Where do we go from here?

β€œIt has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
Winston Churchill

That famous comment is both very true and not very comforting. We live under a sytem of government that is simply the best of a bad bunch.

Democracy may have worked well in the early days; it may have worked for the founding fathers of America or the early parliament of Britain but it doesn’t work now.

Democracy is the rule of the majority. People vote for a political party and the one with the most votes takes power. That’s all well and good as long as the party voted for is a benign one. If you vote in a party that holds it’s own interests above those of the people, you are in trouble. If you vote in a party that that has tyranny at it’s heart you are in serious trouble.

Adolf Hitler was voted into power by the people of Germany and we all know where that ended up.

In 1997, the people of Britain voted for a Labour government (myself included to my great shame, but back then I was thick as pig shit as far as politics was concerned, and only voted the same way my parents did. Thay have since seen the error of their ways too).

That government then went on to draft over 3000 new stutes, mostly bady written and all indended to chip away at the freedoms that British people have known.

Once a law is enacted it is rarely repealed, as has been demonstrated by the new lot in power.

There has been a lot of talk among the powers that be in Europe, about the ‘Post democratic era’. This suggests a desire to do away with democracy in it’s current form and I agree.

Whoa! Stop throwing rotton veg at me for a minute and I will explain.

I don’t agree with TPTB in Europe and I don’t agree with what they want – The power to do as they please without any mandate from the people. I do however, beleive that democracy in it’s current form has had it’s day and I will propose an alternative.

I am a pure bread Libertarian but I am not an anarchist. I do beleive we need a limited form of government.

My idea of the perfect govenance would not be based on politics, it would have no left or right adgenda. There are 49 million adults in Britain, all with their own political leanings. If you vote in a government that is aligned with one political viewpoint, whatever it may be, you disenfranchise everybody with different politics.

That’s why I beleive politics has no place in government. An ideal government would be there for administrative purposes only; to do the things that people and business can’t practically do themselves.

Take roads for instance. It could be argued that maintaining Britains road network could only be done by a government. Therefore you would need a minister for transport. Their remit would be transport network maintenence only. No law making, no fines, no persecuting of drivers. Administrating the roads only.

And who would be the best person for the job? Not a career politician, that’s for sure. It would be someone who has had a time served and successful career in civil engineering or some such.

The people would not vote for a party or a government, they would vote for each government minister individually (remember, we wouldn’t need many of them). Whoever won the vote could take the position for four years, say, and then the position would be up for the vote again.

Any interested parties would not go to the people with a manifesto and a huge list of promises and offers, they would go to the people with their CV. The people would then vote for the person they thought was best for the job.

It would be the same for all ministerial positions. Defence would be taken by a cereer soldier, Health by an ex doctor, Education by an ex head teacher.

These people would have their roles set out for them in law. They would not be able to expand them or change them to further their own adgendas. They wouldn’t be able to make new laws.

They would be able to take taxes to fund the things they need to do. I would suggest 10% of earnings from everyone and nothing further. Obviously the minister for tax would be voted out if he was seen to be wasting the money taken. Money would not be spent on personal whims and hobbyhorses because there would be a set list of things that tax money could be spent on.

On the whole it would work a lot more like a business with a team of directors than the governments that we understand. The roles and responsibilities would be set and the directors would be voted in by the people at regular intervals based on thier ability to do the job.

No body would be cut out, disenfranchised or denormalised. The majority would have no say over the minority and pressure groups would have no voice to ban things or regulate things.

That’s my vision of post democracy. I might as well just forget it and have a beer before that gets banned too.

40 comments for “Where do we go from here?

  1. June 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    In 1997, the people of Britain voted for a Labour government (myself included to my great shame, but back then I was thick as pig shit as far as politics was …concerned

    And therein lies the problem of the true left – they could never acknowledge the error of their ways in a million years. You could.

    • June 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      Yeah, the lefties don’t do reality very well.

      • nisakiman
        June 6, 2011 at 9:24 pm

        A quip I’m fond of repeating (which happens to be true for me):

        “I used to be a socialist, but then I got mugged by reality…”

        Can’t remember who said it, but it struck home. πŸ˜€

        • June 6, 2011 at 9:33 pm

          Like it

    • Den
      June 6, 2011 at 8:41 am

      A friend of Dad’s admitted he had never been so well off as he had been under the Tories (not that I am saying people should vote Tory they are as big a problem as Labour) but he was still voting Labour … and therin lies the problem; Labour voters are easily conned by the “for the workers” spin and propoganda, despite clear evidence that Labour and the Unions have been taking them for mugs.

  2. David
    June 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    A brilliant idea. I’ve always wondered how someone with zero experience in their department can be a minister for said dept. and know what the bloody hell they’re doing – unless, of course, the civil servants do everything for them. And if that’s the case why the hell do we need politicians anyway? Sack the inept, corrupt civil service (and politicians) and put in people who have done the job before.

    • J
      June 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm

      Exactly, it should be like a job application. The minister for health should be a doctor or nurse, the minister for education should be a teacher, etc. I’ve never understood cabinet “reshuffles”. Now what would happen if the prospective candidates for each ministerial post banded together and told their supporters to vote for all of them, and called it a party?

      • June 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm

        “Now what would happen if the prospective candidates for each ministerial post banded together and told their supporters to vote for all of them, and called it a party?”

        This new form of government would need to have a “Shoot the bastards” clause πŸ˜€

        But seriously, laws detailing what can and can’t be done would need to be laid down from the beginning and no changes to them must be allowed.

    • June 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      Not only do they have people in a job who can’t possibly have a clue, they keep re-shuffling them, so any experience gained is immediately lost.

    • June 6, 2011 at 5:40 am

      ” I’ve always wondered how someone with zero experience in their department can be a minister for said dept. and know what the bloody hell they’re doing – unless, of course, the civil servants do everything for them.”

      David, you must be one of the few people to still think ‘Yes Minister’ was a comedy show, and not a documentary… πŸ˜‰

  3. June 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Great idea. The crux though, as ever, is how to bring it about. Aggregation is the key. 26 million people voted in the last election for the LIB-LAB-CON. we will never be able to win them over, thus attempting to do so, to play the game by the enemy’s rules, will lead to our annihilation.

    If people like us wish to rule ourselves then we must move to a defined geographic area. If you think these beliefs through to their logical conclusion we’re talking about secession. I’d do it tomorrow (practicalities included it’d probably take me a year to organise myself), but how many others would/could say the same? If we can’t band together we might as well stop spouting, as nothing else is going to bring about our freedom.

    • June 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      This idea is simply one of my idle musings. I do think it would work very well in practice but I have no idea how we would ever get there.

      • nisakiman
        June 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

        Maybe we should annexe Wales and set up a new system based on your approach.

        I’ve always maintained that any person who wants to be a politician should be immediately disbarred from ever holding power, as they are patently unsuited for a position of impartial responsibility. The best system we had in UK was the Lords before Blair and his cronies vandalised it. I say that not because I’m a great supporter of the hereditary principle, but because the members were there by accident (of birth, in this case), they were for the most part intelligent and well educated, they had experience of efficient management of business and property, and they were not working to a political agenda.

        • June 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

          Can’t we annexe somewhere warmer? If we all put a couple of quid in a pot, the Greeks will probably sell us an island.

          I’m sure there are some people who would make decent politicians, the trouble is, none of them are in politics they are all fannying about on blog sites.

          I too like the Lords but only as a necessary layer of oversight to parliament. Trouble is Labour proved that if you badger them enough they soon back down, so no help there.

  4. john in cheshire
    June 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Sounds like a good idea. Could it perhaps be consistent with the idea of Referism that Richard North, EUReferendum, is advocating?

    • June 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      I’ve heard Referism talked about a lot recently but I’ve not looked at it yet so I don’t know.

  5. Lord T
    June 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Makes sense. I think goverment should be less than 10,000 people. and 9,990 of them are checking on the 10 who are doing the work.

  6. June 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I’m not sure how valid this is, but contrarian points of view are always useful.

    Maybe the world has always been authoritarian. Maybe the trouble is, we are becoming more independent while our institutions and governments are slow to respond. So it feels as if the world is becoming more authoritarian when it is really we who are more inclined to notice the restrictions and want something better.

    • June 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      I’m sure the world has always been authoritarian, the strong have always led the weak since the dawn of man.

      I don’t however, think that independance is something that is growing. I think it is travelling in circles. TPTB keep pushing the authoritarian agenda until they push it so far that something snaps and freedom steps in. The cycle then begins again with the new PTB chipping away from the bottom again.

      I don’t think we will move away from this chain of events in our lifetimes or even our children. I think the human race needs to evolve for a couple hundred years or so before things change to any serious degree.

  7. June 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    In discussing democracy it is best to first define what YOU mean, as the term is bandied about by all kinds of tyrants, remember the German Democratic Republic which survived thanks only to the stasi and its Russian controllers?

    On my blog I fairly regularly try to remind my readers that when using the term democracy, I refer to the definition by Karl Popper, which roughly states that a democracy is any form of government where the people can periodically change their rulers without bloodshed, all others being tyrannies.

    It is that kind of democracy that the 27 nations of the EU have lost. We are all governed by the EU and none of us have any power to rid ourselves of those behind it, whoever they may be.

    Once we have the right to again select our own rulers, then we can fiddle with the mechanics of how they may govern, it seems to me.

    That said I enjoyed the post which made strong and convincing points. Unless we rid ourselves of the EU and the bleeding of resources overseas nothing can be changed, let alone improved.

    Those sitting before their parliament in Athens this evening seem to have taken this on board!

    • June 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      I define democracy as the smokescreen the shepherds use to keep control of the sheep by giving them the illusion of power.

      From time to time, the shepherds open the pens, the sheep wander about a bit and then pick which pen they want to go back to, based on the colour of the shepherds coat.

      The shepherds can then say, “You have just exercised control over who governs you”, sit back and carry on as normal.

      It’s all a con.

    • June 12, 2011 at 6:05 am

      Does it matter that much? I see what you’re saying and agree about the EU but even democracy in its most pure form is still tyranny of the majority. In theory 51% could vote to have any number of the other 49% enslaved and while obviously unfair and completely immoral it would still be democratic. And of course democracy as practiced in reality by most ‘democratic’ nations ain’t even that good.

  8. M
    June 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Bucko’s nailed a pretty serious issue right on the head here. The other day I had a little rant on my blog concerning the government’s ‘cyber security’ plans for protecting our country’s networks. Any normal person would put a tech-head in charge of that, but instead the coalition government handed the job to a completely unqualified career politician with no training or experience.

    Last year we had a defence minister who never served in the Army or the MoD, ignoring all criticism, advice and requests for funding and equipment.

    • June 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      It makes the mind boggle doesn’t it. And they wonder why thier hideously expensive IT systems are always going tits up.

  9. Ian F4
    June 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    It’s been discussed before on this blog, the abolition of exclusive political parties would solve all the problems with democracy.

  10. ivan
    June 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Damn it, If you lot keep this up everyone will have read my book before I get it finished.

    So far the only thing I haven’t seen mentioned is who the keeper of the big rock for dropping on heads, who is the ultimate back stop. At least I’ve got that covered.

  11. C H Ingoldby
    June 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    For a good real life example of democracy working pretty well, look at Switzerland.

    There, people vote directly on issues, bypassing the politicians. The political classes hate it and are all the main political parties regularly campaign for or against an issue and are knocked back by the people.

    Bypassing and putting the political classes in their place, that’s a system with a lot to recommend it.

    • June 12, 2011 at 6:13 am

      I think you can still pick holes in Swiss democracy. For example, they have one of the most authoritarian attitudes towards motoring, specifically speeding offences, of anywhere in the world to the point that national speed limits even cover private land – a Swiss Grand Prix would consist either of everyone lapping at 100 km/h or the winner being the driver with the fewest points. Presumably someone has persuaded enough people that such draconian enforcement of an essentially victimless crime (as distinct from driving dangerously fast) that it’s worth overriding property rights over. That might well meet the definition of democracy working well but I don’t think it meets the definition for a free country.

  12. GaryP
    June 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    The failure of our democracies is ultimately not due to deficiencies in our system of government but to our own moral deficiencies. A government cannot, for very long, be more moral than society it governs. This is especially true if free elections are held regularly. (The opposite is also true, immoral govts do not survive for long if they govern a moral society that is allowed to freely vote.) In the USA, for example, our current immoral govt or something very similar will remain in place because that it suits the majority of Americans. The majority of Americans want govt handouts (for themselves), they want people to be treated unfairly (as long as they benefit), they want hardworking, successful people penalized (because they are not that type of person).
    In a democracy, you get the type of government the majority wants; in totalitarian states, you get the type of government the inner clique wants; in monarchies, you get the type of government fate decrees (depending on the virtue, or lack of same, of the prince). These systems are, essentially, the choices. Democracy is failing today where it used to succeed because we are lesser men than our forebears. Revive virtue and your will revive our govts. I don’t believe it can be done but that is the only answer.

    • June 6, 2011 at 8:39 am

      To be fair, the governments bring about this state of apathy in the people themselves. They offer more free stuff, more handouts, they give platforms to pressure groups who would otherwise not be heard.
      Then they create scares; terrorism, drugs, peados, passive smoking, e-coli cucumbers so that they can offer solutions and step up as the champion of the people.
      The sheep are wrong to accept all this but they are being seriously manipulated into it.

    • PPS
      June 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks for this, you make an excellent point.

  13. FrankC
    June 5, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Bucko has an excellent idea. In his final paragraph.

  14. June 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    “It could be argued that maintaining Britains road network could only be done by a government.” M6 Toll Road is run by a private company. The Highways Agency responsible for trunk roads and motorways in England contracts maintenance out as do most local authority highway authorities.

    • June 6, 2011 at 8:40 am

      In my system, most of the work would be contracted out. The minister for roads could not do all the work himself.

  15. Chuckles
    June 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Nice post Bucko, but I’m astonished that you think the American founding fathers were in the least enamoured of democracy. They thought it was a hideously bad idea, and specifically warned against it. The USA started life as a Constitutional Republic, with checks and balances designed to PREVENT rampant democracy. πŸ™‚

    • June 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Cheers Chuckles, I see what you mean. Bad example. I don’t claim to be a professor of political science, just a pissed off Joe in the street. Sometimes my lack of knowledge pops up to the surface 😳

    • David A. Evans.
      June 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      At least until the Progressives started dismantling the constitution early C20th. πŸ™

  16. June 12, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Good post, Bucks, and echoing many of my own thoughts. I still think your fantasy government is too big though. Someone to act as head of state, someone to act as foreign minister, someone in charge of defending the place, someone in charge of getting things from A to B within the country – that’s all that’s absolutely needed at national level. Everything else could and should be local government functions so that if the service provided is crap everyone can up sticks and go to the county or town next door where they know how to run things efficiently. Shit councils would eventually preside over ghost towns, good ones would thrive. Not sure how many national politicians would go for the idea though.

    • June 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

      I dont do local councils as they are all shit. Just a small administrative staff paid for out of the ministers budget.

      Shit people (Councils, ministers, whatever) should not be allowed to rule, even over ghost towns.

      • June 12, 2011 at 9:33 am

        Yes, they’re all shit, but this is a result of central government wielding such power that there is simply no incentive for councils not to be shit. This is probably worthy of a proper blog post rather than a comment but I’ll try to condense it. Consider Australia with it’s large federal government and attending bureaucracy. With the country divided into states and territories as it is why not let the central government deal with national and external matters and make the states the main domestic power rather than Canberra? Imagine it went further and that we accept that Warnambool in the west may want to run its affairs differently from Mallacoota in the extreme east or Melbourne in the middle – why should the needs and desires of a large city of 3.5 million with international air and sea links be dictate to small towns nearer to the borders of other states than to their own state capital? And if we accept that then why shouldn’t the same apply even with the metropolitan areas of large cities like Melbourne? Why shouldn’t as much as possible devolve down to local council level?

        Because your local council is shit? Move to a good one. They’re all shit? Perhaps, but a Darwinian process will emerge in which the least worst soon becomes the most desirable in which to live and trade, while the most worst will have to adapt to survive and will eventually pressure the least worst into improving. Continuity of regulations and laws? Again, it’s a Darwinian process, and if it’s desirable that, say, speed limits and parking regulations are the same in towns a 10 hour drive apart it will happen anyway, and if it is not desirable why should we even want to spend a second considering it? In all likelihood it will be agreed everywhere that murder, violence and robbery is illegal while whether you can buy an incandescent lightbulb and how much tax (and on what) you pay to the people who decide you can’t would vary from one place to another.

        The thing is you don’t even need states to do this and the UK is already doing it to a limited extent. But there’s no reason not to carry on so that life in Bristol is not the same as in Yeovil, and if you’re in Bristol and think it sucks and that those lucky buggers in Yeovil have got it cushy then the choice is obvious: put up with it, move or hold the Bristol council accountable and demand/vote for change. It should also be obvious to the council in Bristol that if they keep things as they are they will be left with authority over little more than just themselves and the council employees, everyone else having buggered off to live in Yeovil.

        In essence what I’m suggesting is free market government – you pays your taxes and you takes your pick, except in practice the other way round. The thing is that this is vastly easier when the levers of government are all being pulled at local level as movement of people and businesses is all internal. It can be done internationally as well but from personal experience I can tell you that changing is harder for the individual and there is vastly less choice.

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