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Can Democracy Be Improved?

How should we be governed?

Is there a better way to govern than by democracy?

We are living in a period where democracy is being undermined and degraded.

The principle is government by the people for the people; in practice, it is based on elections where the majority of votes cast appoint a winner and they form a government with a limited period of time before the process is repeated.

This worthy objective is being dragged down by a combination of the power of the large political parties and the money they can spend coupled with the growth in fake news, deceit, and lies, and there are also rumors of voter fraud.

The growth in party politics has led to the “career” politician, one with very little real life experience, someone who has studied politics then gone to work for a political organization before seeking office on behalf of that organization. These people have so little real connection with the millions of voters that they know little about the issues that matter to those voters. These parties attract wealth, obviously and understandably, donated in the hope of getting a government that supports the donor. This wealth means parties become rigid, inflexible, and intolerant. They can buy media attention and crowd out possible alternative political views. This leads to sections of the public feeling disenfranchised and this is probably what leads to voter fraud

There is another way democracy is being eroded. The judiciary and the way top judges are appointed.

Due to the loose way most laws are worded, they leave the interpretations of exactly what they mean to the most senior judges. This means these senior judges can effectively make laws and can subvert the intentions of democratically elected governments.

This is anti democratic and is made worse by the selection procedures for these top judges.

The wind of change needs to blow through the whole process of who makes laws and who chooses those who do so.

Only democratically elected bodies should make or interpret laws that affect the electorate. This is a must if democracy itself is to survive.

So what alternatives do we have?

Consensus, through compromise, is very difficult in any group of over 10 people. Get to 100 people it becomes impossible. Let us face it, consensus within a family of say six people is rare, and whatever final decision is made at least one will be reluctant, even if they do not openly show that reluctance. In most families, people will accept the group or the leader's decision but this does not apply where there is not a blood relationship. Ancient tribal groupings were based on blood relationships for good reason.

Similarly, true democracy; where ALL the people ACCEPT the will of the majority, is impossible once the population becomes over 10 million. Once over a large number, the minority will be at least 2 million people so their views will have to be accommodated, so compromise will have to be reached; which in turn means the will of the majority is diluted and not adhered to, and so it is not true democracy.

Once a population becomes over 50 million true democracy is impossible. A minority of between 2 and 24 million, however fragmented their individual agendas, will never ALL ACCEPT the will of the majority and this especially becomes factual when you have a situation where a government is elected on less than half the total votes cast, as happened most of the time in England in the last twenty years. So true democracy is lost.

So how should the human race govern large populations?

  • Possibility A) break the population down into smaller groups each with its own self-governance and political or religious agenda?- i.e, break up the state?
  • Possibility B) a rigid dictatorship where the will of an elite is imposed on the whole population?
  • Possibility C) Muddle along with compromise, dissent and the present lack of coherence and national purpose, getting through each situation and fudging each opportunity, satisfying none of the groups but reducing the possibility of outright rebellion and civil unrest? 
  • Possibility D) Give up trying to govern, have an elected body of professional politicians who pretend to govern but really just make noise to give the impression of government while actually leaving all to professional bureaucrats?
  • Possibility E) give up sovereignty of the state to an outside agency that is not chosen or elected by any of the people but is simply a larger ruling bureaucracy that is controlled by itself for its own benefit and all elected politicians are expensive camouflage to try and trick the people into believing they still live in a democracy?
  • Possibility F) govern by referendum. Someone will have to be responsible for the wording and topics but if all contentious issues were subject to referendum voted for by all the people it would weaken the power of the political parties
  • Possibility G) Reduce the area of governance down to the smallest practical size, such that each area has, say, 10,000 voters and these elected 5 local people to govern the area and these elected people choose one of their number to represent that area at a regional forum. Say each regional forum had 100 areas and they sent 10 people to the National forum. Taxes, income, and spending would be at the smallest local area. The national forum would not be able to raise taxes, the national forum would exist as a coordinating body and to settle disputes between regions. If the population is small enough and basically a rural agriculture based society this; or some version of it, may work but again when we get over 50 million voters in an industrialized nation, this would not work.
  • Possibility H) We stay with the existing system but make much greater efforts to ensure elected representatives of the people actually represent the people. Members of an elected body must have real life experience outside of any political organization. The ability of a government to ensure all elected members of the party agree with them should be removed. Public consultation, by holding open forums within each constituency, on specific issues should be the normal and standard way things are decided.

At the same time, the laws that stop election fraud must be rigorously enforced.

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