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…
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