here in the UK we have what is called a constitutional monarchy. Our Queen is the Head of State, although she no longer rules over us, absolute. Instead we have a Prime Minister to head the government. Unlike – ie our U.S cousins, Where they vote for their president directly – we don’t vote for our Prime Minister. We vote for our local MP (member of parliament -they generally represent a party, though we have a few who don’t) The leader of the party with the most MPs becomes Prime Minister and forms a government. Get it? We have what may be called a ‘mature’ democracy where is considered very poor form to assassinate ones opponents, no matter how tempting. There are also other limitations, like capping the amount of money MPs can spend on their campaign.

Who can vote?
In the early days of our British democracy, only landowners, or men of property had the right to vote. Various Reform Acts since 1868 changed this and Practically everyone with a British passport (or Republic of Ireland) can vote. Male or female over the age of 18 that is. We British, in fact gave women the right to vote in 1918. When you think about it, it’s not that long ago. In Ancient Athens, (often referred to as the ‘birthplace of democracy’, – they thought of this plan first) women did not even have the right to vote, can you believe that? So we took the idea of democracy and improved on it – somewhat. Women have been active in British politics, (look at Margaret Thatcher for heavens sake – Caroline Lucas, Nicola Sturgeon, Mahri Black) they could potentially improve the lot of men (or destroy it – could go either way)

Does democracy work at all?
I am always mystified when  people claim they don’t bother to vote, as it “makes no difference”. Sure – the world is not as it should be, but people have risked all, for their right to have a say. (and mess things up for themselves, rather than simply let someone else mess up for them.) Democracy is work in progress people, work in progress.
The worst thing about it, I find, it’s just so difficult to have to think. Thinking Is just exhausting, all that plotting and game of throne-ing, decision making, going round and round and getting nothing done-nothing at all. I think different countries have different systems, but we are very proud of our democracy. Enjoy it in action here
Sure – there is corruption and exploitation and unfair practices, but we’ll get round to sorting it out – god damn it. If you have any specific issues in mind, write to your MP. (do you even know who is your MP? No? Don’t complain then). In our family we always write to our MPs – no doubt there is a lot of eye rolling when our beautifully hand written letters arrive. (Current round up)

So here we are- the people have spoken, no one is entirely clear about what they said, but I’ve done my bit and voted. Adieu – till 2020, I can now go back to issues under my control- such as sorting out my wardrobe and choosing the perfect handbag for AW15.

Cheers to democracy in action everyone! Are you celebrating or weeping? And for heavens sake write to your MP and keep fingers crossed…

© Ladysarahinlondon
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17 thoughts on “The people have spoken – United Kingdom elections 2015

      1. Daedalus Lex

        As one of the “colonies,” our U.S. democracy evolved largely along the lines of the UK. Except we have no cap on election spending, so our “democracy” is quickly becoming a plutocracy. Also, our officials would be dumbfounded by your beautifully handwritten letters (but the writer of such letters would certainly rank higher than our officials in a popularity poll, so all is not lost).

  1. dottoressa

    I enjoyed reading this exceptionally! Please write more such investigative and educative posts ( and long ones:-) ), about everything you like and choose.,I like them very much
    I always vote,every vote counts and can bring the change ( or not) and am happy to have a choice and possibility
    And after that you can be unsatisfied with people chosen by you or the other side 🙂
    And I write quite often 🙂

  2. Steve Morris

    I support your one-person campaign to get the British people to vote!
    Apparently about a third of the electorate didn’t vote at this election. Part of me understands this, after all, often it’s a case of choosing the least worst option, and in any case one vote is never going to make a difference.
    But despite all the limitations and difficulties, it’s the only way we have to influence the path of our country. To not vote is simply to let others make decisions on your part. If that’s what you choose, then you have no right to complain about the outcome.

    1. silkpathdiary

      The thing is it’s not just one vote, there are if you are right, a third of electorate who could have had their say. But yes, I do agree with choosing the least worst, sadly.

  3. silkpathdiary

    I do feel people take it for granted and see it as a chore but the bigger perspective is, of course, in some other countries no one – that is the ordinary people – has a say at all and Heaven help you if you dare to try. For the first time my kids are old enough to understand something about the campaigns. Oh yes, start them young I say ….

  4. Sue

    I love voting. Absolutely love it. The whole atmosphere at the polling station and the stubby pencil in a curtained booth. My local choice did not win , almost but not quite; completely agree that anyone who has the right to vote should do it.

    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      I love voting too. Totally regret that I did not do a ‘real life outfit voting post’ . 🙂 I also think everyone needs to spend some serious thinking time understanding the policies various parties put forward, it’s not enough just to vote.

  5. Hanna

    dear Lady Sarah,
    enjoyed your briefing and the vivid u tube!
    (our deputees can hide behind desks, read, nap and chat…)
    These elections will have great influence on the direction EU will take.
    And is there really only one green MP – unbelievable!

    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      I know- still though the greens did increase their overall membership. When they started few took them seriously. Now the OTHER parties are adopting their green policies, just not enough yet. Are the greens more powerful where you are?

  6. Hanna

    Yes they are, the green Party is in a coalition with the Social Democrates in the Viennese City government and in two western federal governments; there are many green votes in cities with universities. The Viennese green are a bit leftist, as Vienna has a red tradition and the westerners more conservative (they are in coalitions with with the conservative Party and mostly have a conservative Family background). Its easier for the green Party because our System represents the number of votes better, – but there are still lots of Problems and the British System has its Advantages, our conservatives would like to copy and introduce parts of it:
    I had the Impression there is a lot of green common sense in UK and wondered that its represented by one MP only.

    Please excuse my Denglish and those Capital letters, that just jump up on their own …

  7. coulda shoulda woulda

    I found out in the ’97 election that a citizen of the commonwealth who is on the electoral roll in the UK was eligible to vote. I was on a student visa but was told I could vote and that was the only election where I didn’t vote because I felt odd meddling into what I thought was other people’s affairs but now I live here and earned my stripes! I live in what is a marginal seat and the winner won by only about a thousand votes. Every vote really does count!

    Politics has turned very “exciting” because it seems we are voting on a EU referendum next and I don’t think it will be long before there is another referendum on Scotland…


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