British democracy isn’t working

12 April 2007

British democracy isn’t working. Public confidence and participation is falling. In 2005, the Labour government was re-elected with the support of a mere one-fifth of eligible electors. More people didn’t vote (39%) than voted Labour (less than 36%). The first-past-the-post electoral system disenfranchises millions of voters. Many people feel alienated; that their votes don’t count.

In addition, we have an unelected House of Lords, now further tainted by the loans-for-peerages scandal.

There is a crisis of democracy. People feel politicians don’t represent them and that they are powerless to influence the government. Proof of this was the decision of Prime Minister Tony Blair to drag Britain into the Iraq quagmire, despite massive public protests against the war.

Politicians need to reengage with the public. We need a parliamentary system that is more representative and accountable.

British democracy needs modernising, to make it fit for the twenty-first century. The time has come to renew the democratic process.

On his weekly TV programme, Talking With Tatchell, Peter Tatchell interviews Pam Giddy, Director of The Power Inquiry.

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