To what extent does the Westminister electoral system in need for reform Essay examples

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To what extent does the Westminster electoral system in need for reform?

The first-past-the-post system is a single pluralist system used in the UK general election. This system has helped in bringing about strong governments, and because it favours two parties, it takes praises for eliminating extremist parties; the results of the AV referendum supports my belief that the FPTP system shouldn't be reformed. However it can be argued that this system has its flaws, flaws like every other electoral system there are. Flaws that only favours two parties and penalises smaller parties making governments claim "democratic legitimacy" despite winning only one third of the popular votes. Above all flaws, tactical voting from electorates are perceived to be one of this system failures but it all lies on this question. If electorates feel their votes are not well represented under the FPTP, why was there a low turnout in the 2011 referendum?

Firstly, the reason why the first past the post system shouldn't be reformed is that it brings about a strong and stable government with a working majority in the House of Commons like Tony Blair. This is presented in the result of the 2001 election where the labour gained 413 seats which is 62% of the seats in the house. This shows the winning party gains a larger proportion of seats than its portion of votes (42%) giving ultimate power to winning party to pass laws. Whereas the electoral system was changed to a proportional system then it's looked upon as a myth to pass laws without negotiating with other non-winning parties. This ultimately takes away the hereditary powers from the winning party and distributes it. Therefore reforming the FPTP system, blurs out who the clear winner is In practice.

One point vital to mention in keeping our Westminster electoral system the same is that the FPTP system penalises smaller parties e.g. radical parties like BNP which stops it from gaining seats in the house. The results of the 2010 election under FPTP shows that the BNP party didn't gain a seat even though they gained some votes. This might seem unrepresentative of the minorities that voted but if this party is condoned under the FPTP, it opens the door for their ideas to be influenced in the decision making which can affect the diversion and cohesion of the country. This corroborates with my point that reforming our electoral system to a more proportional system welcomes corruption but if it still remains FPTP, it can at least eliminate extremist parties from getting a foothold and credibility in the House of Commons.

Putting the question into line with practice, the results of the May 2011 AV Referendum suggests there's a little public support for the current system to be reformed. 42% of the people eligible to vote didn't vote. This shows a low level participatory democracy on the change of the electoral system meaning that the demos are happy with the FPTP system so why change it? This reason and ones Above explains why the Westminster electoral system shouldn't be reformed.

Another perceived failing of the FPTP is that it can lead to tactical voting where electorates feel their favoured party don't have a chance in winning so they vote for another party that shares similar ideology as their favoured party just so the party they dislike are less likely to win. For example results of the 1997 and 2001 election shows the Labour and Liberal Democrats party did well in comparison to the Conservative party. This is because some liberals voted labour in some seats to keep the conservatives out, while in other constituencies, labour voters backed the liberals for the same reasons. Reasons like this make people to believe their votes are wasted under this system therefore it should be reformed to an electoral system like SV, proportional representation where their votes are more likely to count should vote for parties where their votes are likely to count.

The way votes are transformed…