What are the advantages and disadvantages of representative democracy in the uk

  • 0 votes

Just need some points and examples, thanks in advance

Posted Sun 22nd May, 2011 @ 17:48 by Jack

5 Answers

  • 8 votes

Our teacher gave us a table along these lines for Direct and Indirect Democracy

Indirect- Advantages

  • More practical in a larger society
  • Enables society to have democratic characteristics
  • There are free and fair elections, which are democratic
  • It is those who are more informed who make the decisions.


  • Can result in an elitist and unrepresentative system (e.g. Commons: 35% privately educated, 22% grammar schools, 1/3 Oxbridge, 142 women, 8 Muslims)
  • Great deal of power in the hands of a few- are only accountable every few years and inbetween may do as they please- Lord Halisham's "elective dictatorship"
  • The wants of the electorate may not always be put first.

Also, I was told the party system is usually a result of the electoral system. I guess the inequalities of FPTP (Single Member Plurality System, SMPS), such as winner's bonus, safe seats etc would be why, combined with perhaps the distinct adversarial politics of the 1980's, which left a gap for centrist politics, which resulted in the Gang of 4 split. Hope this all helps.

Answered Sun 22nd May, 2011 @ 20:14 by Eleanor
  • 4 votes

Advantages -

1. People cannot be expected to have the time or interest to make regular and important decisions - rep. democ. allows for reps with time and expertise to do so.

2. Reps. have a role in educating the public on political issues.

3. Reps ensure the interests of different sections of society are taken into account during political decisions.

4. Reps can be held accountable for their decisions to ensure democracy.

5. Reps can 'aggregate' demands of people, make them more coherent and develop politically logical programmes.

Disadvantages -

1. Reps and parties may disort the demands of the people to suit their political preference.

2. If the people fail to respect the decisions made by their representative they cannot be removed from office until next election.

3. Electoral mandate is flawed - voters only presented manifesto which they must WHOLEY reject or accept, they can't express prefence within manifestoes.

4. Reps do not make themselves accountable enough between elections.

5. There is more information in this day and age for the people to make educated decisions.

6. Reps may make decisions purely for electoral advantage.

Answered Tue 8th May, 2012 @ 04:52 by milly
  • 3 votes

One advantage is that the representatives are politically educated and aware of the issues that come up in the day to day running of the country. If we had a direct democracy, due to a lack of political awareness and seeing how fickle public opinion is, we would never get anything done. 

Secondly, if we did have a direct democracy then everyone would be politicians, no doctors no builders nada. So by having a representative democracy we can have people who want to be politicians and then we can have a wide variety of people in different professions. 

A disadvanatge is that public opinion is fickle, for example now most of the country hates Cameron and Clegg and wishes that they weren't in power. 

Another would be that due to many people being apathetic and ignorant about political topics, they don't tend to get involved and it's not really a democracy if the people don't "rule". 

Hope this helps! 

Btw don't suppose you could help me with my question on the party system could you? I can't think of any reasons why the UK has a 2 1/2 party system... :S

Answered Sun 22nd May, 2011 @ 19:18 by Tanya
  • 0 votes
Answered Tue 2nd October, 2012 @ 20:03 by ax5za
  • -2 votes


Answered Tue 27th September, 2016 @ 15:12 by 16deerlouis