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Two problems with British Democracy

Two problems with British Democracy

As of writing this, the UK General Election is in 49 days, 23 hours, 7 minutes and 22 seconds. What better time than to celebrate the numerous flaws with our humble system, a cheeky dose of good ol’ British critical thinking to get you feeling patriotic and hyped for the potential futility of the vote you may or may not cast on May 7th?

First Past the Post. Plain and simple, it’s broken. Briefly for the unaware, the vote you may or may not cast in will go towards the constituency you live in to elect an MP (Member of Parliament). There are 650 seats for MPs to hold altogether and the party that holds the majority of these seats is invited by the monarch to form a government. At the last election, there was no one party that held a majority and so the options were a hung parliament (weak government) or coalition. The problem here is smaller parties and smaller voices often have little to no representation in parliament.

Theoretically, if one party had 49% of the vote in every constituency but in every case another one of two took 51% of the vote, even though the popular vote across the country reflected that this 49% party was the most voted for party in Britain, it wouldn’t win a single seat in government and those voices would go unheard. In the 2010 election, UKIP gained 919,471 votes and no seats because their vote was spread out all across the country, not significant enough in one particular place to get a single MP, whereas that amount of votes in a proportional election would have won around 60 seats. That’s massive. Now I don’t support UKIP, but I do support those people’s right to be represented. First Past the Post actually supports a two party system, thus helping The Conservatives and Labour. Now I actually volunteer for Labour and support Labour, but I do that because I support Democracy more. Which we currently don’t have. At least not fair Democracy.

Now this is less of an issue to the one I just confronted, but still an issue. Personality Politics. In a country where every person is educated to the fullest extent about every issue, a government would be formed that would reflect the all round knowledge of the electorate and we’d most likely have a direct democracy, voting issue by issue with referendums every Friday. That’s the dream. But as it currently stands, people are busy and have a lot on their plate and need the issues summarised for them by a trusted person, party or media outlet so they know how to vote. That’s how political parties, politicians and the media are even a thing.

However many, many people are too busy even for this brief summary, but still want to vote. This, tragically more often than not comes to personality politics. Though the personality of a leader and not their actual policies inform many on some level all the time. Ed Miliband is hardly famed for his charisma and I’ve known people who took my Government and Politics A-Level with me for two years to comment that even if they liked his policies, they’d never vote for him because he’s not charismatic. People, this is the death of democracy. I’m not saying VOTE LABOUR. As long as you cast an informed vote, this issue is beaten and I love you.

Chances are however, at least for now, these issues will not be fixed any time soon and ironically any major party pledging to do so would be unelectable as proved in 2011 when the Alternative Vote system was shunned by the British public in the referendum for breaking this whole “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” vibe this country has going for it. Okay, rant over.

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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Political

 

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Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

It takes strength to be weak.

I’ve had CFS for a few years and I must say, it’s a bit shit. I have recovered a fair amount and gone from inability to walk and virtually living in my bed room for two years of my life to now being fairly active and quite happy. Other people will have had it worse than me and my heart goes out to them and others will have not had it as bad and my heart still goes out to them. Chronic Fatigue is a shitty thing to live with no matter the degree you suffer with it. But I’d like to focus on the positives I personally gained from the experience.

I was a bit of a self centred person before I was really struck down by CFS. I was racist and homophobic to some degree, cocky and all around a bit up myself. Spending weeks at a time with adolescents with terminal illness and conditions far worse than myself when I stayed at the hospital humbled me, because it was rare that I saw anyone bitter or aggressive in this hospital. They were all so much better than me. These two years had me re-examine my entire world outlook and helped me shape me into the person I am today, in many ways being the polar opposite of what I once was. I’d hated those years but I shall never forget them because of the formative effect they had on me.

My two years made me reliant on online communication to maintain friendships and I actually made a great deal of friendships through these means. I also had the opportunity to invest time into my interest in history which has since become a passion and I now hope to study it next year at university. And of course, my hobby in the form of gaming became my all consuming world which made my life bearable and is now a massive part of my life and lead me to an interest in gaming personalities on Youtube which lead to an interest in games ‘journalism’ and writing (that’s how you’re reading this) and the creation of the Youtube account I run with one of my closest friends. My respect for the NHS and passion for social justice and equality led me to an interest in politics and I’m now the local Labour Youth Officer and work closely with my constituency’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate and participate in the political process. Of course, because I’m no longer an intolerant bigot, I can also enjoy the amazing relationship I’m in with a mixed raced girl that would have never happened if my developing shitty beliefs had never been questioned and redeveloped. In short, everything I love in my life I have now because of CFS.

I imagine many other people with CFS have taken it as a chance to re-examine their lives and look at things with a new perspective. Being the kid in the wheelchair that catches people staring makes you think how awful it must be for every person you stared at. To anyone suffering with CFS, I know it’s shit but this is your chance to become someone who gets shit done and to fight back whatever level of fatigue you suffer with and take this as a formative experience. It’s hard to be different but this will shape your life and way of thinking in years to come. So make yourself proud. Because it takes strength to be weak.

P.S: I’m still a bit on the cocky side, hence my opinions being shoved in your face via this blog

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 

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