Democracy

Use this board for general non-cycling-related chat, or to introduce yourself to the forum.
Oldjohnw
Posts: 5317
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Democracy

Postby Oldjohnw » 30 Jan 2020, 10:05am

It gives me no pleasure write this but I felt it was a scandal that in 2015 and 2017 UKIP did not get representation in parliament. That would not have threatened democracy: I imagine their very limited focus would have made them lousy MPs.
John

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 3405
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: Democracy

Postby Cugel » 30 Jan 2020, 10:09am

pwa wrote:
Cugel wrote:
Democracy of many forms often gives us popular governments. They are often popular because of their nasty policies towards various "others", pariahs and scapegoats. And we've seen what a referendum can do.

Cugel

Is this just an observation or is it suggesting that democracy is finished and some alternative to democracy is needed? Or is it an suggesting that a popular government is a bad thing?

I'm wondering if my image of Cugel living an eco lifestyle in West Wales is in fact a fiction, and what we have here is an infiltrator based in Beijing and trying to steer us round to appreciating the Chinese way of governing. :lol:

But seriously, Cugel, don't you think the government of any nation ought to strive for widespread contentment with its policies? I'm not as sceptical as you, in that I think if we had a Parliamentary candidate here in my area who was racist or homophobic, he or she would lose support because of it. That sort of thing doesn't work with the electorate any more. Not here anyway. Most voters are better than that.


There have been and perhaps still are islands of polity that are well-formed, practical and inducing of "widespread contentment". But a wider view of many human histories reveals these polities to be generally small and short-lived. Once we are content we become restless, since discontent is something of a mental drug loved by most humans. The discontents can be generated out of the smallest thing, especially when we're so well-off we don't realise the consequences or have become bored with the ambrosia and nectar every day.

Humans are flawed - all of us. This wouldn't matter so much if we didn't have technologies of a kind able to vastly amplify our flaws and their damaging effects on ourselves, others and the world in general. A spat and a huff in a small club of humans can be got over and folk eventually reconciled. Scale the spats and huffs up then give us all a huge right arm with a sword to interact with those we disagree with and reconciliation is no longer possible. Give us a horde of luxuries and privileges to defend too and that's the end of any chance of "widespread contentment".

Cugel, slid into cynicism now.

User avatar
661-Pete
Posts: 9811
Joined: 22 Nov 2012, 8:45pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Democracy

Postby 661-Pete » 30 Jan 2020, 10:19am

Oldjohnw wrote:It gives me no pleasure write this but I felt it was a scandal that in 2015 and 2017 UKIP did not get representation in parliament. That would not have threatened democracy: I imagine their very limited focus would have made them lousy MPs.
I also find this depressing, but you may be right, there. For a while, you may remember, we had two unelected kipper MPs - defectors from the Tories - both in the South-East. They had little or no influence on Government policy. But did they play a part in swaying the electorate - elsewhere in the country?
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

Tangled Metal
Posts: 7311
Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Tangled Metal » 30 Jan 2020, 10:55am

PR gives smaller parties a role. That gives their voters a sense of contributing. Does it give them more power? Depends on how good their negotiation skills are I guess post election. How much over a barrel they can get the larger party.

As to whether it's good to have smaller parties gain in political power is down to personal politics and the politics of the party concerned.

Examples given above were EDL and the green party. The poster was against the first but pro second. Politics pure and simple. I'm against EDL completely 100% against. Not least because of their excesses in terms of racist tendencies. I'm also against the green party because I take the view that they are not a responsible party due to some of their excesses wrt impractical policies. I'm possibly about 66% against them so if a larger party forms a coalition that tempers the more extreme policies and tendencies of the green party then that's the great possibility of PR and consensus politics.

So imho pr has its problems but potential for more benefits is greater than for FPTP in my opinion.

The biggest benefit might be smaller big parties as supporters leave to form new parties that could represent different sections of society. Basically giving small parties an outlet in a coalition government encourages new parties. Perhaps ERG would have left the Tories or Corbyn and his cronies have left labour many years before they got power in their parties. They would still have contributed possibly in coalition but the potential for tempering them would exist in coalition negotiations. Just an idea.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 5317
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Democracy

Postby Oldjohnw » 30 Jan 2020, 4:42pm

I was reflecting earlier that, in 50 years of voting, whilst I've had the MP of choice a number of times, I've never had the government of choice.

Sadly, it ain't ever gonna happen now, either.
John

reohn2
Posts: 40137
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Democracy

Postby reohn2 » 30 Jan 2020, 5:22pm

Cugel wrote:
You must read "Reflections on The Revolution in France" by E. Burke and reconsider. Or perhaps peruse the histories of various large revolutions since the French one, such as those in China, Russia and various South American nations. Or how about that in the USA? All of them end in one sort of disaster or another. It's, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss". In fact often much, much worse than the old boss.

What do you suggest
PS' revolutions needn't be violent.

The problem is humans and their nature. Mother Nature will eventually deal with this problem, in a probably draconian fashion.

Tell me something I don't know,meanwhile......
No human-wrought fix to political problems will do any actual fixing other than the sort practiced by spivs and conmen.

Cugel

We can improve on the present s***show shurely?
-----------------------------------------------------------

Oldjohnw
Posts: 5317
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Democracy

Postby Oldjohnw » 30 Jan 2020, 6:01pm

We can improve on the present s***show shurely?


We could do something with our voting system.. But Johnson won't do it because he got there securely with FPTP. And only he could do anything.
John

reohn2
Posts: 40137
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Democracy

Postby reohn2 » 30 Jan 2020, 6:15pm

Oldjohnw wrote:
We can improve on the present s***show shurely?


We could do something with our voting system.. But Johnson won't do it because he got there securely with FPTP. And only he could do anything.

Quite!
-----------------------------------------------------------

Carlton green
Posts: 933
Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Carlton green » 31 Jan 2020, 12:27am

Oldjohnw wrote:
We can improve on the present s***show shurely?


We could do something with our voting system.. But Johnson won't do it because he got there securely with FPTP. And only he could do anything.


That would all depend upon the length of his term left and the likelihood of him winning a majority in the next election. If you were going to loose then it would be in your interest to pass PR legislation that enabled you to retain as many ‘seats’ as possible and to disadvantage the ‘opposition’. Force your successor to have a (tempering) coalition government and reduce what they can do by depriving them of an overall majority.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 5317
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Democracy

Postby Oldjohnw » 31 Jan 2020, 3:22am

Carlton green wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:
We can improve on the present s***show shurely?


We could do something with our voting system.. But Johnson won't do it because he got there securely with FPTP. And only he could do anything.


That would all depend upon the length of his term left and the likelihood of him winning a majority in the next election. If you were going to loose then it would be in your interest to pass PR legislation that enabled you to retain as many ‘seats’ as possible and to disadvantage the ‘opposition’. Force your successor to have a (tempering) coalition government and reduce what they can do by depriving them of an overall majority.


Unfortunately, Johnson plans to repeal the fixed term parliament act so Johnson will be able to have the next election at a time of his choosing.
John

User avatar
661-Pete
Posts: 9811
Joined: 22 Nov 2012, 8:45pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Democracy

Postby 661-Pete » 31 Jan 2020, 9:07am

Another question. Are "Vox Pops" a form of "democracy"? The media, the Beeb especially, seem to have been relying on them quite a lot in the past few years - heavily edited and redacted, no doubt - and the majority of opinions expressed on air seem to have been strongly pro-brex**it. Are they representative of the "voice of the people"? Reminds me of the boy singing Tomorrow Belongs to Me in the film Cabaret. Was he expressing public opinion as of that time? The people surrounding him in the cafe seem to think so... (with a couple of notable exceptions).
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

Carlton green
Posts: 933
Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Carlton green » 31 Jan 2020, 9:32am

Oldjohnw wrote:
Carlton green wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:
We could do something with our voting system.. But Johnson won't do it because he got there securely with FPTP. And only he could do anything.


That would all depend upon the length of his term left and the likelihood of him winning a majority in the next election. If you were going to loose then it would be in your interest to pass PR legislation that enabled you to retain as many ‘seats’ as possible and to disadvantage the ‘opposition’. Force your successor to have a (tempering) coalition government and reduce what they can do by depriving them of an overall majority.


Unfortunately, Johnson plans to repeal the fixed term parliament act so Johnson will be able to have the next election at a time of his choosing.


In that it hasn’t worked that way in the past I don’t think that Johnson or whoever is the PM in future years will always be able to call an election at the time of their choosing. Ultimately Parliaments ‘time out’ and when both faced with that situation and unlikely to be re-elected then Parliaments do pass legislation that will likely favour them in the future.

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 3405
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: Democracy

Postby Cugel » 31 Jan 2020, 10:09am

661-Pete wrote:Another question. Are "Vox Pops" a form of "democracy"? The media, the Beeb especially, seem to have been relying on them quite a lot in the past few years - heavily edited and redacted, no doubt - and the majority of opinions expressed on air seem to have been strongly pro-brex**it. Are they representative of the "voice of the people"? Reminds me of the boy singing Tomorrow Belongs to Me in the film Cabaret. Was he expressing public opinion as of that time? The people surrounding him in the cafe seem to think so... (with a couple of notable exceptions).


There is rarely any cohesive and singular national "we" with an alignment of all views, policy-wishes, attitudes or anything else in Britain. During a world war perhaps. There's a fundamental contradiction at the heart of nations which on the one hand claim to be representative-democratic but on the other hand claim to be composed of individuals. If the nation is full of self-defining individuals then it's unlikely to be a nation of any coherence other than that enforced by various rather undemocratic means. There are a hundred different views on any and everything, many of them mutually exclusive. Just read this forum to see this.

What means, then, do we have for retaining the edifice of the British nation-state? The FPTP electoral system; the massive propaganda organs; the laws and institutions that are highly favourable to a ruling class (e'g' property laws and the public school-Oxbridge system). Once it was "a series of policies and institutions that provided a opportunities and meaningful roles for all in society". That world is long gone.

Of course, our ruling class is something of a clan. They don't really believe in the nation-state either except as a vehicle to extend their power & privilege. Their Brexit moves have been a means to rid themselves of what they perceive to be a drag-anchor (the EU) on their means to ever more power and privilege. Paradoxically, their Brexit moves have also revealed the fragmentary condition of the British nation-state, wherein several elements now wish for their own version of Brexit. Or alternatively, a real nation-state for the benefit of everyone in it rather than a 1%.

More to the point, the now exposed fragmentation of the nation-state of Britain has become such that far more people are now disaffected from it. Many remainers, for example. And Scottish Nationalists Others are very desperate to retain something to which they can belong and will pretend 'til they're blue in the face that there is still a "we. the people". Many Brexiters, for example. And the sort of people who would like to practice ethnic cleansing until there is only a remnant of "like-minded people" or "people like us".

***
Myself I would prefer the nation-state to survive and prosper. I would prefer it to do so within a strengthening and supportive matrix like the EU. I would like it to be truly democratic (genuine and disinterested representation for all elements) and tolerant of wide differences. Yet less rights and more duties for all those "individuals". It would need to have a far better balance of power with far less privilege for a super-class intent on destruction of all opposition or control, at any cost (to others).

In practice, I believe we are heading down a slippery slope to national dissolution, full of "individuals" who will themselves become full of regrets as they come to realise just how much the nation-state supported every aspect of their self-indulgent lives. They may express their regrets by displacing it to the bullying (and worse) of those "not like us".

Cugel

Ben@Forest
Posts: 2561
Joined: 28 Jan 2013, 5:58pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Ben@Forest » 31 Jan 2020, 11:54am

Oldjohnw wrote:Unfortunately, Johnson plans to repeal the fixed term parliament act so Johnson will be able to have the next election at a time of his choosing.


Not necessarily unfortunately. The FTPA has serious deficiencies. And of course since its passing only one election has been fought under its terms, in 2015. Both the 2017 and 2019 elections had to bypass its provisions, which tells you it's not good legislation.

https://www.instituteforgovernment.org. ... -confusion

mercalia
Posts: 14465
Joined: 22 Sep 2013, 10:03pm
Location: london South

Re: Democracy

Postby mercalia » 31 Jan 2020, 4:37pm

In black and white from the BBC. We dont live in a democracy

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-51268688

Despite the Conservatives' election success, polls conducted during the campaign suggested - as they had done for the last two years - that there was a small but consistent majority in favour of remaining in the EU.

On average, the last half dozen polls before the election put Remain on 53% and Leave on 47%. According to these polls, most Remain (88%) and Leave voters (86%) would vote the same way as in the 2016 referendum. However, those who did not vote in 2016 back Remain by two to one (53% to 26%).


SO where is the democracy? What we have is an abuse of the term