Is our democracy failing or has it failed already?

By Chloë Cochran – BA Global Popular Music

Current discussions on politics and the political climate in the UK and around the world leaves us with a tangible sense of dissatisfaction and frustration. This is fueling an atmosphere of apathy.  Examining the political state we are living in can be depressing, exhausting, and disheartening. Democracy is failing to represent people’s best interest and is teetering on the edge, at great risk of falling into the abyss. 

Since 2015 the UK has had three elections (if you count the upcoming election), the resignation of two prime ministers, two referendums (Scottish independence, and Brexit), and two unelected prime ministers. This doesn’t seem stable and in fact, suggests a failure of due process. Polarisation within the polity and wider society has augmented the proliferation of extreme political groups.  Across the channel, The Forum Voor Democratie (FvD) in the Netherlands is a far-right party with very extreme views on immigration. The Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) in Germany uses neo-nazi language and sees Islam as an ‘alien to German society’ according to The BBC. Here in the UK, our Prime Minister has on the record referred to black people as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’ (QuartzAfrica) and made some frankly unprintable statements about Muslims. A person holding the highest position of power, representing millions of individuals of all backgrounds, should not be making these kinds of remarks. It fosters an environment which is susceptible to hate speech. The question is why are these extreme views increasing in popularity? and why are the individuals associated with them finding themselves in positions of power? 


Our politicians must be held accountable, we should vote for someone who understands our needs. Talking to people who used to be passionate about politics, ethics, and our democracy, one feels as if our democracy is crumbling around us.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking is the rise of political nihilism and a lack of desire among people to engage. The election of the 12th will be an exercise in which we are forced to choose between either voting solely to dethrone the tories or to vote for parties that don’t fully represent us. When considering who to vote for, we should be able to choose representatives who best represent our needs and desires, but with the state of politics today, issues like Brexit are overshadowing critical questions over the NHS, Social welfare, and the nationalisation of the railway. 

Our politicians must be held accountable, we should vote for someone who understands our needs. Talking to people who used to be passionate about politics, ethics, and our democracy, one feels as if our democracy is crumbling around us. Mr Facebook flat out refuses to fact check political advertising and posts, further fueling the ‘fake news’ phenomenon. Media bias is rampant and people are increasingly suspicious of mainstream outlets for this reason.  The status of democracy in the United Kingdom, and globally, is open to personal interpretation. However, when a government fails to represent the people, it encourages the growth of extremism and nihilism among their populous. 

Heartbreaking is the apathy this environment is fostering, the masses are simply tired of being disappointed and tired of a system that doesn’t represent them. The system is failing us in its dysfunctionality and betraying us as we, one by one, become more apathetic due to simple exhaustion and frustration.

Post Author: SOAS Spirit

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