Politics Unboringed – How does British democracy work?

Politics Unboringed – How does British democracy work?


Who’s in charge of Britain? Well, it’s the Prime Minister, isn’t it? The one we voted for? Actually, no he isn’t. Not only is the Prime Minister not in charge of Britain, but we didn’t even vote for him. The Prime Minister is officially just an adviser to the real head honcho QUEEN: Me!
JAY: Yes, an old lady lucky enough to be descended from a family with the most violent army is our Head of State. It’s officially her country and her laws. Except, you know that’s not really how it works. Our parliament is a baffling thousands of years old institution that’s been around for hundreds of years. And it’s changed so much that the word “officially” means diddly-squat. So, how is the country actually run? What does the Prime Minister do? Who does the government? Why am the there backbenchers? Government how Home Secretary the is? Parliamentary where cabinet reshuffle opposition right honourable what? (♪♪♪) Britain is a democracy, which means we the people decide how the country is run. But instead of squeezing 64 million people into the house of commons, We have 650 people representing all of us. How are they choosed? The country has been carefully divi-eugh.. *click* Aahh, has been carefully divided into 650 constituencies Each one containing roughly 70,000 voters. Every 5 years there’s a general election. We put an ‘X’ next to the person we like best, then the person with the most votes becomes our constituency’s Member of Parliament Or ‘MP’. Now, even though technically anyone can put themselves up for election – and they often do – They’re almost always a member of a political party. But, what is a political party? Broadly speaking, it’s a group of people that all feel the same way about how the country should be run. They have a party headquarters and a logo and a favourite colour. If you’re a member of one of these parties, you’re much more likely to get voted for, because people know what you stand for. And, political parties have got money to help with posters and leaflets and things. There’s nothing in the rule book that says there needs to be such thing as political parties. They’ve just naturally come about. In theory, you could have a parliament made up entirely of independent party-less MPs, It’s just never happened, and they probably wouldn’t agree on anything. So that’s how the House of Commons gets its 650 MPs. And now this is where She comes in. QUEEN: Rehh! JAY: The Queen politely asks one of the MPs to be her Prime Minister. This is a tradition that dates back to the years of King George I who needed an advisor to help run the country because he only spoke German. Officially, the Queen can pick whomever she likes, but so far she’s always gone for the leader of the party with the most MPs. The Prime Minister then chooses a crack team of his best friends to form the Government. A small group of people who do the actual day-to-day running of Britain. As in coming up with new laws, deciding where to spend our money, deciding how to get our money etc, etc. The Prime Minister’s job is to decide who does what, swap them around every-so-often, and give them a massive b******ing if they f**k up. But the Government can’t do whatever it likes. It needs to be kept in check and challenged on every decision it makes. That’s mainly the job of the party that came second in the General Election. They’re called the ‘opposition’. They pretend they’ve got Government jobs and show you what they would have done if they’d won instead. Again, there’s nothing in the rule book about any “opposition”. In fact, the opposition wasn’t mentioned in law at all until 1937 when they had to agree how much the leader of the opposition should be paid. So what about the rest of the MPs who don’t get a job either in the Government or the Shadow Cabinet? They’ve still got a very important job to do. They’re called backbenchers, because they sit on the back benches, which are at the back, and are benches. It’s their job to represent us, the ordinary folk, in Parliament. And they do this by voting on things. Every time someone comes up with a potential new law, known as a bill, our MPs argue about it for ages and ages and then decide “aye” or “no” in a vote. “The ‘ayes’ to the right: 400”.
They use the word ‘aye’ instead of ‘yes’ because they’re pillocks. In theory, the MPs decide for themselves how to vote, but the slightly depressing news is, they’re normally told how to vote by the leader of their party. Party leaders employ people literally called ‘Whips’ whose job it is to go around making threats and promises so that MPs vote as they’re told. It’s the only way you can get more than half of the room to vote the same way. It may seem like an insult to democracy, but the… (trails off)…. actually that’s pretty hard to justify. Once a bill gets liked by the House of Commons, it gets sent on a piece of paper to the room next door: The House of Lords. But they’re really weird and complicated and I can’t be bothered to talk about them right now. So they’re a story for another time. Bills get sent back and forth like an onion between the two houses until ultimately, one person gets the final say on what becomes a law. QUEEN: Oh, go on then! Isn’t that insane that we actually live in a monarchy? It’s 2000 and something, not 13-something! Gradually over time, the Queen’s role has become more and more ceremonial, and she does more and more nothing. Her powers still exist, and in theory the Queen could veto any law she doesn’t like. But she knows full well that if she tries to exercise any of her theoretical power, and defy the MPs that we the people voted for, …there’ll be an instant revolution and we’ll set her palace on fire. It’s easy to forget all of this. When there’s an election on, the media make it feel like you’re choosing a Prime Minister. But you’re not. And you’re not choosing a party either. You’re choosing a person, your local MP who just happens to be a member of a party, who just happens to have a party leader. So who’s in charge of Britain? In an official sense, her. In a technical sense, him. In a practical sense, them. In an idealistic sense, us. But the real answer? Pfft, dunno.

100 Comments on "Politics Unboringed – How does British democracy work?"


  1. It is important that parliamentarians vote along the party political lines for which they have been elected. Politicians represent their voters, rather than themselves.

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  2. A politician is something that used to be human, they change into neanderthal types who have everything paid for by taxpayers. They lie, cheat and can't answer a question properly.
    What do you call 100 politicians at the bottom of the ocean? An excellent start.

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  3. So if the queen makes the final decision and she wants to comply with the voters will, doesn't that mean that she could just ask the people directly and decide accordingly? With direct elections on certain topics I mean (like the swiss do), not by knocking at everyones door for tea & chit-chat of course.
    Doing so, she could use her power to veto more often without the risk of a peoples revolt. Grumpy parliamentarians could become a threat though.
    But if it would be so easy, why doesn't she do it already? Maybe there's more for her to consider – something that wasn't mentioned here.

    Greatings from Germany!

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  4. Hey cutie, do a video to free Tommy Robinson. This was interesting but Do some good.

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  5. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned multi party democratic representation. Uk has had a 2 party representation which the plebiscite can choose from for over 500 years. Oliver Cromwell exposed 300 years ago the inefficiency and corruption of that erstwhile democratic system. The erstwhile royalists and the government are now replaced by Tory and Labour…plus a number of other pretendents. And here the problems arise.Our form of government is just not suitable for an increasing multi-party representation with Libs…Greens…Ukip…..etc etc.demanding a real representation in day to day government. This is because our attempts at coalition governments are just inadequate.

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  6. If you think it makes no sense, wait until you learn how it works in Canada. (spoilers: exactly the same)

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  7. It surprises me that he prefers the geographic map, seeing as non-tories usually don't like it because it makes it look like tories have way more seats than they do

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  8. I like the references to Bill Murray and to the original "House of Cards". Jay appreciates class.

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  9. Still not as confusing as the Swedish government, which claims to be a clears throat “Parliamentary Representative Democratic Constitutional Monarchy”. Why not throw Socialism into the- oh wait…

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  10. At the moment, in 2019, the UK is very undemocratic, our last two Prime Ministers were NOT voted in by the people, we are very lucky that our government is very liberal and freedom-loving, but if we don't demand a full democracy this could all change in an instant, the UK is not a democracy, it's more like a government controlled state with semi-democratic characteristics, and this isn't okay.

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  11. our parliament is a "thousand" year old institution that has been around for "hundreds" of years, techinically true, but i chuckled

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  12. It doesn’t…..a vote was taken to leave the Europen Union, the scumbag traitors in parliament have ignored it and want to impose their wishes on us. Democracy is dying in the UK

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  13. Democracy? Britain? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahah

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  14. British democracy recognizes that you need a system to defend important in life and keep it out of the hands of barbarians! Few examples:
    1. Opera
    2. Radio 3
    3. The Law
    4. Countrisde
    5. Universities (both of them)

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  15. Because the ordinary people can't meet and vet the candidates, the political parties are supposed to filter out the idiots so that they can't have any influence. Any political party that allows a moron to be at its head should by wiped of the face of the earth. Having said this – we probably require two new parties

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  16. Firstly, democracy and British are an oxy (oxford?) Moron. There have only been tiny warped snippets of democracy in the entire hysterectomy of the UK! First, as noted, ex-German queen and whatnot owns over 40% of Britain. Hence, thinly disguised despoticism. Parliament are the clown show of the queens guardians – otherwise known as the military industrial complex. And so on. It's a non-starter m8.

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  17. Here's how are democracy works: hey! You voted for this? Eyy is just a prank bro cameras over there!

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  18. Hereditary Head of State: appointed second chamber: ludicrously unrepresentative electoral system for first chamber: powerless local government. What democracy are you talking about?!?

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  19. I really hate when Europeans and Americans complain about their leaders. It's us who suffer from this sh*t the most

    Cough
    Indians

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  20. Can we have a new politics unboringed about lobbying in parliament and committee hearings and why deep down we don't really live in a democracy but a kind of nasty, corrupt corpocracy where multinational companies dictate what policies the parties pick up to present to parliament due to them putting pounds in the party's pockets? Please?

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  21. I mean, the whips tell the backbenchers how to vote, but once the backbenchers start to don't give a shit, well…

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  22. 4:44 JF says if the Queen defies the MPs, ppl will set her palace on fire. What if BoJo defies MPs and prorouges the parliment ? What will then happen?

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  23. British democracy works the same way any other democracy works; Out-of-touch overpaid plonkers cater to whoever has the deepest pockets over any actual constituents. No, I don't know a better option, don't ask.

    Reply

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