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Should the government abide by the will of the people? watch

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    For example, many polls have advocated that tougher immigration controls should be in place. A variety articles have reported on this. Yet, Alan Johnson practically disregarded this viewpoint in a recent interview.

    This is one of many examples of the government not abiding by the will of the people (even when there is a large majority).

    So, do you think that the government should act in response to public opinion and the will of the people, when making decisions and enacting laws? I'm mainly referring to cases when 70%+ of opinion shifts in one direction.
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    If a government claims to operate democratically, then yes, this is how it should proceed.

    Personally, I'm not sure if democracy is the way to go. It definitely is the way to go if the electorate are an informed group of people. Unfortunately, I don't think the British public are the informed group of people that they would need to be to make good political decisions on a collective basis. Some people are idiots, and not everybody does deserve an equal vote.

    But in a democracy, that's how it should work, ideally. It works perfectly well in Switzerland - it's one of the most prosperous, civilised and morally advanced country in Europe, and I think it owes that to it's extremely democratic system plus it's informed electorate.
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    That was what my immigration thread was about. I don't think that just because something is popular that it necessarily is right but I think it does mean that in a debate it has the intial advantage.
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    They are elected to represent the people and thus, should represent/enforce the ideas/will of the people. To put it simply....
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    This isn't a simple debate because clearly if 70% of the population suddenly decided that gang-rape is actually fantastic, and should in fact be legalised, I'd support the government in not giving in and legalising it.

    I think a government should have its principles and try to stick to them as far as possible. If people then come to disagree with those principles, they can vote for somebody else. But I want governments to be able to admit it when they're wrong "my bad, cannabis isn't worse than alcohol, is it?" "My bad, Iraq was probably a bad idea, wasn't it?" - in these instances I am entirely against the governments refusal to change its stance, or at least open the subjects up to debate. There ought to be room in any party, however principled, to change its policies - because society alters, its not stagnant, so conservatism is inherantly flawed.
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    Don't vote AJ in next time; simple as.
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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    That was what my immigration thread was about. I don't think that just because something is popular that it necessarily is right but I think it does mean that in a debate it has the intial advantage.
    Immigration is just one example, I used it because it's quite a recent example of the government not abiding by the will of the people.
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    (Original post by itszednotzee)
    They are elected to represent the people and thus, should represent/enforce the ideas/will of the people. To put it simply....
    I don't think the current system is conducive to finding out what the ideas/will of the people is in the first place.

    Take the next general election, for example. The Conservative Party will almost certainly take a landside victory. But is that because the will of the people is to have a conservative government? Not really. It's a backlash against labour, and it's a backlash we will probably regret 4 years from now.

    A representative government elected every 4 years leaves far too much room for petty politics, and does not get to the heart of what people want.

    Not to mention the fact that, in most constituencies, the turnout is less than 30%. This is because 70% feel disinterested by the parties as a whole, don't associated with any particular party as a whole, etc.

    However, in an entirely democratic nation (i.e., one in which each issue goes to the public vote), almost 100% of the electorate would turn out - everybody has an opinion on everything. Not only that, but since there would be no need for a backlash against a bad government, and no room for other petty politics, everybody's decision in that public vote would be about what they think is the right decision regarding the issue, rather than being about who they want to act in spite of.
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    (Original post by Phugoid)
    However, in an entirely democratic nation (i.e., one in which each issue goes to the public vote), almost 100% of the electorate would turn out - everybody has an opinion on everything. Not only that, but since there would be no need for a backlash against a bad government, and no room for other petty politics, everybody's decision in that public vote would be about what they think is the right decision regarding the issue, rather than being about who they want to act in spite of.
    Nice idea, but would it work in practice? If so, why hasn't the government incorporated it already?

    Also, what if there was just a 51% majority?
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    (Original post by CandyFlipper)
    There ought to be room in any party, however principled, to change its policies - because society alters, its not stagnant, so conservatism is inherantly flawed.
    Conservatives recognise that societies change. I don't know where you got the idea that they don't.
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    No because most people are in fact, morons.
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    (Original post by Forbidden Fruit)
    Nice idea, but would it work in practice? If so, why hasn't the government incorporated it already?

    Also, what if there was just a 51% majority?
    It works in practice in Switzerland. Switzerland use 'direct democracy', which shifts the power of the people to the highest degree.

    In the UK we have only parliamentary democracy - every 4 years we vote somebody in, and whatever they decide is what gets done for the next 4 years.

    In the direct democracy they have in switzerland, major issues go to what we would call a referendum (a very rare occurence in this country). As a result, switzerland are one of the best countries socially, economically, liberally and in almost all other markers of prosperity.

    So yes, direct democracy is perfectly capable of working well in practice.

    As for 51%, that is a majority, and so whatever the decision of the 51% is will be the outcome
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    (Original post by Nick_000)
    No because most people are in fact, morons.
    Exactly. The ideal system of government is a direct democracy given to informed individuals.

    If we had direct democracy in Britain for as long as they've had it in Switzerland, we'd already have banned foreigners and Science, and things like the smoking ban would never have materialised.

    Direct democracy can work in practice, but it is highly dependent on a well-informed electorate. We don't even have a well-informed parliament never mind a well-informed electorate.
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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    Conservatives recognise that societies change. I don't know where you got the idea that they don't.
    Conservatism is often associated with traditionalism. They are usually very sceptical of societal progress away from traditional practice.
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    No, they shouldn't. Yes they are representatives of the people, but they are the ones who make the choice on policy and legislation as representatives of the people. They decide and then the people decide at a general election whether they have done a good job or not...supposedly. Otherwise you get media driven politics....although, in a lot ways, that is where we are now.
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    The Government does abide by the will of the people...just...a very select number of them....
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    (Original post by Phugoid)
    Conservatism is often associated with traditionalism. They are usually very sceptical of societal progress away from traditional practice.
    I know that. I'm a traditionalist Conservative myself. But Conservatives know that societies change, just not always for the better.
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    (Original post by Don_Scott)
    I know that. I'm a traditionalist Conservative myself. But Conservatives know that societies change, just not always for the better.
    And that would be fine if they held onto their traditions because they were better, rather than just because they are traditional.

    Many of the Tory traditions are quite non-applicable in a positive way to modern society, and many of the progressions they oppose are absolutely necessary to the positive progress of society.
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    (Original post by mart123)
    No, they shouldn't. Yes they are representatives of the people, but they are the ones who make the choice on policy and legislation as representatives of the people. They decide and then the people decide at a general election whether they have done a good job or not...supposedly. Otherwise you get media driven politics....although, in a lot ways, that is where we are now.
    Lol, we live in media driven politics.

    Not only do the media decide who we vote for, but they also decide what issues we take to heart, and then politicians, in a bid to win those hearts, focus on those issues.

    That's why we haven't taken up nuclear power they way we should have. There's nothing wrong with nuclear power. Scientists know it. Anybody who's done an ounce of research knows it. Anybody politician who has met a half-decent scientific advisor knows it. But the media don't, therefore the people don't, therefore the people plan to vote for those who oppose it, therefore the parties oppose it.

    We live in media-driven politics anyway.

    But that's why I said that direct democracy was a bad idea in Britain - because, on the whole, we are uninformed morons who make our decisions via the wants of the editors of dubious tabloids. Get rid of that culture of ignorance and stupidity, and direct democracy will work.

    It isn't direct democracy that's problematic itself, it's the attitudes and traditions of the British people that's the problem.
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    The trick to keeping a Government is making people think they are being listened to.
 
 
 
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