Monday, 15 March 2010

How do we find democracy?

What is your view of an ideal democracy? One definition is government by the people which is direct democracy but you are more likely to get an indirect democracy in which representatives are elected. So the best indirect democracies are those that reflect the views of the people.

Now think of any domestic decision that you have to make. It might be buying a tin of beans , choosing a holiday or picking a colour to paint the house. It really doesn't matter what you choose. The point is that it is very rare to have a question with only two answers. It's the same in politics but we get artificial choices between two extremes. I don't look upon this as a great democracy.

Take a look at your local council. I have been to many council meetings and councillors talk a lot of sense individually. Then you find that they vote along party lines and forget all the good ideas that they were talking about. Wouldn't it be really wonderful if debates in local and national government actually meant something? Wouldn't it be better if our representatives looked for the best answer and voted for it?

Democracy is also held to ransom by those who finance the main parties because they don't do it for nothing. A lot has been made of Lord Ashcroft and the millions that he has given to the Conservatives. He manages to do this by saving millions as a tax exile and then wants to participate as a legislator to presumably) keep the rich saving millions that could be targeted towards the poor. On the other hand take one union. The Unite union has given £11 miliion to the Labour Party in the last four years. They must feel unwell now that Lord Adonis has told them that their strike is "totally unjustified".

When I hear that a hung parliament is not wanted to me it is like saying that we don't want a democracy. There may be arguments for dictatorships but you will never achieve the will of the people with it and dictatorships may be corrupt.

Change the world

P.S. I did write this before Nick Clegg's speech in which he talked about choice in our everyday life. "if you have two parties you only ever have two ideas".

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