Two posts caught my eye today, one by John Redwood and the other by Autonomous Mind, that prompted the heading of this post. Unconsciously, both posts deal with an important matter, namely what is an ideal system of democracy and the inherent defects in our present system.
John Redwood discusses the various 'factions' within his party - and leaves the reader with the impression that the Conservative Party is deeply splintered. He writes that there are right-wing liberals; right-wing authoritarians; right-wing 'small state' Conservatives; right-wing 'better state' Conservatives; right-wing 'moral' Conservatives; new 'liberal' right-wing Conservatives; and new right 'neo-cons'. All things considered, it hardly presents the image of an 'united' party - but yet again I digress. Redwood also makes the point that many subjects cross the political divide and that it is all a lot more complex and fluid than a simple left-right analysis would suggest. Autonomous Mind posts on the fact that an Independent candidate appears to be the 'front-runner' in the race to become Irish President on the departure of Mary McAleese, albeit that the leading candidate would appear to have the backing of Fianna Fáil, the party to which he previously belonged. Hardly what one might therefore call an Independent and more what AM rightly terms an 'Indeplastic'.
Redwood's observations on the factions within his own party raise an interesting question, namely what is a political party, what is it's function and that of those that represent it. Bearing in mind Redwood's observations on his own party, it would seem that political parties have been formed as a means to enable people with disparate views, but who are also ambitious, cunning and unprincipled, to join together and thereby conspire in order that they may practise the art of dictatorship. Autonomous Mind is of the opinion that an increase in 'independent' candidates could hasten the demise of political parties - a belief that may well be true but one that then leaves a collection of 'independents' in that same position of being able to conspire in order to dictate the lives of those who have elected them.
In most western democracies governments are elected for a 'term', one comprising a number of years, in which they are then able to 'order' the lives of their peoples. Those governments are invariably founded on differing and opposing ideologies resulting in a situation whereby a country's future is first directed one way and then the other (when power changes hands) and which leaves the people powerless to halt any policy with which they may disagree within a 'term' of office. That countries do require 'representatives' to handle matters of national importance such as foreign affairs, defense etc cannot be denied, neither can it be denied that those 'representatives' should not be placed in a position of absolute power, something all governments practise, without the people having recourse to question and if necessary halt something with which the majority disagree.
Following the Liam Fox 'episode' there are now calls for the power of lobbyists to be curbed and changes made to party funding. Yet do we not have a chicken and egg situation here? Were politicians not placed in the situation of wielding unfettered decision making, would there be a need for lobbyists? Were political parties made solely dependent on membership fees for their income, would there no longer be a need for donations from unions and business because are not unions and businesses, in making those donations, practising the art of lobbyists?
In another post Autonomous Mind believes that it will only be when the people wake up and realise they are being manipulated by the Marxists and leftists (to which I would add all politicians) and demand action on their terms, only then does he believe we will get a representative democracy.Yet whilst our present democracy places unlimited power in a system of government whereby they can dictate to their hearts content, how can we have 'representative democracy'?
There are those who will maintain that political parties will always exist, whilst bemoaning that existence, yet the demise of political parties, or at least their influence, could well be hastened with a shift to a Swiss style of democracy encorporating a degree of what Richard North terms "Referism", a change which would provide a representative democracy as it would by nature provide a representative form of self-governance.
Just a few thoughts...........