So spoke Daniel Hannan in a debate on 17th May 2011, a debate entitled "Germany no longer needs Europe, the dream is over". Yet that is precisely what our present form of democrcy in this country permits us - no more, no less - and one with which Hannan, with his cohort Carswell, would wish us to continue with their ideas set out in 'The Plan'. Even Ukip, a party that believes and has in its name the word 'Independence' is party to the continuance of the premise the people should be governed, albeit allowing referendums
Regular readers will know that of late I have been 'banging-on' about what I call a participatory form of democracy and this is a subject I first raised on 18th May 2010, following the formation of the Coalition. Unfortunately at the time it attracted no comments. From that post a few extracts:
"Initially, let us consider the form of democracy under which we now live - what may be called 'representative' or indirect, democracy. It works like this: every four or five years political parties present to their electorate a complicated list of proposals, called a manifesto. This document contains some items we like and also some we don't like - and those proposals are worded in such a loose 'form' as to be virtually worthless - yet we are forced to choose one party over others........
The present British Parliament is an odd body in that it claims 'legislative surpremacy' when it suits it, yet is supposed to be subservient to the people. In fact the only time Parliament accepts subordination to the people is when it comes to the people for the people to exercise their periodic right to choose a new parliament. In the intervening periods it practices what I have in the past termed 'democratised dictatorship', in that Parliament decides what laws will be passed, often bearing no relation to those proposed in the governing party's manifesto including some laws that were not even mentioned........
'Representative' democracy, it can be argued, is bad both for the elected representatives and their electorate. Elected representatives only too often conceal from the electorate what they are doing with their power and become corrupted by that power - witness the last New Labour government 'gerrymandering' by allowing in unlimited immigration on the assumption that most immigrants will vote for them; and the new Liberal Conservative government attempting to change the rules by which Parliament can be dissolved, neither of which two 'ploys' were contained in their respective manifestos. Witness also the corruption of those Members of Parliament who 'twisted' and 'bent' the rules governing their expenses and in so doing made capital gains in the property markets by means of what is generally accepted as 'misuse of taxpayer's money'. For the electorate, it means they become 'divorced' from democracy with no means of questioning and correcting their elected representatives behaviour and decisions. Because Parliament only subordinates itself to the will of the electorate every four or five years, in between times the electorate grows increasing cynical and disinterested in politics.
So what is the alternative to 'representative', or indirect, democracy? The answer, quite simply, is to take the 'in' out and consider 'direct' democracy. Direct democracy uses referendum and 'initiatives' to supply direct democracy. A true referendum or initiative is one which is put to the voters whether the government of the day wants it or not and it is through this means that the people control the government and negates the situation, as at present, whereby the government controls the people. The big difference between indirect and direct democracy is that the voters do not merely vote every few years to elect a Prime Minister and government and then leave it to them to decide their future, until they have the next opportunity. Under direct democracy there is still a Prime Minister and government, however at any given moment voters who have collected the requisite support can insist that a law proposed by the government, or elected representatives, be submitted to the electorate for judgement in a referendum. By utilising the 'initiative' aspect of direct democracy it is even possible for the electorate to submit proposals for a new law, one that may not appeal to the government or even appear in their manifesto. By both referendum and initiative the electorate stay in command of politics between elections and not just on a once-every-x-years basis. Direct democracy also encourages participation in politics by the electorate and thereby negates the apathy all to prevalent today.
To those sceptics that say direct democracy would never work and that people don't want it, one has to ask how the sceptics know that. It has never been put to the electorate; it is debatable whether the electorate even know another method of democracy exists...."
Let us consider three basic facts on which democracy is based.
1. Political authority is derived from the people - government only exists with the consent of the people.
2. 'Rights' are not granted to the people by government - 'Rights' already belong to the people from the moment of their birth.
3. The people have the sole and exclusive right and power to govern themselves in any area not delegated to their government. (Note the words 'not delegated to their government')
Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison warned that if governments ever became the sole and exclusive arbiter of the extent of its own power then that power would continuously grow - regardless of elections or separation of power.
Decade after decade, we the people have been voting one lot of politicians out in the hope that a new lot will be different and yet decade after decade government's powers continue to grow and the people's liberties continue to diminish. It doesn't matter who has been Prime Minister or what political party has been in government the growth of powers assumed by government has continued.
Here's a thought, perhaps we, the people, should write a manifesto for the country and then see which of the political parties were prepared to honour and enact it in full. Those parties that did not feel able to meet the required criteria then need not put up a candidate, thus saving themselves one shed load of money - and us the problem of listening to a load of meaningless crap! Consider this - when was the last time any Member of Parliament, or Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, actually asked you, as one of their constituents, what you wished to see in their manifesto? No? I thought not - they are too busy telling us what their party will decide we will be allowed to do.
And therein, dear reader, lies all the arguments why a change is required to our system of democracy; why the Albion Alliance is undertaking the initiative that it is; why membership of the European Union is not in this country's best interests; and why we presently live under a form of 'periodically renewed' dictatorship - albeit one supposedly democratised.