Home > Uncategorized > The Sad State of Affairs in Our Democracy!

The Sad State of Affairs in Our Democracy!

I’ve been meaning to write a piece in response to John Harris’s blogpost, The Moribund Mainstream of Politics Risks Letting Loose the Ghouls over at the Guardian, as well as this piece by @Richard_Morris_’s piece for the New Statesman: Saving Capitalism, the Price Could Be Democracy for a few days.

It isn’t news to anyone who reads this blog or follows me on twitter (@nicola_prigg) that I think our democracy is a sham. We have a parliament that does not represent the people (87% of parliament represents 65% of the people, 23% of the people are represented by 8.7% of our representatives. A million people voted UKIP and have no representation whilst less than half a million voted SNP and have 6 seats. Need I go on?), a government that doesn’t have to listen to the people (to give politicians some credit, occasionally they are right not to), we have politicians who are puppets to the media, which is heavily controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

Its often said that Westminster is the mother of all parliaments: an example to all others. If Westminster is an example to other countries when it comes to democracy, its an example of how not to do it.

Right now, your asking what I think a good democracy looks like, aren’t you? Or at least asking me what I think democracy means?

Democracy to me is about people from all walks of life whether it be the life of the inner city or those of the countryside, the rich or the poor, the black or white, the men or the women or the transgender, the abled and the disabled coming together to decide important issues whether it be a local government level, national level or UK national level. It doesn’t matter whether its through direct democracy (e.g. referendums) or through representative democracy (i.e. parliaments/assemblies etc.). We should have debates across civic and political society. The political society engaging civic society and vice versa.

At the moment, we see the political elite engaging with each other over the eurozone crisis. The political elite terrified by the very mention of engaging the public over how to deal with the financial crisis. I refer you to the outrage and chaos created by the Greek PM Papandreo announcing that he was going to put the Greek bailout plan to the people of Greece.

The political elite believe their own rhetoric that “strong authoritarian governments” are what is needed to fix this crisis. Of course, Greece is moving to a coalition government (ah, those governments considered weak by my coalition colleagues) to get through the crisis.

That aside, the idea that what is good for the eurozone and economies worldwide (including ours) is to steamroll through packages of austerity despite objections, protests and the occasional riot by the public is what is needed to fix this mess is ridiculous. The ridiculousness is somewhat pointed out by Yasheng Huang’s TED talk, Does Democracy Stifle Economic Growth?

Why in order to solve this economic crisis should we move to more democracy rather than less? Let me explain:

  1. More democracy means more collective decision making meaning less objection meaning no protests and no riots meaning less people on the street protesting/rioting instead of working meaning more tax revenues for the Treasury.
  2. More democracy means giving people more power to affect change to their communities and their lives, these changes help drive the economy. Change drives change and economic growth is positive change.
The political elite have yet to catch on to the idea, that we the people are the change makers, that we are the ones who drive the economy. So if they wish to fix this economic crisis, they may wish to consult the people who drive the economy.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 8, 2011 at 14:32

    Abolutely agree with you about the need to broaden our democratic structures and practices to create a more inclusive politics. Parliamentary democracy as it stands (especially UK parliamentary democracy) is something of an oxymoron.

    The Greek situation is difficult because, in the short term, what is needed is a political solution that reassures the markets. A long-drawn out referendum in those circumstances was not a solution at all and would simply have resulted in chaos. Referenda can not be allowed to be used as a substitute for political decision-making. But there are situations in which referenda can be useful (e.g. constituional change) and while not the biggest fan of the referendum, it can be a useful and necessary part of an empowering democratic system.

    The idea that authoritarianism relates to strength is, of course, utterly facile.

  1. November 8, 2011 at 03:48

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