By Ad astra
Why do I use the term ‘charade’? Because I believe representative government is “an absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance” about the concept of government of the people, for the people, by the people. This piece is an attempt to convince you of this charade, if indeed you need convincing at all. Given the seIf-evident nature of its content, I expect many of you will wonder why I have bothered to write this piece at all! I’m beginning to wonder likewise!
Let’s start with the concept of the ‘electorate’.
There are numerous references that explain electorates and electoral systems. Rather than go over established facts, my purpose is to focus on the flaws that beset our electoral system. Ace – The Electoral Knowledge Network is a sound source of information to which you may wish to refer for detailed information. Here is an extract:
The Importance of Electoral Systems
Political institutions shape the rules of the game under which democracy is practised, and it is often argued that the easiest political institution to manipulate, for good or for bad, is the electoral system. In translating the votes cast in a general election into seats in the legislature, the choice of electoral system can effectively determine who is elected and which party gains power. While many aspects of a country’s political framework are often specified in the constitution and can thus be difficult to amend, electoral system change often only involves new legislation and can thus be subject to manipulation by an unscrupulous majority.
Even with each voter casting exactly the same vote and with exactly the same number of votes for each party, one electoral system may lead to a coalition government or a minority government while another may allow a single party to assume majority control.
Don’t we know that all too well!
Moreover, we have seen the allocation of preferences used in a way which has seen individuals elected who have received almost no votes at all.
Suppose we lived in Dickson, Peter Dutton’s electorate. Only LNP supporters would have voted for him. Yet he is there to represent everyone in Dickson. If we were able to have an appointment with him, and if we expressed our dismay that our federal government had no policy to reduce carbon emissions, that its leader expressly rejects the need to have a target to do so, and that we are seriously concerned about the effect of increasing emissions on global warming and its catastrophic potential for worldwide devastation, how would he respond?
Would he argue that climate science is flawed? Would he try to convince us that the ‘warmists’ are deluded, that they belong to a strange cult that is out of touch with reality? How could he represent us if his beliefs were diametrically opposed to ours?
Herein is the fundamental flaw in representative government. It always has been.
Indeed this is democracy’s fundamental flaw. As Winston Churchill famously said way back in November 1947: ”Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.
How then should we regard what we like to believe is representative government? All of us live under its spell. Your opinion forms part of what we know is a seriously complex system. Please let us have your opinion. Enrich our understanding.
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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