Post General Election 2010
In many respects we have moved closer to our ideal of an apolitical democracy. The country has chosen not to wholly endorse any of the three tired old tribes and yet the parties continue to scrabble amongst the rubble in an entirely undemocratic process of ‘king making’.
The people didn’t elect a king.
Yet parliament has been devolved to darkened (formerly “smoke-filled”) rooms in which a tiny handful of people (not all of them elected) are seeking to bypass debate and to agree between themselves a full term’s parliamentary business before the House even convenes.
This is not about good governance but about lazy politicians who cannot be bothered to turn up for every session and honestly debate, issue by issue, in the full glare of scrutiny on behalf of their constituents. So all credit to Caroline Lucas of the Greens, who today has refused to join a bloc but has stated she will consider each issue as it arises on its own merit.
The words of Aneurin Bevan seem strangely prescient even in the 21st century and apply to the tribes, as we now see them undemocratically, grotesquely ‘king making’, in the wake of the 2010 General Election:
“You elect an…MP to represent you. In the secrecy of a party meeting he plays in the team, keeps a straight bat and a stiff upper lip and then reaches decisions. You don’t know about them. He is not allowed to say… Is not that a travesty of democracy? A representative of the people has no right to secrecy. At the meeting upstairs they arrive at secret decisions and come to the floor of the House and make speeches and if those speeches do not accord with what has been decided upstairs they are threatened with explusion, although the electors do not know how their representative voted upstairs. Is that democracy? It is conspiracy.”
We have been, and are being, denied the opportunity to judge between the true contestants – between the prime movers – between the real issues.
A majority government (undemocratically constructed or otherwise) means that the voice of the people will go unheard for another five years.