The dust has not yet settled after the UK election. There will be arguments and recriminations, that’s for sure. At this moment, there are many people complaining that the result is not democratic, but it was and is. Perhaps the system of democracy used is outdated, but we all voted within the rules of that system...there was no mass boycott and on that basis it was democratic...the majority opinion prevailed.
England took the Greek notion of democracy, shook off the dust and started to mould it into a workable system more than five hundred years ago. The proven British model is used as a basis throughout the English-speaking world and elsewhere too.
Democracy is frequently held up as the ideal form of government. It is not, nor will it ever be ideal; yet in terms of being closest to what the majority of a nation’s people believe, there has never been anything better.
Many argue it is not right that the Conservatives have absolute power with only 37% of the vote. They say the ‘first past the post’ system is unfair, but forget that it was designed for a two Party system. The coming of the Labour Party in the 1920s made it worse. The Liberals became a perpetual third place Party where their seats never reflected their proportion of the vote.
Up until the last election in 2010, the two main Parties were quite happy with this and only the LibDems seriously backed electoral reform and proportional representation.
The 2015 election saw some eight different Parties in contention, which has resulted in the greatest disenfranchisement ever. The Scottish National Party is cock-a-hoop that it secured
a majority north of the border by gaining 56 seats for 1.8million votes. Yet the fervently
Euro-sceptic UK Independence Party secured only 1 seat for 3.8million votes. There is little doubt that the British model is now broken. It cannot be cobbled back together and needs to
However, if 37% brings forth a questionable democratic system, just ponder for a moment
that P.R. has its own perils. Think how a voter might feel if s/he had voted for the Noddy Party because it promised to ban bells on hats. Yet, the Noddy Party, with 40% of the vote, fails to secure a majority under P.R. and has to form a coalition with the Big-Ears Party, which with 11% of the vote is vehemently opposed to banning bells on hats. Thus 40% of the people wanting bells to be banned have to endure them because of the demands of a minority. Is this model more democratic?
My post, ‘The End of Democracy’, took a fearful look at the burgeoning power of the EU at a time when there was a real possibility of a Labour+SNP government. Neither Party supported the view that the British people should have any say on our membership. This may have been something that helped trounce Labour.
However, I am delighted with the result because the victors were the only ones (with any serious chance of winning) to promise a referendum on our evolving membership of what has become the European Union.
Achieving true democracy is such a daunting challenge that sometimes it is possible to see why the EU, with one foot in our door, seeks to avoid it. It seems to move inexorably toward benign dictatorship, which might be its perceived ideal. Some say the EU seeks to achieve totalitarianism without the furore of having a visible dictator at the helm.
Making democracy work so that it unites a nation is hard, but making it work to unite a confederation of nations is near to impossible. It is particularly so where those nations have differing priorities, different attitudes and different methods of doing things. It is no small wonder that the European Union formulators have adopted a system that is more dictatorship and less democracy.
Some argue this is exactly what is on offer and if you believe benign dictatorship is an acceptable method for the efficient organisation of human beings, rejoice because that is what the EU is.
If, on the other hand, you believe the people should have the right to dismiss those in power, a British referendum to exit the EU may serve as a clarion call to other nation states. An omen of the effects of unbridled power, controlled by big business, is clearly before us. Perhaps other countries will then hold referenda and so dismantle this monstrosity, which is the ill-conceived child of fascist parents.
However, as big business and sinister forces appear to be the power behind the EU throne – beware! They will spend a fortune on publicity and persuasion to frighten the British people into voting to stay. This will be the true challenge for those wanting democracy because it will be hard to slay those hidden behind the monster.