DEMOCRACY is a word that has been thrown around a lot in recent years.

Brexit supporters claim the Government has not listened to the will of the people, while those who want a second referendum say it would be undemocratic not to.

It’s easy to get caught up in passionate debate when the heart of our democracy is apparently at stake, but are we really getting too carried away?

In some ways, we are not. Literally speaking, referendums are the most democratic way of running a country and making big decisions.

Instead of our elected MPs making decisions for us, potentially not listening to the will of their constituents, it is the people themselves who make the decisions in referendums.

But who decides what the people get to vote on? Our MPs, that is who.

This is why so many voters are averse to a second referendum. Like it or not, the 2016 vote was a simple choice: leave or remain.

Yes, none of us knew what leave meant, and many people had different ideas about how leaving the EU would turn out, but it was a clear-cut decision to make.

This is why there is such a fierce debate on what the choices in a potential second referendum will be. Some want it to be between remain and no deal, while others want a vote between remaining or leaving with a newly negotiated deal.

But who will decide what gets on the ballot paper? Again, it is our MPs. So even if we do have a second referendum, who is to say the choices on there are the choices the people want?

Looking at public votes in this way, referendums can sometimes be less democratic than the alternative of a vote in Parliament.

At least with the indicative votes in Parliament, MPs had a choice between many different options on how we go forward with Brexit.

But with a referendum we’re stuck with just two, potentially neither of which have the support of the majority of voters.

Do not get me wrong: referendums in principle are a great example of direct democracy and have worked well in many countries in the past.

But we can do better. The limits of our political system should not be voter choosing from two options, but proposing which options we vote on too.

In high-stakes situations like these, why not call a citizens’ assembly? Pick 500 or so people of diverse backgrounds from around the UK and let them debate on big issues like this.

We trust juries to deliver justice in the courts, so why do we not give them the same powers in politics too?

But let us not get bogged down with Brexit. I hate talking about it as much as you hate reading about it.

It is interesting to compare our supposedly world-leading democracy with the EU’s.

Looking at it in simple terms, our system is much better.

While our Government comprises mostly elected MPs, the EU’s leading body, the European Commission is chosen by the elected European Parliament.

Our system is seemingly more direct.

But the voting system in European elections is much more fair than ours. Since its constituencies have more than one MEP representing them, the results correspond better to the number of votes each party gets.

In UK elections, where one MP is elected per constituency, a party could finish second in 100 areas and still get no MPs.

Small parties like the Greens and Ukip are affected worst by this because voters flock to either the Conservatives or Labour as the “least-worst” option if they know their favourite party cannot win in their area.

But in the EU system, parties finishing in second, third, and so on still get seats, meaning the result is more reflective of what voters feel as they can vote for who truly represents their views.

It would be well worth considering a change of voting system here, especially with our entrenched two-party system.

Just take a look at America, where the choices for president are so narrow because the Democratic and Republican parties are so similar. We do not want that.

There is also the matter of the House of Lords, that bloated, unelected body that most of our laws must be approved by.

The fact it exists in 2019 is pretty astonishing.

Until it is fully elected or abolished altogether, we cannot really make a claim to being a democracy when Lords chosen by the Prime Minister get to make sweeping changes to bills MPs propose.

That does not sound fair to me.

With all this dramatic talk of democracy, it makes a lot more sense to look inward and take a hammer to our own system.