Shading our eyes against the dazzle of the televised “elephant debates” (party leaders arguing live – in other countries these shows are no longer taken seriously), we may deduce the poverty of our democratic culture and discern the cynicism and brazened deceptiveness of the political class.
These tv spectaculars are part of a periodic circus designed to convince us that by voting for “our” party you will be represented on most if not all major public issues of government. Such representation over the four or five year life of a parliament is as impossible as it is fraudulent.
Simply by improving the electoral system by which we select candidates and parties – whether with alternative vote, single transferable vote or another, cannot more than marginally correct our deep and dangerous democratic deficit! That is, all this talk of “PR”, proportional representation and related, would alter only INDIRECT democracy.
Both with PR etc. and with the current electoral system (“first past the post”) you may vote for candidates and political parties ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS after which you have NO SAY AT ALL in public policy or in managing (your own) public affairs.
We say, THE ELECTORATE should (a) be enabled to veto unwanted government policy and (b) obtain the right to put forward proposals public and parliamentary debate. If necessary a large, agreed number of voters should be able to bring a proposal to referendum of the whole electorate, even if the government of the day does not want a referendum.
How to enact these straightforward but vital reforms? See:
http://www.iniref.org/steps.html Basic presentation
http://www.iniref.org/case.html The case for more democracy
http://www.iniref.org/carta.htm Election campaign call
http://www.iniref.org/index.enter.html Web site index