Lesson 1, Topic 5
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Liberal democracy

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Is the UK’s liberal democracy fair?

FairUnfair
It is free to vote and anyone can stand in an election.Wealthier people can donate big sums of money to political parties which comes with increased influence. It is very expensive to stand in an election as it requires full time unpaid campaigning for months on end.
Every constituent has one representativeUnequal constituency sizes means individuals have less percentage of their MPs time in larger constituencies compared to smaller constituencies.
First past the post rewards parties that can reasonably claim to be representing the whole country rather than small parts of it.The first past the post voting system disproportionately rewards parties with just enough support to win in lots of constituencies, rather than parties with very dispersed or very concentrated support, or parties that get lots of second places.
First past the post means the biggest parties with the most support dominate the political debate.First past the power punishes new parties and small parties, and it makes it very difficult for “non-mainstream” viewpoints to enter into the national debate.
In the UK, the major news organisations prioritise impartiality. The BBC is perhaps one of the best, but even the BBC is increasingly controversial. Most newspapers have political leanings which are heavily influenced by the editor, meaning that one person has much power to influence the information thousands of people might be reading.
People can choose who to vote for from a range of options.Voters might have a range of options to vote for, but some might have no chance of winning. This is the case in safe seats where in practice, there is only really one candidate to vote for if you want your vote to count.
Voters get to decide who to vote for.Can voters rationally decide who the best person to vote for is? People are often irrational and influenced by irrelevant details. For example, candidates that are listed at the top of ballot papers are likely to receive more votes than candidates at the bottom of ballot papers. Watch the video below to see how people are actually be in favour of the policies proposed by the person they despise, without realising it!