Tuesday 29 May 2007

Which do You Want? Political Parties? Or Democracy?

I was debating over the weekend with a friend on the incompatibility of the party system with true democracy, or even what we theoretically have, representative democracy. On the basis of the poll I ran on this site, many of you feel that way.
Sadly, 45% of you still think your crosses on your ballot paper are more than just an endorsement.

The party system means, by and large, Members of Parliament, are accountable to their whips, not their constituents.

Put bluntly, The Labour Member for Rhondda is unlikely to lose the Rhondda because he votes for a goverment measure which cripples the local economy.

He is more likely to lose his seat, because he is disowned by the Labour Party for voting with his conscience, by voting against the government too much.

And those of you who incline to the other side need not nod so wisely either, the same goes for the Tory member for Chelsea, when the Tories are in.

The party system streamlines voters to vote in blocks. People do not vote for the best person to represent them in the debating chamber of the nation, they endorse an organisation to rule them.

If MPs were reliant on their constituents for the livelihoods and not a party machine, much sinister legislation in recent years could not have been passed.

The latest Criminal Justice Act is a prime example. It is an APPALLING piece of Fascism. It introduces 'indeterminate' sentences, which means life sentences they don't want to call life sentences because it would horrify people to find out that these sentences can now be imposed for such a range of offences.
And that's just the start of it.

The Right to Silence. Double Jeopardy.
Things that appear in the MAGNA CARTA.
Things even medieval barons thought were basic rights.
Abolished by a democratic legislature?

Would a democratic legislature endorse the expanse in bureacracy, the waste of GNP in increased regulation, the ban on smoking?

Would it have accepted the Weapons of Mass Destruction tales so lightly?

It is right that an Executive should propose and initiate legislation.

It is undemocratic that an organisation of any kind can co-ordinate both the executive, and the supposed representatives of the people who debate such things.

Of course, getting rid of parties would mean people actually had to THINK a bit more about the INDIVIDUAL they voted for, and not just look for the picture on the ballot paper.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post, but the thing that first came to my mind is this... every dictator that wants to take power firstly does one thing... eliminate political parties.

political parties at least guarantee a strong opposition.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps in the past. our new dictators are doing it from inside a political party.

Things change.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments on this, I'm just reading about trust and politics, which goes in cycles as among political parties. Labour is down on its luck now, will these wheels keep turning the same way?

Anonymous said...

the strangest thing is that increasingly people in this country ignore the laws.....the sense of legitimacy of laws has left us....

Anonymous said...

You mean the picture that my brothers used to draw on their ballot paper..the mickey muse cartoon...nope, I didn't think so.LOL
Interesting post there.

Anonymous said...

David, how useful has this 'opposition' been over the last ten years?
It makes noise, but can't stop a government passing legislation

Bag- I agree.

Ellee- I think people are cynical about all of them. All they see is spin and branding.

Mutley- Most of the laws people ignore would probably have been repealed if the House of Commons actually responded to the popular will.

Cazzie- Most people don't even bother to find out the name of the candidate they vote for. They just look for the symbol on the ballot paper.

Anonymous said...

" David, how useful has this 'opposition' been over the last ten years?
It makes noise, but can't stop a government passing legislation"

That's not the parties fault, that's the voters.

Anonymous said...

My Lord, In the UK the opposition , called the shadow, is made up of the losers. The party who actually came second. They are effectively powerlessu unless they can convince the third and so on parties plus some of the winners group to rebel. With the current bunch of spineless politicians with a large majority it is next to impossible on key issues when they are told to follow the party line. In addition this useless lot in opposition are so similar there is no difference in reality bar the name.

So you are right when you say it is the voters fault but in reality it is more to do with political situation in the UK. It doesn't look much different in the US either.

Anonymous said...

The biggestcrime that Blair has committed against this country is give the opportunity for the conservatives to regain power, which they had for far too long in this country. However, as Blair was more conservative than the bloody conservatives, maybe new conservative will be labour ?
Draconian country when , to begin wiht, HUman Rights did not come into effect until 1998 ( IMAGINE!)and Blair wanted to do it away with it, as unnecessary?
I'm going to live in Iraq! I hear they have true democracy over there.

Anonymous said...

Nice dream, getting rid of parties. I agree with most of what you say here. I gave up belonging to political parties long ago as I can't agree with any for long enough. When in the UK I used to vote for the person I thought would be the best constituency MP.

Anonymous said...


I didn't say it was better in the US, and in fact I hate political parties (see here for my plan on government)

But it is the voter's fault for not making the losers the winners. Not that the losers (shadows) don't have power. They don't have power because they Lost.. hence voter fault.