‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Why should ordinary people be allowed to vote?

"The one thing that has emerged from the comments on this blog, though, is that while there is plenty of enthusiasm for pointing out the Leavers' lack of knowledge, many Europhiles are quite unable adequately to describe the nature of the object of their affection."

- Dr Richard North: http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=87043

This is certainly my experience in debating with the amateur propagandists of the Remain faction, who often maintain that Leavers were unaware of (or misled about) the implications.

But the same is true of most issues. Whatever the system for informing the public, there will be bias and disinformation, many will misunderstand what they are told or look only at what confirms their prejudices, and many will not bother to engage at all.

Even for the slave-owning weekly parliament of ancient Athens, detailed decision-making was delegated: the arrangement was to appoint people to perform State tasks and then submit them to close scrutiny at the end of their term.

So what is democracy for? I suggest that it is not about the people being wise enough to run the complex affairs of government.

Instead, it is a corrective: when the electorate feel that matters are not being conducted in their best interest, they can force a change in the administration. The Welsh, the Northerners, the farmers, fishers, miners and other workers who voted for Leave may not have had degrees in political philosophy, but they knew where the shoe pinched them.

Democracy is a system for making the rulers take serious notice of the feelings of the ruled.

3 comments:

A K Haart said...

Yes it is a corrective and maybe that is all we should expect from democracy but in accepting that we should expect correctives to correct.

Sackerson said...

Which leads us to the voting system, and why I supported the Alternative Vote. As far as possible, there should be no "safe seats"; that would be a cure for arrogance.

wiggiatlarge said...

"there should be no "safe seats"

No there shouldn't, my MP has a very safe seat, he is a allegedly according to his voting actions a leave MP he represents a leave constituency by a healthy margin.
Yet in the time since the referendum as far as is discernible not a peep from one Richard Bacon on the subject, even when I wrote earlier in the year that the actions of Theresa May had lost my vote for the Conservatives there came reply none, there must be legions of MPs who fit this profile, all who put personal position and party before the country and its people.