Monday, 24 November 2014

Can there be democracy without politicians?

Dan Ware like Gillian Duffy is destined for long memory. Of all the hundreds of yesterday's column inches devoted to how Labour / the Tories / UKIP were fighting for Dan's vote, only one column actually got it right. Dan doesn't vote. He was ignoring the election. Dan is part of the majority of the UK electorate who decline to participate in returning politicians to Westminster or elsewhere, on the grounds that "It doesn't matter who you vote for, the same buggers always get in". 

Janet Daley in the Telegraph has a pretty good understanding of it all. The Dans of this world - many millions of people in the UK -  work, deal in cash a lot, look after themselves and their families and are resentful of Labour's forced equality, Tory toff privilege and the wastrels of the LibDems. And they really don't like politicians. All the party election material that drops through their letter boxes goes straight into the recycling bin, unread. They don't know who their MP is (unless, rarely, he's a 'good bloke' ) and really don't care.

Politicians are creatures of such narcissism and vanity that it is taking them an inordinate amount of time to admit that most people don't want them. They used to ascribe the non-voting of 65% of their constituents as 'apathy' before mobile phones, the internet and social media made it quite clear that people weren't at all apathetic. Now they admit coyly that 'there is a worldwide dissatisfaction with politics' without actually facing the truth that there is actually a deep global rejection of politicians.

We are clearly in transition and our old democratic systems are liable to change. The most fundamental question at the head of the agenda is can we have democracy without politicians? Or, like gut bacteria, are politicians a mildly unpleasant but necessary part of our democratic health? I don't know the answer, but I suspect as we inch towards 2015 that the question won't go away.

23 comments:

right_writes said...

I don't think that you can have a democracy without politicians...

What you might be able to control though, is the quality. For instance, in Switzerland, the politicians all have the equivalent of a PPE, you can't be a politician unless you have done it. You probably have to go to politician school!

But Swiss politicians are different, they sit in permanent coalition, the president is elected on an annual basis from the current cabinet.

Their job is to run the country and this they do. However, they are "guided" by the people, who have a couple of extra tricks up their sleevies...

They have the ability to hold those politicians to account through their system of triggering referendums or popular initiatives.

What the Swiss have done is get the best from their politicians, whilst limiting their ability to go all ideological on the voting peeps.

oldrightie said...

I think I want to live in Switzerland.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The trouble with politicians is they want EVERYTHING to be political, and normal people just don't think that way. For example, you hear them pontificate about football, or twitter on anxiously about whether the directors of private companies are the right sex or colour. The clue's in the name -private. It's none of their fucking business. They don't seem to get it that most of us just want the government to secure the borders, keep the peace and empty the bins. Otherwise i don't wish to see them or hear from them.

Nigel said...

I would only ever vote for Lord Vetinari

Bloke In Italy said...

I like your gut bacteria analogy.

As long as they are doing something necessary and not causing me any unnecessary pain, then they get to stay and do their stuff.

If not... they end up down the pan.

I love it!

right_writes said...

Well said Mr. Weetabix.

Mike Spilligan said...

In Switzerland almost everything is run by the Cantons and I think I'm correct in saying that only the military, the railways and possibly the police are Federal entities; and that gives the Swiss - both the citizens and the institutions much more flexibility.
SW is correct again on the matter of politicians' enthusiasm for getting involved in "everything" - because they think it gives them another opportunity to be "popular". It's only months ago that we had elections for Crime Commissioners and although a few well-known individuals were "elected" on an Independent ticket, the majority had attached themselves to a Legacy Party - at the instigation of the Tories, I believe. The result was an historically low turnout and another opportunity for the pols to wonder why. I was an enthusiastic paper-spoiler - NOTA - and in my view there should have been a threshold below which the elections - area by area - were voided.

Ed P said...

As our lot will never accept reduced powers, how did the Swiss achieve their system of restraints?
There must be intermediate stages in moving from our present mess to their balanced system, so let's follow them!

Mr Ecks said...


You can have freedom without politicians and that will do for me.

Cascadian said...

Sebastian Weetabix

The problem with your politicians (and their diminishing electorate) is that they are incapable of the three functions you would wish them to achieve-secure the borders, keep the peace and empty the bins. The politicians do not receive adequate or frequent appraisal of their abilities as normal employees do, nor are their numbers culled if the financial situation deteriorates. So they believe their actions are approved and move into areas that properly should be conducted by private citizens exclusively.

Until the private citizens DEMAND that those three functions are done competently and efficiently, the politicians will deem it sufficient to do the same shitty job of everything they touch.

I cite only one recent example-camorons pledge to reduce immigration to a flow of tens of thousands/year, which of course was utterly deluded but that is the measure of the moron.

Budgie said...

The reason why politicians get involved in "everything" is socialism (or statism). It's whole raison d'etre is to politicise everything. Whilst there is the symptom of half the voters supporting Labour, and Labour (socialists) convinced they are nice and all the others nasty, there will always be politicians determined to get involved in everything. And that includes the unelected EU kleptocracy.

The only way to reduce politicians' influence is to leave the EU and institute national direct democracy. But the semi-socialists in the LibDems and Tory parties, and in the EU, want to cling to their power and their corruption just as much as Labour politicians.

However don't forget that being a politician is the second oldest profession - we have never been rid of them. And, just as sobering, as I used to argue with the Internazis (now the Socialist Workers), in a real revolution real people really get killed.

Anonymous said...

Democracy has been doomed ever since 51% of the electorate realized they can write the cheques. Only those who contribute financially to the government by way of taxes should be allowed a vote with a maximum of two terms for politicians and then at least two terms out.

Anonymous said...

Radders - here's your next post; just Google "Blair" and "Save The Children".

Lights blue touch-paper; retires to safe distance...

Coney Island

Anonymous said...

I doubt if this question would arise if we still had men of honour and intellect in the Commons. Men like Atlee, for his honour, and Churchill, for his intellect.

Many of today's MP's are like a cross between Denis MacShane, Ken Clarke and Neil Kinnock.

We could exist as a nation state with a only civil service - no ideologues or money grubbers allowed. Making the Economy Fit the People is the only sound way to run a country, in the medium to long term. Break with that; get pissed on immigrants and, signing every treaty and agreement, for short term gain and you destroy goose.

Overpopulation has and will impoverish millions. Biodiversity gets hammered and before you know it you're living in a two-dimensional society covered over by a grey sky with no birds.

I hate politicians.

Steve

Anonymous said...

you let women vote. It was downhill after that.
Oestrogen causes mass hysteria and mob rule.

Anonymous said...

Quite right, only those who pay taxes are entitled to vote.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"most of us just want the government to secure the borders, keep the peace and empty the bins."

Hear! Hear!

I actually said this once to a local authority campaigner who came to the door and said what do you want from your local council, or some such idiocy. My reply "sweep the streets, mend the potholes, take away the rubbish, and otherwise stay out of our lives" seemed to take her somewhat aback.

They don't get it. Perhaps they never will.

G. Tingey said...

Budgie
NO
Nothing at all to do with "socilaism" or "statism" - just an overweening need to interfere ... & the rioght wing, especially the religious right are just as bad ( at least) as those on the left.
I find myself agreeing with Mike Spilligan - think about Camoron refusing local powers for England or the Metropolitan authorities, the tosser! [ He STILL doesn't "get it", does he? ]
However, IF the issue is important enough, people will come out & vote - the key two words that show this are: "Scottish Referendum"

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I think it was Mussolini who said "everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state"

Our present "liberal" politicians seem to be in accordance with that, be they tory. Labour or libdem.

G. Tingey said...

SW
Yes, corporate fascism, correct ... & in the case you referred to, enthusiastically backed by the RC hierarchy & pope "Pius", of course.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Oh, ffs. Here we go again. Fuck off, you ignorant stupid bigoted windbag. Don't be a cunt all your worthless life.

G. Tingey said...

SW
Got no better response than abuse?
If only because the facts suggest (shall we say) that the various popes "pius" ( XI & XII, actually) & even more the RC heirarchy supported fascism?
START HERE:
http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm
And scroll down the utterly disgusting photographs.

Anonymous said...

Democracy is a concept that relies on a few trusted people to work full time to manage the macros that the rest of us can operate in. This is a trust based system. Sadly that trust has been squandered by politicians who no longer act for the majorities they 'represent'. Instead they use the corridors of power to feather their own nests and we the public have had enough. The rise of UKIP is but one symptom of a moral backlash.