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Is British democracy (and democracy itself) under threat?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by stephen bennett, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. stephen bennett

    stephen bennett Mr Enigma

    I thought I'd run this past the hyperlink funded Institute for Pink Fish Media members (IPFM) for some insights.

    Two thoughtful pieces on the Brexit party and the future of conservatism got me pondering.

    We have a new privately (and secretly) funded party with a dictator in charge who need not bother himself with the dirty politics of compromise. His mission; to force a hard Brexit and destroy the party that has mocked and rejected him. Freud would have a field day.

    The latter, an established party whose membership are growing older, whiter and more angry and who see the threat from the Brexit party as an indication they need to be more like it. Their only aim is to preserve their power base. Who will they blame for past Conservative failure once the EU is out of the picture?

    The main opposition run by a leader most of its MPs do not support and, while effective amongst members (though that may not last), appears less so with voters at large.

    I wonder if it would make sense for Momentum to break off from Labour and follow the Brexit/5-Star playbook of bypassing traditional democratic avenues and create a 'left wing populist' party unencumbered by centrist Labour MPs or internal democracy? Who would lead such a movement?

    Can the 'gentlemen's agreement' of British democracy survive the digital age?

    Was Change UK (CHUK) the Chukka party?

    Will the Telegraph, Express and the Daily Mail re-print the Guardian pieces?

  2. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Staying alert

    Interesting, and I've only skimmed the pieces, but it makes me pause in my support for PR.

    Under PR, the conventional thinking goes, the extremes get the sort of representation that reflects their public support. So, the crazies and the idealogues get a marginal toe-hold, but don't emerge as any form of dominant force. They can thus be contained.

    However, it seems to me that PR enables a party, or a group of parties which individually poll maybe 10%, to surge up and sieze the reins, if they can dupe enough of the public into supporting them.

    That's risky, to say the least. The best thing you can say about FPTP is that a party polling around 22-25% of the vote is unlikely to find itself in power.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    To my mind this is the problem, not the basic concept of a proper representative democracy.

    Farage and his grubby pimp Arron Banks are not fielding a political party. The Brexit “Party” is a covertly financed lobby group for millionaire financial speculators and tax exiles. It does not have a constitution, manifesto, membership, financial accountability or any other the other structures all other political parties possess. Our whole system needs to be properly regulated to protect us from this kind of abuse.
    andrewd, ff1d1l, Colin L and 3 others like this.
  4. stephen bennett

    stephen bennett Mr Enigma

    Interesting. I hadn’t looked at it that way. I wonder if the same danger exists in current Governments already chosen by PR too?

  5. SteveG

    SteveG pfm Member

    Of course it does. For example in the Scottish Parliament (with a form of PR designed by Labour to try and ensure the SNP could never get a majority) the SNP, with a level of support that would have given them a very clear majority in any FPTP situation, require the support of the Greens to legislate. Now there is upside to that as between them the SNP and Greens will have taken about half the vote, but the downside is that a party with a tiny element of the vote does get much more of a say in the running of the country than they really should. In this case it's the Greens, so not a disaster - however if it was Tory & Brexit/UKIP it'd be a different story.
  6. stephen bennett

    stephen bennett Mr Enigma

    I've noticed though that under PR, the 'extreme' smaller parties have, at least in the past, had to moderate their views in coalition, as Steve says.

    However, what we're looking at here is either a Brexit inc. majority or a Conservative party taking on their extreme policies.

    In our FPTP we could see a Brexit/Tory majority who can ignore the smaller parties. Could they do that with PR?

    Can both systems survive against the new politics of, effectively, corporate political 'parties'? I guess all Farage is doing is cutting out the middleman lobbyists.

    I think we have always considered our representative system as a buffer (however unsuccessfully) against full-on corporate influence.

  7. H20GNA

    H20GNA Active Member

    It's a common myth that we live in a democracy, we live in an elected autocracy.

    We vote for a local Member of Parliament, whichever party. They vote with the Party Whip, not necessarily what the constituents want! There are very few open votes in Parliament!

    The Party Whip takes his orders from the Party Leader.

    So the Party Leader via the Whip is a kind of Dictator.

    On awkward subjects the Party Leaders could be called to meet the Prime Minister, votes could be swayed perhaps.

    What all constituents want, you and me, is irrelevant .

  8. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    The short answer is yes.
  9. maxflinn

    maxflinn pfm Member


    Mike Pompeo tells leaders he would 'push back' against Corbyn

    The questioner said: “Would you be willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult in the UK?” In response, Pompeo appeared to suggest that he would seek to intervene in the debate before Corbyn had a chance to become prime minister.

    “It could be that Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected,” he said on the recording. “It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”
  10. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Good articles. As for Momentum splitting off to become another Brexit Party or 5-Star, I think the limits of that form are becoming clearer now. The Labour Party isn't the dinosaur some people think it is: it has a relatively loose, federalist structure which means that it's well placed to exploit the potential of digital platforms, but it also has structures in place that can support genuine grassroots participation (limited, for now) as well as ground campaigns.
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Thankfully Farage/Banks’ Brexit “Party” is starting to get a little official scrutiny as to its dubious funding methods (BBC).
  12. stephen bennett

    stephen bennett Mr Enigma

    Our electoral rules can’t even cope with PayPal. It’s absurd.

  13. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Maybe we’ll see a forensic accounting investigation of Farage’s donations. The Tories will have every reason to send the dogs in.
  14. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Who would have thought only 10 years ago that people so obviously unfit to be PM as Bojo and even Fartrage FFS could even stand a hope in hell of becoming PM... let alone that the more evidence of criminal dealings, adultery, serial lying etc that emerges, the more popular they get:eek::mad:
    puddlesplasher likes this.
  15. Yomanze

    Yomanze pfm Member

    Let's see...

    The public voted to leave the EU, not the Single Market, not the Customs Union.

    Why did the Tories call a general election in 2017? For this:

    https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto, notably this line: "as we leave the EU, we will no longer be members of the single market or customs union[...]".

    They did this to take advantage of the Salisbury Convention, which prohibits the House of Lords from a second or third reading of anything that was promised / printed in an election manifesto.

    This isn't democracy, it's playing the system to suit an agenda.
    sean99 and Sue Pertwee-Tyr like this.
  16. Yomanze

    Yomanze pfm Member

    ...and don’t even get me started on filibustering. Amazing it is still commonplace.
  17. simon g

    simon g Older, wiser & retired

    All that has changed is that now many more are beginning to realise and recognise the illusion that is our 'democracy'.
  18. puddlesplasher

    puddlesplasher pfm Member

    We live in a democratic dictatorship. We get to vote every four years and then have no say. They political elite mistakenly gave us a choice with the referendum and we we didn't vote the way they wanted us to. Bet they're not going to do that again.
  19. Enfield boy

    Enfield boy pfm Member

    Oh they might, it'll work out just fine for them.
  20. boneman

    boneman pfm Member

    Like Dump in the US any scrutiny will roll off like water from a duck. It's amazing how these crooks so brazenly operate and get away with everything.
    Arkless Electronics likes this.

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