Is Democracy Failing The People?
In one, maybe two, maybe 7 days time a government will be sworn in which reflects the number of votes cast by the people on June 8th………except it will not be reflective of the democratic process. The government will be Tory MPs plus 10 members of the DUP – a government no one voted for. We are reminded constantly by our representatives in Parliament that our democracy is solid, that it provides ‘strong and stable’ governance, that our votes have contributed to the Parliament we wanted. Democracy is letting us all down, it does not produce the legitimacy and stability we have been promised. In fact the system has exposed and deepened our social divides. We are left perilously vulnerable at just the time we need at this critical moment in our history. Not a single person voted for us to be led by a ‘dead woman walking’ Prime Minister forced to do grubby deals with a grubby party, which garnered a mere 250,000 votes (half the number of the Green Party who only have one MP), to get even the least offensive policies through Parliament. Whilst it true that turnout rose in this election, in no small part to the re-engagement of young people in the democratic process. However one third of Britain’s eligible voters still did not believe they had a vested interest in visiting a polling booth. Moreover in 9 out of 10 of the 650 constituencies the winning party did not change and many of them will never change. That is less a democracy, more an old boys (mainly) club for MPs clinging to their power like a small child clings to it’s mother. Last week the result was widely referred to as ‘unexpected’ but for the vast majority of voters it would seem maintaining the status quo was their preferred option. For democracy to thrive the voters must cherish and love the system, believing that it produces results which all can agree with, whether or not they voted for the ruling party. However, up and down the country people are complaining that their voice is not being heard, that the ruling elite are so far distanced from the ordinary man or woman they could be described as ‘in another universe’. Power has steadily shifted to international institutions and global corporations causing a democratic deficit not just in Britain but across democratic countries worldwide. The UK Parliament is now in hoc to a party 99.4% did not vote for. How does that shore up faith in our system? What do we say to the young? That yes your vote was meaningful but sorry it has made little or no difference to how politics is conducted? The differences between communities are no longer just left versus right, it is young against old, North versus South, nationalism versus globalism. We need to rethink democracy to bring everyone together in a consensus of right (as in correct, not right-wing) thinking people, protecting the vulnerable, providing opportunities for everyone, especially the young, fairness in distribution of wealth, and a forum where ordinary people’s views are sought and acted upon…..effectively what we need is a Labour government.