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Democracy: Is there any such thing?


gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
11 May 2010 10:40AM
I think we use the word "democracy" a little too glibly. I think maybe we talk too often as if democracy is an absolute when clearly it cannot be.
If we had a political party called "The Democratic Tendency Party" we would all laugh but really such a silly name reflects a more accurate description of modern western politics. Surely democracy is all about consulting the people as a whole but it must be a two way thing i.e. politicians must be able to communicate their views with equal access to the media and financial backing.

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ade_mcfade e2
10 14.8k 216 England
11 May 2010 10:51AM
You been listening to Michael Portillo's show on Radio 4 this morning ? Smile
digipix76 7 577 England
11 May 2010 11:13AM

Quote:You been listening to Michael Portillo's show on Radio 4 this morning ? Smile
....So have you! Tongue
ade_mcfade e2
10 14.8k 216 England
11 May 2010 11:18AM
Caught the first 15 minutes on the way to work

Sounded like a top show, may tune in at 9PM to catch the end.

Hard to believe that there were only 11 countries with democracy at the time of WW2!

And we'd only had proper democracy for a few years - women couldn't vote for a long time remember.

I think Portillo's point about people taking it for granted and almost treating it with distain was valid - many countries in the world still can't get rid of their government by voting. We are the lucky ones - and flawed as democracy may be, at least we can have a say once every 5 years.
JohnParminter 7 1.2k 14 England
11 May 2010 12:25PM

Quote:many countries in the world still can't get rid of their government by voting. We are the lucky ones - and flawed as democracy may be, at least we can have a say once every 5 years.


Even then Ade, we don't even get a government by voting......or at least not one the majority of folk expected.


Smile
fraser 10 631 14 Scotland
11 May 2010 12:33PM
Problem is, no party got a majority of the vote.
Carabosse e2
11 39.5k 269 England
11 May 2010 12:47PM
No party has got the majority of the vote in anyone's living memory!

We have been governed by minority governments, in terms of vote share, for several decades. But most are happy to live with this illusion/delusion of "democracy".... although a substantial number are not.
JohnParminter 7 1.2k 14 England
11 May 2010 12:48PM
Yes, that's what I was meaning fraser, even when we have the chance to vote as a democracy we still can't decide which one we want. The politicians will now decide for us, could be the formation of the two least popular parties with a Prime Minister we don't know - its all a bit bizarre isn't it? - this current system.
Carabosse e2
11 39.5k 269 England
11 May 2010 12:52PM
In other countries government-forming, after an election, involving more than one party is absolutely the norm.

But, in the UK, we are used to being ruled by a party which has got as little as a third of the vote. So we are getting our knickers in a twist over the the negotiations. How countries in the EU and elsewhere must be laughing at us! Grin
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
11 May 2010 1:05PM

Quote:You been listening to Michael Portillo's show on Radio 4 this morning ? Smile
No, Ade - he might have been listening to me, though Wink
Of course, the problem is how to agree on what is democratic.
Is an election that is so tainted and influenced by media nonesense and distortions truly democratic?
Of course, I don't think this election is the only one to be influenced by the media but maybe people are becoming more enlightened.
fraser 10 631 14 Scotland
11 May 2010 1:11PM
The concept of a balanced government works in Scotland without any formal arrangment between the parties. There's no reason why it shouldn't be able to work at Westminster, apart from an ingrained tradition of fisty-cuffs and bluster.
Carabosse e2
11 39.5k 269 England
11 May 2010 1:13PM
All political parties in the UK hate referendums but, in a country such as Switzerland, they are run of the mill and a normal part of democracy.

It is something our political leaders, of all colours, need to think about. Starting (well maybe!) with a referendum on our voting system.

Binding referendums would, it seems to me, enhance democracy. Naturally the wording of the questions would be crucial.... and no doubt be something battled over at political level! Wink
ade_mcfade e2
10 14.8k 216 England
11 May 2010 1:30PM
I think the Daily Mash summarises the situation very well - as usual Smile
KevSB 10 1.4k 5 United Kingdom
11 May 2010 1:42PM
I asked recently about the impartiality of the media and it was explained to me that the media are private owned businesses like any other and have no obligation to be neutral, in fact you could say that by continuing to buy them we rubber stamp the views, as a business owner very few of us would support someone that does your business harm so why should they, if we agree with that or not we have a choice to buy.
In fact the alternatives are state run papers common through out the eastern block during the cold war and claiming to be accurate fact, I never bought a newspaper tbh during the last two weeks as they just became propaganda mags.

I Am now curious how we ever came to the conclusion the word news was ever unbiased as I cannot find a definition to that effect, with the state owning the BBC they have a mandate to be neutral which has always been disputed by every side.
Carabosse e2
11 39.5k 269 England
11 May 2010 1:46PM
The media are part of the vested interests which run the country. They are owned by the 'great and the good' (good??). Nuff said. Wink

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