“Democracy”. It’s such a resonant word, is it not? Redolent with aeons of history and associated with noble intent and the blessing of the people. Great quotes are attached to it, great store is set by it, and wars are fought to promote it … which should really give you an inkling that it might, actually, not be “all that”.
The idea of democracy is that it allows the people to have a say. It blesses politicians’ objectives with the imprimatur of “the people”.
I would like to ask you to reflect on the following points, however:
- The winners of the previous election had the votes of approximately 35% of the electorate, yet ruled with an unassailable majority. One-third of the electorate got to tell two-thirds of the electorate how to live their lives. And remember, one-third of the electorate is not one-third of the population, even!
- This is not an endorsement of proportional representation per se, for even if there was some sort of coalition cobbled together that got 50.1% of the vote, that would still mean that half the electorate was telling the other half how to live their lives. And even if 80% or 90% of the electorate endorse one approach, the remaining 20% or 10% are effectively told their opinions are valueless.
- Politicians’ objectives, as sold to “the people”, are meaningless. We had a recent court case where the Labour Party argued in court that their election manifesto was something they didn’t have to even try to follow. Needless to say, the court agreed. So, we may think we’re giving our imprimatur to their stated objectives, but in reality, we are merely giving them permission to do whatever they see fit.
- Yesterday’s display that the two parties who lost the most votes could actually cobble together a majority with a bunch of people that represent the interests of almost no-one.
Given the above points, do you not think the image of democracy is somewhat different from the reality? Do you really think that democracy is noble, great and important? Do you even think it’s useful?
Or do you think that you may just be contributing to a massive charade that is ultimately pointless: whoever you vote for, the government always gets in!
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- May 11, 2010 at 09:27