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Yes to democratic deficit

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Pressure group. “Shared aims” are not necessarily narrowly political, for instance The Ramblers’ Association may only want more footpaths.

Pressure group

“Policy” could refer to the options chosen by any branch of government (Executive, Legislative or Judicial) or any level of government(UK, National, Local or European), or indeed other organisations, such as companies. In fact, pressure groups are increasingly targeting image-conscious companies directly. This is because governments themselves may be frightened of driving away international investment if they introduce laws which irritate multinational corporations. “Political means” usually means lobbying (trying to persuade Ministers, MPs, European Commissioners etc, either through direct contact or through paid intermediaries). It also means petitioning, commissioning reports, taking cases to court, organising boycotts and demonstrations. Other means are more controversial. “Itself” means that the pressure group won’t put up candidates for election.

Voter dealignment, disillusion and the implications for the May 2015 election. In this post, Pete Dorey discusses historical trends in voter turnout and ‘top two’ party voting in UK elections.

Voter dealignment, disillusion and the implications for the May 2015 election

Despite common concerns about falling turnout levels, he argues that thanks to the fact that the election looks close, 2015 will probably see an increase in the number of voters turning out. The Labour and Conservative share of the vote, however, is likely to continue its gradual decline. General election results 2015: First past the post explained. Problems with First Past The Post. I’m really not fond of the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system, used in many elections around the world.

Problems with First Past The Post

I’ve just found an excellent video which details the severe flaws of this broken system. The video explains it far better than I can, but to summarise its points: It nearly always results in minority rule. Elections very rarely result in majorities. Usually opinion will be divided between a number of candidates and parties, meaning that the winner will nearly always have less than 50% of the vote. Any one of these reasons alone is enough to make FPTP a terrible system, but together it is shocking that we still use it. Women in parliament: Britain has ‘real problem’ with lack of female MPs as re... With the role of women in British politics again coming under the spotlight this week, MPs and former ministers have warned that there is a “real problem” with the issue of gender in Westminster.

Women in parliament: Britain has ‘real problem’ with lack of female MPs as re...

David Cameron is expected to reveal a major Cabinet reshuffle tomorrow with younger women promoted to senior roles in place of aging men, but Labour says it is an effort that comes so late as to seem like a “last-minute worry about votes”. Today has also seen the publication of a report from the a committee of women in Parliament, which recommends a system of penalties and functions be put in place to stop MPs acting like “gangs and bullies”. Speaking to Sky’s Murnaghan programme on Sunday, the former culture minister Mariah Miller said she wouldn’t rule out all-women shortlists if the Conservative Party particularly continued to not recruit enough women.

“There is a real problem there,” she said. Parliament failing to represent UK's ethnic diversity. The three main political parties in the House of Commons are falling woefully short of reflecting the racial mix of their constituents, new research has found.

Parliament failing to represent UK's ethnic diversity

Nearly a fifth of constituents of all Labour MPs are black or minority ethnic (BME), but the parliamentary party is 93.8% white, according to the data. The Liberal Democrats do not have a single BME MP and yet 11.4% of those who live in Lib Dem seats are from ethnic minorities. The Conservatives have a five percentage point gap between the diversity of their parliamentary party – where 3.6% of MPs are BME – and the constituents they represent.

Next year's general election is likely to show a slight improvement in representation, but no significant progress, according to the research. Of the nine selections conducted in Conservative seats where an MP has retired, only two BME candidates had been selected. The findings come amid a growing debate among politicians over how to ensure that parliament reflects the general population. Apathetic and disaffected: the generation who may never vote. "Never voted," says Michael Owen with a shrug.

Apathetic and disaffected: the generation who may never vote

"My dad was on one side, my mum on the other, so I'm split. " The multimillionaire former England footballer is standing yards from the prime minister on a mission to promote sport overseas, but he happily admits he has not troubled a ballot box in three elections. Like Russell Brand, who is furious with politicians, and Simon Cowell, who can't be bothered, Owen is one of the never-voters who are particularly worrying experts. Once, the theory was that people would drift towards the polls when they grew up and became mature, tax-paying citizens. Election 2015: Who are the non-voters?

In the 2010 general election, 35% of registered voters did not cast a ballot.

Election 2015: Who are the non-voters?

Who are the "unheard third" who did not vote - and what could their role be in the coming election? In central Manchester, there are few clues that the election is just days away. Flags pledging allegiance to either Manchester City or Manchester United football teams hang in people's windows. Posters pledging a political allegiance are harder to spot.