In modern day society it is almost unanimously believed that democracy is the best way to govern a country. Democracy seems to be synonymous with fairness, creating a government which represents its country. While I agree it’s superior to many alternatives, I don’t believe our current ‘democracy’ is as fair or representative as it could be.
There are many reasons why democracies aren’t fair. In many countries, election campaigns have become a form of popularity test, with candidates spending more time digging up dirt on their opponents than educating voters, and strategy presides over genuine politics. More articles are written about gossip, personal lives and fashion choices rather than policies. The vast majority of information that is fed to the public is either a rumour or irrelevant, and in some cases simply false or manipulative, for example the £350 million NHS ‘lie’ during Brexit.
In an ideal world, voters would be well informed, have a diverse group to choose from and vote for what best represents their opinions. Candidates should be of different ages, genders, ethnicities and education creating a diverse political pool.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
In the UK, the discussion has become largely between Conservative and Labour, with a few smaller parties achieving some support. Many voters believe a vote for a smaller party is wasted, as them winning power is unlikely. While the emergence of some diversity is commendable, the choice has historically been between two older, white, privately educated men. Furthermore, many voters have become stuck in a tradition of voting for a party instead of voting fluidly as policies change.
I believe the problem here is education. In the U.K, the chances of young voters being politically learned are slim, as it is not ubiquitously taught at school. Teenagers have been shown to mimic the views of their parents. However, those with parents who enforce their views, and therefore discuss politics, are more likely to differ in opinion as they are better informed. This begs the question; would more young people vote differently if they were more educated?
I use the term ‘educated’ with caution when I say a fairer voting system would be one with only educated voters. The caution comes from the association of ‘better’ education and private schooling. Not only would that mean the majority of voters are wealthy, but private education in my opinion does not lead to more politically learned students, as they are more likely to be less effected by politics and therefore ignorant.
I believe only those who have an understanding of what policies each party proposes and what they stand for should be allowed to vote. This would also require a high standard of transparency from politicians, and easily obtainable information for voters. For example, a short questionnaire could be used to determine voter eligibility. This would rule out people voting due to familial tradition, misinformation and in some cases intuition. Politics classes as compulsory parts of national curriculum could also aid this.
The message is simple; the key to a fair government is education. With technology now allowing information to be so widely available, I think our systems are outdated and in need of an upgrade. Until we can be sure each voters knows exactly what they are voting for, our government will never fully represent each and every one of us.