Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The dangers of 'representative' democracy

The Mail reports on a deal concocted by Blair, which had the backing of Peter Hain (then Europe Minister) in which co-sovereignty of Gibraltar would be 'granted' to the Spanish as part of 'manoeuvering' within the EU in order to nullify moves by Germany and France. Peter Hain also reveals that Blair - and he - were prepared to 'ride roughshod' over any objections. And Hain has the audacity to describe Blair's towards the attitude towards the Gibraltarians as 'contemptuous'? Blair may well deny he thought Gibraltar should be “run by Spain” and nor was he “contemptuous” of it - yet why should we believe the denials of someone belonging to a class of our society who have shown a preference for the arts of lying, venality, unprincipled and dishonourable behaviour?

The sad fact is that within our current system of democracy, had this plan 'gone through', what exactly could the Gibraltarians or the people of this country have done to block it? Bearing in mind this decision took place in 2002, just where in Labour's manifesto for the 2001 general election was this policy mentioned? This matter is a prime example of what I have termed 'democratised dictatorship' in that it shows that politicians will use people as pawns in their desire for self-aggrandisement.

As to whether Hain is correct in his recollection, or Blair is correct in his denial can best be summed up by two quotations - the first by Bertrand Russell and the second by Leo Tolstoy. Russell is reported to have said that a stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. Tolstoy reportedly said that in order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, and cruelty.

To repeat, this 'Gibraltar matter' demonstrates that for ages politicians have treated those they are suppose to serve as mere chattels, ones to be bought, sold, exchanged, or even killed, in their pursuit of power - and these practices need to be halted, permanently. That our governments have too much power is, again, underlined by another quotation - one from R.J. Rummel in "Death by Government":
"The more power a government has the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more power is diffused, checked, and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide."
The first sentence of that quotation demonstrates why we presently suffer a form of elected dictatorship and the second sentence why a form of direct democracy, with a dose of 'referism, is so urgently needed. 


TomTom said...

We always suffered from dictatorship, it is just that widening the franchise allowed more people to feel they had a participatory role......the essence is to limit the power of government which Britain has NEVER done.

The only limit in the past was that the ruling class were classically educated in Greek and Latin and felt they were descendants of the Classical Civilisation - and when they spent taxpayers money, they were the taxpayers.

Now it is Everyman and No Man. Power resides in who can spend the most and tax the least.

Heath abolished local government; Thatcher rendered the remnants impotent; the public turned away.

The Central State which emerged from two world wars has made Britain a Socialist Republic with a Mother-President who is more concerned with her family business than national sovereignty or liberty

Stuart said...

The weak point of representative democracy is the reps can act on their own behalf or rent-seekers. During various episodes in the past when the likes of Ken Clarke have said we should not have a referendum because we have parliamentary democracy, this point should be made. I posted that essay on the talkconstitution.net website about public choice theory which basically talks about it.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TT: Can't disagree with that, to a certain extent.

S: Yup and read your piece on TC which I shall be making use of.