Elections themselves are the real problem, not just the system of voting

Elections treat people as if they’re stupid, like all we can handle is a choice once every few years between 2 or 3 very similar and massively simplified packages of options.
And on the very rare occasion that it becomes accepted that the result is no longer legitimate or right, the best we can hope for is to repeat the process. Along with this, the people and organisations with real power are never on the ballot papers – the power of corporations, civil servants and the international financial markets set the constraints on the policies that get into the manifestos and the whole outlook of the politicians and their parties.

And while I welcome a proportional voting system, it isn’t going to make much difference, it might mean there’s more of a choice of packages, but we’ll probably still end up with the same kind of lowest common denominator government (albeit one formed from a wider spread) which operates in a vacuum totally isolated from real people. The only real difference will be that more opinions will be heard in criticism of the government (including from the far right)


3 Responses to “Elections themselves are the real problem, not just the system of voting”

  1. Pravjey Says:

    I think proportional representation will make a great deal of difference – no one ideology will be dominant in government or Parliament. The truth is that no one ideology can claim to hold absolute truth, different belief systems can come up with its own logical arguments for its own positions. So, the only way change can be effective is if it is acceptable to as many people as possible. Sure, there will be compromise but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means that government should – in theory anyway – be more mindful of taking more people with them when making change. Whilst change for the better may be slow, it also means that change for the worst will be slow as well.

    This isn’t the same as lowest common denominator government. Compromise is about not only developing your argument but also knowing which battles to fight at any given moment, when to submit and which to postpone to another, better day.

  2. jamestholland Says:

    You maybe right, if the politicans can embrace consensus rather than compromise. The two words are often used interchangeably, but for me they are very different.
    compromise means giving up things you want to do and doing things you don’t want to – it’s essentially negative, whereas consensus means that, although you have ideas and preferences, you start by wanting to do what can be agreed upon. it’s not impossible that politicians can work by consensus (although i think its unlikely), but even if they do, my arguments about the legitimacy of any group of people selected in such a way making decision for everyone (which was my main argument) still holds. In my opinion making so many decisions at the scale of tens of millions of people can never be democratic.

  3. Pravjey Says:

    I think concensus and compromise are two sides of the same coin. They are different but co-dependent.

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