Representative Democracy?

2e: Representative Democracy?

In April 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt sent the US Congress the following warning:

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.

This United Kingdom has long ceased to be a democracy. One definition of democracy is: ‘a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation’.

The supreme power in the representative system we have is invested in just two-thirds of the population because one-third – for whatever reasons is entirely disenfranchised and does not vote. In the UK it is presently exercised by a sometimes-elected prime minister who seems to appoint a cabinet of people defined by their possession of money.

In this age of complexity it is not possible for one person to represent many views. In fact I find pretty much none of my concerns are presently represented in a parliamentary system. Around 64 million people in the UK, represented by just 650 members of parliament leaves 98,461 people per MP; hardly representative!

When governments routinely ignore the will of the people, be that over wars, cuts, or the minutiae of policy, we see modern representative democracy for the sham that it is.  What can we do when the government itself is the problem? It is so self-referencial that even the intelligent and more fairly representative option of ‘proportional representation’ fails to ever be adopted because of internal power structures. Whoever you vote for – the government gets in and they work to support a ‘Keynesian Free Market Economy’, a brand of economics that is contrary to the interests of life itself.

What of more radical options like a ‘directly participatory democratic system’, where we all vote on issues as they emerge, if they interest us?  Such things will never even be heard of from within a system that seeks to ban anything radical, promoting any alternative ideas that challenge the mainstream as a form of terrorism. Our parliamentary system is simply unable to change to adapt to modern conditions and there is no legal precedent for reconstructing this aspect of government.

The system we have is presently more like an oligarchy‘a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.’ Our elected representatives are in fact, acting in the interests of money and big-business, not of us – the people who put them there by an archaic voting system .

Some people believe the system to be more of a plutocracy ‘a class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth’, in which anyone else is a slave serving their interests, otherwise facing arrest or punitive action for non-compliance. Anyone involved in the peaceful protests about fracking will have seen or experienced this for themselves.

I have even heard the system we have defined as a kleptocracy‘a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal from us to increase their own wealth; rule by thieves.’

As explored earlier – it could also be called a Wetiocracy! – ‘ government pursuing an undefined and unquestioned set of values that consume life for private purpose and profit.’

Even worse – pathocracy‘a system of government in which individuals with personality disorders (especially psychopathy) occupy positions of power and influence. The result is a totalitarian system characterised by a government turned against its own people.’

I have seen events in which all of the above are applicable. Representative democracy is no longer working for people or planet, it is no longer representative but a corporate oligarchy at least.

The false dichotomy of a two-party system reduces discourses down to a tiny ideological platform, both of which support Keynsian Economics at the price of environmental damage. This is nowhere near the complexity that we have in the actual political positions of people.

City-centrist decisions made on local issues are invariably just wrong – especially where I live in a very rural environment! What applies in the city often doesn’t work in the country at all.  Sometimes local conditions and regional differences are often not even considered in ‘blanket’ legislation made centrally.

Our only real alternative is to build self-governance up from a local level to reclaim the powers that we have given to a corrupt, uninformed and out-of-touch centralised government.

When you look at the government we have today do you really feel represented by these people? The whole system of a ‘representative democracy’ has become a joke. The leaders seem like pantomime villains acting out an entirely predictable script of lining their own nests. It is a system of representation made for a slave mentality, for people who wish to be governed. It is a nest of tyrants, raiders at the end of time!

Far better for people interested in a balanced life of ‘freedom and responsibility’ is the idea of a more directly participatory democracy in which the people can govern themselves if they choose to. There are much better options than the anachronism of Parliament we presently have, but it is the system of government itself that is preventing them from even seeing the light of day. A representative democracy is no longer serving its people.

Obviously I don’t vote as I believe democracy is a pointless spectacle where we choose between two indistinguishable political parties, neither of whom represent the people but the interests of the powerful business elites that own the world.”

Russell Brand

Caroline Lucas describes the awful inefficiency, the money wasted, the back room deals, the ridiculously out-dated procedures, the downright ignorance and arrogance and the old-boy network. She shows the red tape, the meaningless and time consuming traditions and the insidious corruption inherent in the system. Her book clearly describes the hideously outdated, biased and remote nature of government in the UK.

She exposes many of the absurdities of this uniquely British cross between a serious parliament and a taxpayer-subsidised, champagne-and-canape gentlemen’s club (and they are mainly men in suits), such as the antiquated, time-consuming voting procedure of the division bell calling Honourable Members to vote from wherever they happen to be in or around the premises, in eight minutes flat, to be sometimes physically pushed by their party whips into the Aye or No lobbies, there to be manually counted as electronic voting has yet to arrive in the British Parliament, and often having little idea of what they’re voting for.

She writes about the blatant unfairness of the Private Members’ Bills, which are discussed on Friday afternoons when the Commons is particularly empty, but require the backing of a hundred MPs and are usually ‘talked out’ (filibustered until they run out of time) if the Government dislikes the proposal. Or the quaint Ruritanian provision of ribbons in the member’s cloakroom upon which to hang one’s sword. I find it a wonder that she still believes that parliament is actually capable of reform.

She writes about her attempts to reform such an anachronistic institution as ‘The Mother of All Parliaments’  Such an entrenched institution is beyond reform.  It is leading us towards environmental and social breakdown.  Parliament is no longer representative of the people and has become an oligarchy leading us blindly to the edge of disaster .

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