Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Let's see if we can't find something better?

    I know it's almost heretical to say that in this country, and until very recently I'd have bitten off the head of anyone put forward such a view. But I'm starting to lean away from my democratic instincts. There are a number of reasons. Allow me to share them with you:

    1. There are things I care about more than equality at the ballot box.

    I won't prejudice my argument here by getting into specifics, but whatever you believe about health, and education, and war and peace, and the environment, and nuclear weapons, and welfare, and the distribution of income, and economic policy, and internationalism, and interventionism, and pensions, and licensing, and drug law, and crime, and - whatever you think about any of those things, surely your opinions about them matter more to you than everyone getting an equal say.

    I don't care all that much about whether or not a politically-ignorant plumber from Plymouth gets to vote. I do care what kind of public services he gets, and I do care whether his kid goes off to fight in Afghanistan or Darfur or nowhere, and I do care how money he gets to support his family with. Why? Because those have a real and quantifiable effect on his life, and getting to vote really doesn't.

    Ask yourself when you became so certain that it was crucial to the stuctural stability of our little island for everyone to get an equal say. There's no justification for it, except citizenship lessons.

    Democracy has become a religion: something invisible and unquantifiable, which we cling to over and above our real and physical concerns. I'm an atheist. I want the system which gets the policies right: I'm not sure I want to worship the system anymore.

    2. It's not like we have a real democracy, anyway.

    I don't want to waste time discussing well-known deficiencies in British democracy. But, briefly, I'll run through a few.

    First, representative democracy isn't democratic in any meaningful sense: citizens get no say in any constitutional matter; we instead have a choice between two or three realistic parliamentary candidates who will have broadly similar opinions. After their election, MPs have no accountability, and over the course of five years can act as they please in the important matters of state. If democracy is primarily about promoting self-determination, then "representative democracy" ain't democracy.

    Second, parties are the dominant force in British politics. Whips, leadership elections, and the duality of executive and legislature see to this.

    Third, the Prime Minister who has a plethora of important powers under the royal prerogative is not directly elected.

    Fourth, in light of poing number two, first past the post sucks. The power of a voter varies by constituency, and it takes a relatively small percentage of the popular vote for a party to form a government.

    Fifth, turnout is never anywhere near 100%.


    3. The "elected = vaguely moral; unelected = Stalin"-dogma of Western education isn't historically accurate - or even consistent in a contemporary context.

    Hard to believe, isn't it? My textbooks never placed much emphasis on the fact that Hitler was elected, and, when it did come, the it was normally waved away with a swift,

    Textbook: "Oh, that was because of the Treaty of Versailles."
    Students: "Oh, phew, that's alright then."
    Textbook: "Ye of little faith! Had you going there for a moment, didn't I?"
    Students: "Praise be to democracy!"

    And it's funny that Mugabe's rise to power never comes up in citizenship, isn't it? History has shown us on many occasions that having been elected does not preclude a government from becoming tyrannical.

    In modern Britain, we are represented at the Euopean Parliament by electees from the BNP, a fascist organisation. If we're to promote democracy, they should be allowed to participate; we should acknowledge our own subjectivity, and surrender to the will of the democratic process. But I don't see why that should be the case. I'm not sure we should have to tolerate the influence of those who support racial inequality just to preserve electoral equality. I constantly struggle with the contradiction of projecting liberal values onto the fundamentally illiberal, of acting with tolerance towards the intolerant. What we end up with is a system that is permissive of a challenge to our most fundamental beliefs.


    4. No one likes the products of democracy, but by gosh, we love the producer.

    Isn't that a contradiction? This point is entwined with what I've written above, and I'll confess it's more rhetoric than anything else. But the fundamental paradox in the minds of voters is striking to me. How can a system that produces such perpetual and unwavering disappointment be so exempt from criticism? I ask that as a member of a mainstream political party.

    Politicians are cynical and politics itself irrelevant. But of course, democracy is great.

    The foremost wouldn't have to pander and the latter could deal honestly with the real issues of the day - if only they weren't held hostage by the passing whims of opinion polls.

    Constitutional principles like democracy aren't papal diktat: we should see what works.

    5. Discarding democracy would allow us to to be governed by the most intelligent and the most skilled from a wide cross section of society.

    Instead of Nadine Dorries.

    *

    Hm. Not sure if I believe any of that, but it's been coming for a while now, and I needed sketch out what I'm thinking.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I pretty much agree tbh. But what are the realistic alternatives?
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    Sortition, maybe.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by NDGAARONDI)
    I pretty much agree tbh. But what are the realistic alternatives?

    We have the tools to implement direct democracy as existed in classical Greece. The only trouble with that, is that direct democracy is very fickle indeed, and very bloody. As a system of government, certainly in this media age its a very bad idea. There would be just so much stuff that people would need to vote on, that they wouldn't be able to get on with their 'actual' jobs...


    So representative democracy it is then. But I think that introducing PR into the mix might at least go some way towards redressing the democratic deficit we have in the system...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I'm with you purely on the basis of wandering how can people vote when they dont have an informed opinion.

    I'll admit that only recently i entered my age of political awareness where i actually started to read things and understand what was going on, up until recently i wouldnt have voted for anybody because i didnt know which party wanted to do what, and i recon that the vast majority of the population have very little idea of what actually goes on in politics and so either vote for who their told to (by popular opinion, the media, or family tradition) or dont vote at all. Incidently, i wont be voting because i dont want any of them in power because they're all crooks, and i really really dont think who's in power really makes that much of a difference.

    "millions of people died in the world wars to give you the vote"

    yeah and they'd be turning in their grave if they saw the political parties of today
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Stomm)
    We have the tools to implement direct democracy as existed in classical Greece. The only trouble with that, is that direct democracy is very fickle indeed, and very bloody. As a system of government, certainly in this media age its a very bad idea. There would be just so much stuff that people would need to vote on, that they wouldn't be able to get on with their 'actual' jobs...


    So representative democracy it is then. But I think that introducing PR into the mix might at least go some way towards redressing the democratic deficit we have in the system...
    Yeah. Could always go federal but instead of having silly regions that don't make sense, promote county identity perhaps. I used to advocate treating Britain as one constituency and have a strict percentage for votes to seats (something like that) and many people will favour keeping the current constituency link stating they like it even though most of them don't even know who their local MP is.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    whatever you believe about health, and education, and war and peace, and the environment, and nuclear weapons, and welfare, and the distribution of income, and economic policy, and internationalism, and interventionism, and pensions, and licensing, and drug law, and crime, and - whatever you think about any of those things, surely your opinions about them matter more to you than everyone getting an equal say.

    I completely agree with you, and reckon that instead of voting a party in, we should vote an issue in-if that makes sense. With the recent media coverage of Euthanasia, some politicans have said that public opinions aren't really right because they don't have a deep enough understanding of the issue- but clearly people did because the support levels differed for different categories of Euthanasia. We should be allowed to vote for important ideas not parties that lets face it all pretty much (now if not always) advocate the same ideas!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I thought this was going to be a massive rant on a certain TSR member...
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.
    - Winston Churchill

    What are the alternatives?
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by thethinker)
    Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.
    - Winston Churchill

    What are the alternatives?
    Fascism. That might be quite popular on here I'd imagine.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nicklynoodles)
    whatever you believe about health, and education, and war and peace, and the environment, and nuclear weapons, and welfare, and the distribution of income, and economic policy, and internationalism, and interventionism, and pensions, and licensing, and drug law, and crime, and - whatever you think about any of those things, surely your opinions about them matter more to you than everyone getting an equal say.

    I completely agree with you, and reckon that instead of voting a party in, we should vote an issue in-if that makes sense. With the recent media coverage of Euthanasia, some politicans have said that public opinions aren't really right because they don't have a deep enough understanding of the issue- but clearly people did because the support levels differed for different categories of Euthanasia. We should be allowed to vote for important ideas not parties that lets face it all pretty much (now if not always) advocate the same ideas!
    I think that is an excellent idea. Surely as long as people are educated on an issue then it shouldn't be a problem? However, this would still never be a solution if you want you opinions above anyone else's to come first. This can never always occur from a public voting system.

    For example, I live on the IOW and you may have heard about the Vestas sit in and the controvosy over wind turbines (it's been in the news a lot).

    Now, a lot of people have shown support for the Vestas workers and many people over here would love to see wind farms being implimented. There are also large number of people that oppose wind turbines and simply don't want them. If this issue was put to a vote, whoever won, there would still be unhappy people. Which means that one set of views ultimately becomes unimportant because it still has to be what the majority wants.

    Yes our opinions matter more to us than everyone getting an equal say but there's no way to impliment it and you certainly can't please everyone with any system.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I largely agree, democracy has failed. It does not stop tyrants, it creates huge inefficiency of government where politicians pander to the common man and his weekly change of political stance as directed by the media, this means there isn't any tough solutions to issues that we need. Also as government switches so often it is difficult for one set of policies to be as drastic as we need because there is the risk you will be out of government in 5 years and a new set of policies will come in. What this country really needs is a dictatorship which has limitations where the leader can be deposed should he go too far, something similar to Mussolini's Italy with the Fascist grand council.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Grape190190)
    I don't care all that much about whether or not a politically-ignorant plumber from Plymouth gets to vote. I do care what kind of public services he gets, and I do care whether his kid goes off to fight in Afghanistan or Darfur or nowhere, and I do care how money he gets to support his family with. Why? Because those have a real and quantifiable effect on his life, and getting to vote really doesn't.
    Yes, well, what gives anyone the right to make that decision about what's best for him and his life?

    Admittedly, democracy suffers from the same problem, but it does at least create a government which is broadly agreeable to most of the population. And of course, if most of the people want something different, they can change it by voting.

    Democracy is immeasurably better than any other system of government, which isn't accountable to the public will.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Let's take a vote and see if everybody else agrees. If they do, then we'll do something about this ruddy democracy lark.
    Offline

    13
    Ahh, the frustrations of youth. Seriously, democracy is what gives you a voice in how things happen, a small voice and an imperfectly heard one, but a voice nonetheless. The alternatives are that you have no voice and if the 'supreme leader' makes decisions you don't like then you have to bite your lip, because speaking out would mean your execution. There's a reason why societies of longevity and prosperity have made their way towards democracy - all the other options thusfar have been flawed enough to generate change.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I agree with everything you have said OP and I'm glad someone is sharing an intelligent view on this "democracy".

    We don't even have proportional representation which would, in bare essence, be democracy.

    Well, at least we're more democratic than America, even if they say otherwise lol
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    I think he's a pretty good member actually.
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    voters are stupid news at 11
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    2. It's not like we have a real democracy, anyway.
    &
    5. Discarding democracy would allow us to to be governed by the most intelligent and the most skilled from a wide cross section of society.


    If we are only really voting between a distinguished few, and have no direct authority over decisions of government (2), the only change achieved through the implementation of (5) would be a serious sense of discontent and injustice amongst those not considered intelligent enough to form part of the governing 'elite'. Taking the (pseudo) power to vote away from individuals is not beneficiary.
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    its almost as if youre suggesting............ a vanguard party!!
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brussels sprouts
    Useful resources

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.