Friday, April 12, 2024
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Andrew Cadman: Representative democracy has had its day


Did you hear there is some kind of election on?

Now here is the real news:

Weak Productivity Leaves UK Trailing

Unmarried Women now outnumber Married

UK Economic Growth Rates Stuck At 2%

Epidemic of Homelessness

Demographic Timebomb will Lead to Permanently Lower Growth

UK Muslim Numbers Double in a Decade

UK Needs Low-Skilled EU Labour Years After Brexit

It’s the same story across the entire Western World – recent decades have seen the collapse of the family, declining innovation, productivity and economic growth, social atomisation and polarisation, unwanted mass immigration, vast rises in both government and private debt. Perhaps most ominously of all, many Western societies have embarked on a demographic death march, the consequences of which are now finally being felt.

Democracy may be the “worst form of government, except for all the others”, as Churchill famously said, but nonetheless the Western model of representative democracy is demonstrably failing, but why?

The ghastly truth is this: far from being Athenian philosophers exercising the Judgment of Solomon, on the whole politicians make decisions which are more short term, more cowardly and in the long term more destructive than the general population would.

The result has been a kind of cultural strip-mining: its mother-lode ore – the societal bonds prized so dearly by social conservatives – excavated and exploited for the convenience of the electoral cycle, the appeasement of target demographics and politicians’ personal gain. It’s the same story on issue after issue: the tax advantages of marriage have been destroyed; women forced out to work at great future cost to their children, demography and thus society; mass immigration, much from truly rebarbative cultures, imposed at such catastrophic cost to social cohesion that our major cities start to resemble Belfast in their growing sectarian divisions.

Lord Macauley famously said:  “A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from thepublic treasury”. It would be more true to say that politicians have voted themselves the largesse of the culture. Well, mine away society’s bedrock and eventually you get subsidence on the surface, and that is precisely what has happened: denuded of social capital, Britain and other Western societies are grinding to an economic standstill.

At least our coming election will be dominated by one big idea – Brexit – but it is very telling that this was imposed by the people on a deeply reluctant political class, and much of the debate has since been about the elite classes trying to frustrate the will of the people rather than anything more edifying, visionary or constructive.

Furthermore, the Brexit referendum blew to pieces the once powerfully persuasive argument that people were in general simply apathetic, and left to decide for themselves would prove more timorous, more venal andmyopic than their elected representatives: in the end it was the politicians who mostly sided with the cynical narrative of Remain’s Project Fear while the people proved braver and more visionary.

In hindsight, it is not hard to see why this should be so: imagine you are a Minister charged with making a difficult but correct decision that could seriously alienate a key electoral demographic. Doing the right thing means potentially being ejected from office or sacked. The consequences for you are nothing less than life changing: salary vastly reduced, the social prestige of office removed, career prospects perhaps ruined. This is all especially true in an era of career politicians who have no hinterland to fall back upon. Short of a Declaration of War, it is hard to see how individual political decisions could affect the bulk of the population in such a way.

In our forthcoming election, the Tories will win, and win big. Theresa May will, perhaps, formulate a Brexit that proves a boon to this country, and her administration may even prove radically transformative in other ways. However, judged by the broad sweep of history our system of representative democracy has run its course. Direct democracy is the answer.

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Andrew Cadman
Andrew Cadman
IT Consultant who works and lives in the UK. He is @Andrewccadman on Parler.

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