Monday, 6 June 2011

Authoritarian politicians

Denis MacShane has an article on ePolitix in which he suggests that it is time the holding of referendums be banned.

Just what planet is this man on? Writing that "we don't 'do' dictators", just what does MacShane consider the system of democratised dictatorship that we have had for the last few decades has been? Citing the 1975 referendum on EU membership, MacShane obviously believes that once a decision is taken, it is then 'cast in stone' never to be changed.  He also shows a lack of knowledge when writing that "Like the United States, Anglosphere democracy has always been wary of populist referendums to settle decisions that affect every citizen, which should be decided by Congress or the Commons." - just what the hell are citizens initiatives held in the United States if they are not referenda? In also writing that "a law banning plebiscites might seem antidemocratic, but would be the first step to making the Commons the place where the nation’s decisions are debated and decided." it might just be possible to acknowledge such a step as reasonable if the occupants of the Commons actually listened to the people. Even if they did, there would still be a place for referenda. In this context Denis Macshane is one politician who would do well to remind himself of the 7 principles of public office!

As we are discussing authoritarian politicians, this latest statement from the European Commission is a classic example of 'Orwellian Politic Speak'. How on earth can the EU Commission state they are proposing "a set of measures to address more vigorously the serious harm corruption causes to European societies – economically, socially and politically." when the entire existence of the European Union is built on the corruption of the abrogation of hundreds of years of democracy, where the United Kingdom is concerned, in all three areas they mention.

It is no wonder that MacShane is such an advocate for EU membership!

7 comments:

PeterCharles said...

Nearly all politicians are authoritarian at heart and those few who aren't are authoritarian in nature.

However, when Denis MacShane says things like ".... Anglosphere democracy has always been wary of populist referendums ...." he is not referring to the electorate or the common citizen, he is referring to the political class, those including himself who take the reins of government by right of who they are.

Similarly when he says "a law banning plebiscites might seem antidemocratic, but would be the first step to making the Commons the place where the nation’s decisions are debated and decided." he means democratic legitimacy can only apply to the Commons, anything outside of there cannot, in his view, be democratic.

In a sense he has a point, or he would have if the Commons actually did debate and decide as individuals representing the views and concerns of their constituency. But it would still be democratised dictatorship as you describe it or elective oligarchy as I prefer to call it, but to him and his ilk that is democracy.

As to the EU, well it was never intended to be democratic. Born out of the failure of the nation state and democracy to maintain peace the founding fathers saw the best alternative for governance as a Commission composed of an apolitical, self-appointing elite (seeing in that themselves, of course) dedicated to governing in the best interests of all, free from political ideology and beholden to no one. It was all right to allow a democratic voice to advise and raise concerns, but not to exercise control. That is still the intention.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: Once again you make good points!

Sean O'Hare said...

I tried to comment on MacShane's article on epolitix and in crashed. Very clever bit of software if it can detect an adversarial comment in that way. I'm impressed!

Stuart said...

I am a firm believer that the people are sovereign and ultimate governors of all nations. Never since James 2nd have we had such constitutional treachery as the handing of powers to an unelected bunch of foreignors. In my opinion, we are fully justified to wipe our current political structure off the map and start again. Mr MacShane or whatever his real name is would not like that one bit. He is very much a candidate for the lamp posts.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

SO'H: Heh, just shows the lengths to which they will go to avoid criticism?

S: Yup, agree, lamp post it is - after he has served his forthcoming (I hope) prison sentence!

DP111 said...

Quote: Denis MacShane has an article on ePolitix in which he suggests that it is time the holding of referendums be banned.

He has a point. As it is a point of great importance, let the people decide.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

DP111: Good point - I shud have included that in my post :(