NOW let’s try to get this one straight…
‘Pro-democracy’ protestors are currently attacking the Prime Minister because they think he is being ‘undemocratic’ in suspending a Parliament in which some political parties are threatening to band together to make it impossible for them to implement a ‘democratic’ decision made by the electorate.
Confused? You should be because that doesn’t make the slightest sense.
However what the latest and most crucial crisis point in the Brexit battle in which Boris Johnson has successfully sought permission to suspend Parliament does do is raise an all-important question: what is democracy?
Look up most definitions and it will refer to a system of government with elected representatives but that’s merely what is has evolved into over the years.
Democracy, in its purest form, literally means ‘rule by the people’ – and that’s the democracy that needs protecting and fighting for.
The other form, the right of a government to make decisions after listening to its MPs, is at best debatable and at worst completely illusory.
The problem the general population has here is our conditioning.
We are continually told we live in a country that is ‘free and democratic’. That’s correct except for two important points. We are certainly not ‘free’ and there is very little democracy in the way our system works in practice.
Most of us know that decisions and policies are formed by a very small caucus of people – some elected, others not – and largely rubber stamped by Parliament.
How many of today’s protestors stand up and voice their disgust when votes are frog marched through Parliament not based on a free discussion but instead by a three-line whip. In other words, you will agree with our policy or you are likely to lose your job.
This is not democracy, or rule by the majority of the people. It is strangulation of our collective will by the very few.
In reality, a Government is elected by a tiny minority of the electorate.
In a typical General Election, we are asked to vote for a local MP in our own constituency. Around a third of the electorate – wisely in my view – decide not to vote at all.
Then a further 60 per cent of those who do vote back candidates from parties other than the one destined to achieve the most seats and form a government. That’s a statistical fact.
Even many of the government’s votes are also wasted and meaningless. If you voted for a Conservative in a constituency that didn’t return a Tory MP in 2017, for example, you didn’t contribute to their overall victory.
That leaves, at a generous estimate, about 20 per cent of the electorate voting for an MP who is part of the ruling party.
And the notion that MP is in the House of Commons to represent you and I is beyond ridiculous.
Yes, they might well set out with the intention of supporting their constituents but that is only when your view coincides with the policy of their party unless, of course, they happen to be independent.
Many a would-be government policy is redefined after consulting with unelected civil servants who tell them what can or can’t be done in practice.
And that’s not to mention lobby groups, rich donors and other shadowy figures who all have an input.
Remember also that MPs swear on oath not primarily to serve the country and its people but The Queen – and that can be a significant conflict of interests.
In summary, there is very little that can be genuinely considered to be democratic in this convoluted process.
Instead I would argue that genuine democracy was exercised on June 23, 2016, the date of the historic referendum.
The electorate was asked a simple enough question. ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’
That was democracy in its literal sense. You and I had no binding obligation to vote either way or vote at all. We could choose to listen to the politicians, businesspeople and other VIPs giving their views or we could choose to ignore them.
It was made clear from well before the actual voting day that the ‘rule of the people’ would be carried into effect.
This was democracy. What has happened in Parliament during the three years since is nothing of the sort.
Yes, some blur the lines by saying voting to leave was to give sovereignty back to our own Parliament – but that’s another red herring, in my view.
Sovereignty and democracy belong not to Her Majesty’s Government but to the people!
In contrast to the current protests, we should be celebrating the demise of Parliament, its game play and all its stuff and nonsense.
Brexit is a battle for democracy. Either we leave the European Union or democracy in Britain is dead in the water.
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