Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “electoral reform”

The Crisis of Indirect Democracy and its Consequences

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…

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How long can Labour live divided?

This is the novelty of the current politics … the sheer fact of Labour’s divisions. It has become routine to castigate this as somehow irresponsible – disagreeing about ideas when you should be attacking the Tory government. It is not irresponsible. It is right for Labour to search for an identity it can coalesce around.
The Guardian, 7 December 2015 : Zoe Williams, The new politics is a myth – battles are good for Labour’s soul

But at some stage it has to be asked can these divisions be “healed” or are we talking about two parties? Say Democratic Socialists and some form of Centre-Left Party.

We have of course been here before. Read more…

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