Welcome back, MPs! It’s time to talk about the state of democracy
Author: Zoe Stavri
Published on Sep 03, 2012
After their summer holiday, the MPs are back in parliament with freshly-sharpened pencils, smart new shoes and a jumper that’s too big now - but they’ll grow into it. Hopefully, during the break they have been doing some reading.
In July earlier this year, the latest Democratic Audit of the UK was published, examining the state of UK democracy and changes in the last decade. Using a variety of measures including public surveys and official database statistics, the audit is vital reading for any MP - as it is for anyone with any stake in the state of democracy, which should be everyone.
The report found both good and bad news. On 74 indicators, an improvement was measured. Meanwhile, 62 emerged as new concerns, while 92 remained continuing concerns. While democracy has been steadily improving across areas such as devolution, stronger select committees and increased transparency, the report describes the decline in indicators of representative democracy as “terminal”. Political engagement is declining, the constitutional model is unstable, public faith in democracy is falling and political inequality is increasing.
At present, the report argues there is “no viable alternative model” for the UK that has been successful, and the gains that have been made are not enough. These issues urgently require addressing. Instead of discussing what they did on their holidays, it’s time for MPs to talk about the state of democracy--and what they can do to improve it.