Making democracy work

Whale Oil blogs about The Beige Dictatorship:

I think representative democracy is flawed.

We see this with political parties under MMP. We voted in MMP and threw out FPP, I didn’t but you know what I mean, precisely because people felt that they had lost control of the political process and it no longer represented them. What we got was just more of the same, but now it is even harder to get rid of dud politicians.The political parties have got more powerful not less. But not all of the political party…witness the troubles that Labour is now facing where the parliamentary wing are ignoring the wishes of the membership.

Mark my words, in coming years there will be increasing calls for state funding of political parties…that way the party hierarchy can maintain power over the system without having the annoyance of having to appeal to a mass membership.

There’s a simple reason for all of this – we keep leaving it to politicians to give us better democracy. They are mainly interested in giving themselves more power and they use and abuse democracy accordingly. The electoral rules get decided by politicians, Parties find ways of taking advantage of them, for funding, for self promotion, for election – and they have now even hijacked Citizen Initated Referenda process (that was useless for citizens anyway).

Don’t expect the MMP review and the constitutional review to make much difference.

And I think there is a simple remedy. People who want more democracy and better democratic processes need to do it themselves, not through the politicians but despite the politicians.

I have ideas for how this can be done, a two level approach. The first level is a democratically run people’s lobby group, the second level is a means of guaging public opinion on important issues.

The best way to make democracy work is to make it work, don’t expect politicians to do it on their own.

I don’t want to be too specific because I invite other ideas and opinions. Who’s interested in being involved?


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