Indirect democracy is a fragile child. In effect we say we (“democratically”) elect representatives to a body that then “does governing for us”. This is in stark contrast to direct democracy – which in its most extreme state has everybody having a vote on everything.
Parliaments should be shining examples of indirect democracy at work. They consist of “representatives”, not mandated delegates, who collectively form a body that should be recognised as “representative”. Their legitimacy depends, I believe, on three factors.
- Whether elections to the parliament are recognised as “free and fair”
- Whether the resulting parliament is recognised as “representative”
- Whether the parliament through its collective actions and the actions of its members retains the “respect of the people”.
In the UK, I think we are, to a degree, failing on all three of the above. Read more…