Saturday, 18 June 2011

Our problematic democracy - in a nutshell!

A number of bloggers have posted on the deficits encapsulated within the present system of democracy practised in this country and a comment on this post, which I paraphrase, encapsulates that deficit.
"policies the public want contrast against policies the politicians will allow"
That just confirms change is required to our corrupt, unbalanced and undemocratic system. Any system in which the employed can dictate to the employer what they can and can't have; and which has been allowed to continue for so long, beggars belief.

Just a thought.....................


subrosa said...

A very sensible thought.

A K Haart said...

It's the party system. Anyone who joins or supports a political party undermines our democracy.

Anonymous said...

The best party is but a kind of conspiracy against the rest of the nation - Lord Halifax

But we can not ban free association of people -therefore a party. In a direct democracy, the party has virtually no power. It may be popular and get MPs in parliament, but the power to tax, initiate and carry out policies, and the budget, is in the hands of the people.

"Direct Democracy" Swiss style with modification for our circumstance, is really the way forward.

PS: And no trial period with a half-and-half mix.

PeterCharles said...

While I agree the quote has a certain reasonableness about it, I think it is wrong.

I see do not see it as policies the public wants pitted against policies the politicians will allow, that suggests politicians are awake to public desires but constrained by their prejudices in deciding whether or not to grant them. While this is, as I say, a reasonable take given the evidence I think it is wrong.

I see it more that politicians have set plans or intentions that they wish to implement. If these can be spun to appear as a response to, or resonate with, public concerns then they will do so. If those intentions do not resonate with, or clash with, public concerns they forge ahead regardless.

You see the difference? Politicians do not respond to what the public wants, they do what they want to do. As much as they can they will play it as being led by what the public wants and sometimes their intentions will be compatible with what the public wants, but that is coincidence, not something done in response. This explains the evidence much better than the quote and shows why the things they do that are compatible with public desires are rarely done in a way that the public approves of.

A K Haart hits closer to home in his comment that it is the party system which lies at the heart of this.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

SR: Thank you - I thought so too!

AKH: True, very true - see next response.

DP: Agree with you, we need to do a Swiss - and as you say no trial periods!


Politicians are not awake to the public desires, they have no intention of acknowledging such desires which is why they continue to do as they wish and why they employ 'spin'.

We all interpret what we read and mine of that phrase is akin to yours - I just didn't use so many words (joke!)

I agree with you that AKH hits the nail on the head and with open primaries we would,in effect, be killing them off?

DerekP said...

Your reasoning would suggest that only arguments/'facts' supporting their desired outcome matter to politicians.

This would explain the large sums government fund to so-called charities which influence public opinion, and which lobby for policies politicians or idealogues already want to implement.

It would explain, say, the distorted 'debate' over smoking, and the no-units-of-alcohol-healthy extremism that appears to go unquestioned by our life-is-one-big-Party MPs.

'The science is settled' as they misleadingly like to say.

Anonymous said...

It is assumed, by most people of the Canadian persuasion, that the new Harper government, like the old, wants to cut taxes. Indeed, a lot of us voted for it with that loose idea in the backs of our minds. Such ideas never survive contact with the light. No government wants to reduce taxes; that would only reduce their power. Governments only reduce taxes under serious compulsion, and then, from their bankers, not from any coalition of voters.

Read on

The site itself is a good read.

Anthony Harrison said...

Well, yes, but I want to be dictated to by the genuine opinions (insofar as these can be ascertained) of my fellow citizens as little as by the compulsions (neatly described by CP) of the political class. We already have a "democracy" corrupted by a tyranny of the majority, to a large extent: politicians certainly care most about their own agendas, but they also tend to buy off the potentially rowdy & disruptive, and buy votes from client groups such as immigrants and those on benefit.
Any form of "direct democracy" (and I agree the Swiss model has much to commend it) must be constrained by a constitution demarcating rigidly the ability of government to constrain individual freedom, personal liberty.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

DP: Exactly! Which is why the sooner we get all 'national/internal' matters in the hands of local people the better!

DP111: That is very true. Tax levels should be in the hands of the people. For example, as remarked elsewhere, the Swiss recently decided to hike fuel duty to fund a shortfall in their health system and agreed to the purchase of some more fighter jets. Why not ask the people - it is after all their money........

AH: Ah, localism again.........

Edward Spalton said...

I have been thinking about this for ages and come to no magic, happy conclusion.

I think it is likely that there is no new system which can ever be any better than the quality of the men and women who lead it.Our present system however is purpose-built to attract conformists, careerists and moral nonentities.

The main political parties have ceased to be representative of genuine interests - such as labourers, business, the landed gentry or whatever. Their memberships are in steep decline and they have become marketing brands, essentially selling the same product - principally their own entitlement to office, along with slavish subjection to the EU and other supranational projects which provide vastly increased career prospects for the compliant - but concealed behind vacuous marketing slogans -"Things can only get better" , "A future fair for all", "In Europe but not run by Europe", "The Big Society" etc.

Transnational corporate ownership has mostly destroyed that class of businessman who owned and ran his own show. His descendants are still wealthy but their interests are more corporate, diffuse and disconnected from the lives of their workpeople and customers. The Tory MP with a substantial, locally owned business is now a rarity.

The workpeople know that the new owners, Amalgamated Conflobulated Holdings, have no loyalty to their community and can transfer their jobs to Ulan Bator if that makes a widget a penny cheaper - so their bargaining power is gone.

The solidarity of the working population is weakened and uncertain, undermined by low-paid immigrant labour and its leaders afraid to defend "British jobs for British workers" for fear of accusations of racism, added to the knowledge of how easily jobs can be exported.

The political class, steeped in PC Frankfurt Marxism so deeply at university that even the Conservative party is a willing dupe for many of its doctrines , picks "team players" as candidates for its largely indistinguishable party platforms.

In 1971 the small beginnings of the present system of parliamentary perks, expenses, pensions etc was created. One MP saw that the more parliament came to be seen a a salaried, professional career, the greater would be the power of the gatekeepers - the party selectors. This would change the relationship between an MP and his party and of Parliament to the government to the advantage of party and government. He said that the reason for paying MPs was only to ensure that men of ability but no money could serve their country in Parliament - no more than that.

We are living with the consequences of the change from that idea to the careerist model to this day. The prescient MP was Enoch Powell.
The change took place just around the time Britain joined the "Common Market".

WitteringsfromWitney said...

ES: A truly brilliant comment and from which I have quoted (with ack)in my latest offering. Thank you!