Wednesday, 3 October 2012
Democracy & The Will Of The People
Politics is vital to all of our lives, almost everything depends on political decisions from how we travel to how our children are educated to how much tax we pay on our wages.
We have elections, parties tell us what they will do if elected, we vote, and the winners governs until the next round of elections a number of years later.
My biggest gripe about Democracy is that the voters have no way to force another election if the party who won turn out to be a disaster, the argument being that what we have is representative democracy, where we choose others to decide for us and the winner is serving the will of the majority, but are they?
In Britain, David Cameron became Prime Minister with just 36% of the voting public voting for him, 64% of the population wanted someone else so is he really in his position due to the will of the British people when two thirds specifically said they didn't want him ruling over them?
In America which has a population of 311 million, only 70m said Obama could represent them leaving the other 241 million to watch on as he acts as he sees fit. If he starts a war, over three quarters of the population can rightfully say that he is not acting in their name, nothing to do with them.
In most countries there is a minimum age that a person can vote at so you could argue that Julie Gillard's 6m votes in Australia represents 50% of the voting public but you could just as easily argue that she still doesn't represent 16m of the 22m in her country by virtue of not receiving their permission either because they couldn't, or didn't, give it to her.
Stephen Harper of Canada is in power despite 61% of the countries voters not wanting him, in Japan 69% of the country wanted someone else except Yukio Hatoyama, 67% voted against Angela Merkel in Germany and a huge 74% said a resounding no to Mark Rutte but he still sits as Prime Minister making the laws and rules that dominate the lives of the three quarters of the voting population that rejected him in the Netherlands.
The will of the people in the last Finnish election was for 80% to look at Jurki Faymann and vote for another party but he took power representing just 2 out of every 10 of the voters.
Looking at the numbers of the Democracies around the World, most of the ruling parties are not representing the vast majority of people in there countries, Norway 32%, India 35%, Ireland 36%, Iceland 29%, Sweden 30%, Switzerland 26%, Austria 29% and in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu can only declare to be representing 21% of his population.
As Churchill nodded towards, Democracy is deeply imperfect but with no real alternative to turn to, it is what we have. It's just obviously not that representative of the 'will of the people' which is it's whole point.