Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Democracy is not the same as 'eating your greens'

If I have one perspective that I seem to press more than anyone else, it's the view that even a good idea becomes a bad one if it needs a referendum to legitimise it.

 I can't think of anything worse than a debate that is designed to polarise the electorate and then impose a hated result on up to 49.99% of the franchise. (I've done this one before)

A democracy that guarantees the greatest unhappiness for the greatest number is a travesty and I can't understand why it's not a deal-breaker for all concerned. A good democratic process would give us ample opportunity to put the question in a way that a good decision would result.

The deal on the currency's and Scotland's place in the EU, NATO and Eurovision should have been nailed down before the question was even asked so that people would know what they are voting on.

If I were a Scottish Nationalist I'd be very unhappy about achieving my goals in this way because it promises only a Pyrrhic victory. Scottish politics is a bitter affair at the best of times and it's the last place that would benefit from the decades of trench warfare that are likely to follow either outcome.

Yet, with all of this said, I think there are sections of the 'No' camp who see this as a great big Caledonian brain-burp. A messy decision to stick two fingers up to the English in general, southerners in particular, and very specifically David Cameron (who badly owes us all a dozen 'Portillo moments') rather than a real enthusiasm for independence.

There appears to be a view that the Scottish people may be sleepwalking out of misplaced skittish spite rather than a sober decision about the real question in hand. I think this is a serious mistake, and a misunderstanding of what a good democracy involves.

Though so many of the clever, good people that I know are, by a significant majority, urging a 'No' vote, it may be the case that a large slice of the Scottish people may reply: "We've heard your arguments and we've made our decision anyway."  

If they do decide to ignore the sober council that they are offered, we need to be clear: People aren't stupid. They've not been deprived of the opportunity to hear all of the arguments. That's democracy.

Democracy is not about ordinary people accepting the advice of the kind of people that technocrats would put in charge of everything. If we were to improve our democracy to the point that every pointyhead at Democratic Audit were to say that they were happy with it, the public would often stick two fingers up when they're told to 'eat their greens'.

As it happens, as far as predictions go, I'm with the bookies on this one. I think the vote will go with the 'No' camp - and probably with a larger margin than expected.

I could be wrong though...


jOHN nEWELL said...

the solution:

Procedure By Which conservatives Could Control Parliament

If UKIP  is  Lucky,  UKIP could  get,   perhaps,  get   ten to thirty   seats
in  Parliament.  Do  not   forget,   the  public  still regards  UKIP  as   a
one  issue  party.  To gain  control of  Parliament  UKIP  and  (and frie-
nds) should  form a  new  conservative  party  with  a  platform that is 
close to that of the existing Conservative party, omitting, of course, 
policies that are objectionable to conservatives. The purpose would
be to make a bed that would be easy for conservatives to slide into,
including  the eighty  percent  of  the Conservatives who left Conser-
vative  associations. UKIP and the  conservatives  should   then  form
 a  political  association  in  each  parliamentary  district.   UKIP   could
merge with the new party, thus getting rid of the one issue problem. 
Every one who would have worked  to  form  the new,  conservative,
 party   should   be   prevented   from    joining    the    new   party    for
a  period   of time  to  prevent  the  impression  that  UKIP  controls  it.
The two or three conservative parties should hold a primary election
to determine who runs as the Parliamentary candidate, with the losers
to help the winner. The cost of forming new associations can be raised
by local contributors. It is suggested that the  new   conservative   asso-
ciations and the political party be controlled by the lowest level of con-
servatives, such as teachers, small businessmen, solicitors, professionals
etc. If the  above   procedure   can  not  be  completed  in  time  to   get 
candidates   elected   to    Parliament,  the  new  party  must  wait  until
after the  election  and  hold  a  petition  demanding  that  the  elected
MP  resign. Note: an MP  represents   every  person  in  his  district,  not
just members and   supporters of his party. When the petition reaches
fifty percent of those who voted in the prior election, the conservatives
will be morally justified in demanding their MP"s resignation. Then the
new party could run their  candidates  in  the  following by elections. 
To select a candidate, a local  association should  advertise  for applicants
or the position of candidate for  Parliament, then  select   the   best  app-
licant  by using rigorous tests, including, most importantly,  psychological 
evaluation. psychological evaluation is an absolute necessity as the psych-
ological evaluation is the only way to tell who is honest and who is a con-
artist; members of the public  cannot.  Testing  could  be  required  of the 
association  officers,  committee  members and delegates, etc.

The platform, selected by new party associations,  should be some what
 vague in order to facilitate integration  the platforms of the  new  assoc-
iations into one platform. It is suggested that self forming cliques of those
who are   honest  and   trust  worthy  be formed;  then form   self  forming
cliques of those who have   political skills  and  capabilities,  within  the
first described clique.

The corruption in Ukip is a cause for concern. Information about the corr-
uption may bee seen on the following websites:

John Newell

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Anonymous said...

There is no good democratic process.
Democracy is a tool that was invented to ensure division and to control.
It was never intended to be a solution.
We are now in the process of the deconstruction of democracy.
We will be offered an alternative solution that is even more divisive and controlling.

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