Don’t give up on Parliamentary democracy, says Hansard Society

From: Hansard Society
Published: Thu Mar 24 2005

The authors of Neglecting Democracy, Declan McHugh and Philip Parvin examine the social, economic and cultural changes which have left increasing numbers of people feeling estranged from the political process. The link between the public and its political institutions is stretched to breaking point: MPs are seen as distant and uncaring while Parliament is perceived to be antiquated, remote, and increasingly powerless.

This has led some to argue that the present system should be replaced with a more direct form of democracy in order to give the electorate an immediate input into political decision making. These direct democrats believe that the use of new technologies like email and the internet can bring marginalised and excluded groups into the democratic process. Neglecting Democracy argues that direct democracy would not strengthen democracy or welcome new and excluded voices into democratic debates; rather it would drown out minority voices and place overwhelming power in the hands of the majority and those with the money and power to influence them.

Neglecting Democracy shows that the future of democracy lies not in the replacement of the representative system, but in its rejuvenation through the rebuilding of links between the people and their elected representatives. It suggests ways in which the current system might be reformed in order to re-establish the crucial link between the people, their political institutions, and the decisions made in their name.

Neglecting Democracy costs £5 (p&p inc) and is available from the Hansard Society, LSE, 9 Kingsway, London WC2B 6XF. A PDF version can be downloaded from our website (

For further information, contact Clare Ettinghausen on 020 7395 4001 or 07940 583 803

Editors’ Notes
• The Hansard Society is an independent educational charity which has 60 years’ experience promoting effective parliamentary democracy and strengthening the links between parliament and citizens.
Company: Hansard Society
Contact Name: Virginia Gibbons
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Contact Phone: 020 7395 4010