Richard North, EUReferendum, links to a post by Helen, Your Freedom and Ours, from which he quotes a commenter, Antisthenes:
“Parliamentary democracy can no longer be described as such because democracy stops at parliaments doors. The people are now excluded from decision making and government and they know it and have lost hope and lost interest knowing that their influence does not matter other than superficially. The political elite and powerful vested interests now rule so that we have the “government of the people by the few for the few”.”
The use of the words ‘parliamentary democracy’ together could be said to be an oxymoron in that Parliament does not represent, nor is there any form of separation twixt the Executive and Legislature; neither in its deliberations nor working is there any element of democracy: demos (people) or kratos (power).
If democracy stops at the doors of Parliament, then the question needs to be asked: where pray did it begin? Where is its ‘source’? It becomes necessary to ask where at any stage of the electoral process is there is any element of democracy? The ‘electioneering period’, during which we are fed half-truths and in some cases downright lies? Manifestos which aren’t worth the paper on which they are written? Candidates that are selected by the political party for whom they are standing? Heck, even the ballot paper is ‘tagged’, is it not? Where Antisthenes is correct is to state that we have a situation of government of the people by the few for the few – in other words, we have what may be termed a ‘parliamentary dictatorship’.
In common with dictatorships, in this country any ‘guidance’ on a particular subject that is presented to the people is ‘edited’ and contains ‘redacted elements’. An example is the paper written by Tobias Ellwood entitled: “Upgrading UK influence in the European Union“, a paper with a Foreward written by Mats Persson of Open Europe, the latter being the publishers of Ellwood’s tome. First, in the Foreward, we have Persson writing about ‘Government’ and ‘well-informed political debate’, neither of which we in the UK have. From Wikipedia we learn that:
“Government is broadly defined as the administrative organization with authority to govern a political state. In British English (and that of the Commonwealth of Nations), a government more narrowly refers to the particular administrative bureaucracy in control of a state at a given time.”
With ‘government’ having ceded so much of their power to the European Union, it is a tad perverse of Persson to refer to our ‘Government’. As to ‘well-informed political debate’, I have yet to see such – and in any event, were there to be ‘well-informed political debate’, it would prove a fruitless exercise when the speakers are subsequently informed how they are to cast their vote. Second, nowhere in Ellwood’s paper is there mention that as the PPS to David Lidington, Europe Minister, he is obligated to support and further government policy – which is all his paper does. Hell, he even wants more public money to enable:
“Increased opportunities, responsibility (and funding) provided for individual MPs, Select Committees and European APPGs to visit Brussels to engage with UKREP, MEPs and Commissioners with a view to engaging in upstream discussions on proposals”.
All Ellwood’s paper does is, in effect, make the case for increased participation in ‘matters EU’. Perhaps someone can point out exactly where, in this, is there one element of democracy?
That, as I have written previously, our present system of representative democracy is no longer fit for purpose and has thus reached its sell-by date, it is worth repeating the remainder of Antisthenes’ comment:
“The next step in the evolution towards true democracy has to be for the people to take power to themselves. In the way of this are politicians and political parties who should have the right of decision making and being able to form governments taken away from them. It is time to expunge parliaments of politicians and let them take their place with all the other vested interests and replace them with apolitical constituency representatives who by constant consultation with their constituents decide on all matters economic, social and political. It is possible that the people will at first at least be not much more able than the inept corrupt lot we have now at making decisions or governing us. However it will be us the people who govern us the people and given time and with increased involvement of all of the people that governance can only improve.”
Anyone agreeing with that will obviously agree with this.