Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Kellner damns Referism

Many thanks to yokel for the link - full text of Kellner's lecture at Reuters Institute HERE 

To follow from the post below, Kellner presents a case with which I strongly disagree yet his lecture is worth reading in full. Succinctly, he says that public opinion is pants and direct democracy is a bad idea, that we should leave things up to elected politicians, who need to engage better with us. He would ban all popular referenda on anything at all, and reinforce MPs' role as representatives rather than the delegates that voters now expect. He says;
The result is a dangerous expectations gap, with voters demanding more than modern governments can deliver. I believe this is one of the underlying reasons for some of the bleak polling results I have reported this evening – and for the growing sense that politics is failing, which feeds the growing appetite for referendums. Even had MPs always been modest in their election promises and honest in their expenses claims, most voters would sit somewhere on the line between disappointment and despair. Far greater and more candid engagement with voters is vital if we are to stand any chance of bridging the expectations gap.
Kellner puts his faith in Burke's dictum;
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
And argues that it stands the test of time, if we can only come to love our politicians a little more. He rather snidely inserts the suggestion and leaves it hanging that referenda are the tool of the fascist and right-wing extremist, and that they would give the UK paedo lynch mobs in a country deserted by all entrepreneurs earning over £1m a year. He also grudgingly admits a referendum could see us out of the EU. 

A useful and informed lecture, that sets out the ideological battle lines between paternalistic Socialism and direct democracy. 

Philip Johnston's take on Kellner's lecture is in the Telegraph, HERE

7 comments:

Edward Spalton said...

He's got a bloody cheek, hasn't he? Membership of the EU completely prevents
MPs behaving as representatives in Burke's sense. They can only pretend to be representatives when they are marionettes, dancing to Brussels' tune and obediently enacting every Directive for the greater glorification of the appalling "high representative" in Brussels.

He also overlooks the fact that the patronage and discipline of modern political parties means that candidates surrender their consciences before they become MPs.

So they are "representatives" but of the party which permits them use of their brand and logo and of the EU institutions to which the parties have surrendered.

DeeDee99 said...

This is just a desperate appeal to maintain the status quo.

MPs don't represent the opinions of their voters; they are now selected by Central office in order to identify those who will support the Party elite. Between elections, they are largely invisible to voters in their constituencies.

There is a patronising 'the elite know best' assumption behind this, when quite clearly they don't. The elite have shackled us to the EU which is a declining trade bloc; the elite took us into the Iraq war; the elite forced through the HRA with all its consequences for our security.

The 'elite' don't know best. The wisdom of the crowd, in a sceptical and savvy UK, is far more reliable.

Henry Crun said...

Kellner would say that wouldn't he. His missus is suckling at the teat of the EU project, so of course referenda and the political will of the people is considered worthless.

With Kellner in charge, is it any wonder that the YouGov polls aren't worth the paper you wipe your arse on?

G. Tingey said...

OK let's go back to burning witches, shall we?

right_writes said...

Good comments Raedwald…

I do wish people like Kellner would stop equating/juxtaposing "fascism" with the "right wing" though, there is no relationship between the two philosophies.

As Henry Crun points out above though, there is a truly unhealthy relationship between leftie journos' and the fascist establishment.

Anonymous said...

We still need a man on 'a grassy knoll'- from time to time.

outsider said...

I recall Peter Kellner when he was a raw anti-capitalist,now an establishment Guardianista millionaire. How unlike Sir Bob Worcester of MORI, whose personal politics I could never discern. Peter is a very intelligent and able man but his heart is in the wrong place, as this lecture illustrates.