Theory meets Practice

Having enjoyed a recent visit to Parliament some of the Year 8 Academic Scholars paused to ponder the nature of Democracy.

In a session led by our Head of Politics, Mrs Powis-Holt, and via some fast-paced and exciting exercises, the pupils visualised and debated the kind of systems they might use to run the ‘imaginary island’ they had found themselves marooned on. Tired of “being told what to do by their leader”, and frustrated that their opinions were being ignored, they argued for change. But to what? And how democratic were the options they were trying out?

Exploring ideas of direct democracy, representative democracy and proportional representation, it became very clear that the choice of a particular method does have a very significant effect on outcomes. For example in a first past the post system, in which three parties had the same overall number of votes across several constituencies, it was clear how the distribution of those votes was a key determinant in the amount of representation each party had.

This was an excellent opportunity to match the practical nature of the visit to Westminster with the theoretical issues behind a democratic system.