The Two Party System

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Government and Politics What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two-party system in the UK? The two- party system is not a new practice in British politics.

Britain has been living under a two party system since the mid-seventeenth Century. However, this system is still a foundation of most ideas of British politics. Other than America, Britain is one of the only major countries that have a two party system.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this system? Is Britain afraid to change its system? If this system has been around for so long, it is because it has many advantages.

First of all, the system advantages big parties with more seats. When a party wins an election, whether he has won by a majority or not, he gets a majority of seats.

For example, when Labour won in 1997, they got 60% of the seats, although they had not won the election by a majority.

This advantages the party because more seats mean more power and they can then impose their ideas on other parties and always be sure to pass legislation.

This leads to our second advantage; a stronger executive. With this majority of seats, the party can, as we said before, pass on their laws easily, but also resist ministers. This advantages the voter as he is sure that the party he voted for will be "making the law".

For example, if Mr. Smith voted for Labour in the 1997 elections, then he is obviously in favour of their ideas and laws. So, when they make new decisions when they are in power, Mr. Smith is likely to be in favour of them, and so has a better chance of having the legislation passed. The voter is therefore privileged.

Another advantage is that...