Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Democracy Works

"Now I will tell you the answer to my question. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake."
Nineteen Eighty-Four


How I think democracy works

Everyone votes for the candidate whose politics most closely match their own.
The candidate with the most votes in a particular region goes to Parliament.
Parliament as a whole -- consisting of many members from many different parties with many different points of view -- represents "the people" who also belong to many different parties and have many different points of view.
The many different MPs debate taxes and wars and duck houses from their various points of view, and then take a vote. Whatever the majority of MPs vote for become the Law. 

How Harriet Harman thinks democracy works.

Everyone votes for the candidate whose politics most closely match their own.
The candidate with the most votes in a particular region goes to parliament.
The party with the most seats in parliament is deemed to represent the will of of "the British people."
The opinions of those members of the British People who voted against the party with the most seats in parliament are disregarded.
It becomes the moral duty of candidates who were voted in by members of the minority party to pretend that they support the majority party because the majority party, by virtue of being the majority party, represents the will of the whole of the British people, and to vote against them would be "undemocratic". 
It is clear that the whole idea of representative democracy is a terrible mistake. It would be better to dispense with constituencies altogether, and to give which ever party secures the plurality of votes 100% of parliamentary seats, presumably picked off a party list.
Indeed, the whole idea of "parliament" is a terrible mistake: it would be better to dispense with MPs altogether and simply elect a President, with absolute dictatorial powers, for a term of 5 years.
Possibly, in fact, the whole idea of "representatives" is a terrible mistake and we should simply vote for a programme which Civil Servants would then carry out unquestioningly until the next election.
(This is extremely close to how Mr Tony Blair did, in fact govern: I don't need to listen too much to Parliament, because people voted for ME to Prime Minister; I don't need to to listen to criticism of my programme, because The People voted for The Pledges which were in The Manifesto and therefore whatever was in the Manifesto is the People's Will and it would be undemocratic of me to do anything else. The idea may be that Labour wants to treat the Tories as elected dictators in a one party state because they intend to behave like elected dictators in a one party state when they get back into power in 2025 or 2030.)

What Harriet Harman thinks happened at the 2015 election.

Harriet Harman thinks that the 2015 was a disaster for the Labour Party. She thinks that The People rejected the Labour Party on such a scale that the only sensible thing to do is to stop being the Labour Party and become something else instead.

What I think happened in the 2015 election

I think that the 2015 election was a Damn Close Thing.
I think that 37% of those of us who voted voted Tory; 30% of those of us who voted voted Labour and 33% of those of us who voted voted Something Else.
I think that 25% of us voted Tory, 20% of us voted Labour, another 20% voted for Something Else and 35% of us didn't bother to vote at all.
According to our crazy election system, that means that 51% of MPs are Tories; 36% of MPs are Labour and  13% are Something Else. But that still means that the Tories have only got a slender majority. Members of Parliament do occasionally vote against their party, or call in sick, or get stuck in traffic, so every single debate and vote ought to be regarded as a Damn Close Thing. 

What I think the point of the Opposition is.

I think the point of the Opposition is to oppose.

What Harriet Harman thinks the point of the Opposition is.

I don't know.









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