Archive for April, 2010

Representation of the people or democracy circus?

April 26, 2010

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

Democracy deficit cannot be cured by electoral reform!

April 21, 2010

Let’s be clear, changing the electoral system, just the method we use to vote for candidates, will do little to give “we the people” more influence over politicians and public affairs. For that we need more “direct” democracy (see www.iniref.org) such as the law-proposal and the veto referendum.

People in recent decades have become more sceptical about politicians of all parties. Many have learnt that by just giving away your vote once every five or so years you have very little influence. At election time you have to choose a “package deal” of party policy, hoping for the best, and you have no chance to select and vote on particular public issues, however important some of them may be.

For our “democracy deficit” a remedy offered, at least by LibDems and Labour, is to replace our “first past the post” electoral system with a supposedly better one. The Conservative Party wants no change. The LibDems want proportional representation of parties whereas Labour offers “alternative vote”.

These changes would in no way give more “power to the people” in the long period between general elections.

Make direct democracy an issue in UK election 2010

April 19, 2010
50 per cent say choosing Brown is unthinkable… 51 per cent claim they have no enthusiasm for Tories…
The Independent Tuesday, 30 March 2010
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Even though the LibDems had a good tv spot:
iniref suggests:

The INdirect democracy of political parties and parliament has performed badly and this shows up in the anger and despair of many voters.

People see government as out of control, way beyond representation of the people, and parliament as weak, servile and, perhaps pitiably, corrupt.

Just giving away a vote to a candidate once every five years is a poor way to run and manage our (own) public affairs.

Practically speaking there is no way to abolish the political parties and institutions of government.

So how can things be improved?

THE BIG IDEA Partial Direct Democracy.

This gives us, the voters, a say in what politicians are doing in the periods between elections.

How it works.
1) A BRAKE on runaway government. With the optional veto-referendum a parliamentary bill or recently passed law can be referred to the people. Say, half a million endorsements (signatures) collected with a few months can trigger a veto referendum.

2) INPUT BY THE OWNERS The citizens’ law proposal (initiative) allows ideas which have gathered huge support to go onto the public agenda for debate. Parliament is obliged to debate these proposals. If rejected, the proposal goes to binding referendum of the whole electorate. Regulations for “the citizens’ initiative” are set to avoid overwhelming the system with proposals. This sort of democracy generates much public debate and encourages people to become involved.

3) SACK BAD MPs The “Recall” procedures is a citizens’ initiative within a constituency. If an agreed large number of voters call for an MP to go, a ballot must be held to decide her/his fate. If the Recall succeeds a by-election must be held.

More detail about these “DEMOCRACY APPS” may be found in www, see

http://www.iniref.org/index.enter.html

Charter88
Citizen Extra: General Election Manifesto Download http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/?p=2334

I&R ~ GB Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain


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