MPs’ Expenses – Kick Them All Out. A Look At True Democracy.

As the Commons’ standing falls to a historic low, with news of MPs claiming expenses for everything from piles of manure to tennis court maintenance, from cleaning moats to pruning  wisterias, there are now legitimate calls from all sections of the public for drastic action and change. Is it time to dissolve parliament, kick out all the MPs and for the public to brick by brick to build a new democracy? Let us look at democracy and what it really means:

Democracy: The Idea

Deriving from the Greek, Demos Kratos – People Power – Literally, direct self government and decision making by the people.

Today this idea is widely interpretated as indirect or representative democracy, where voters elect representatives to make decisions on their behalf.

Democracy implies varying degrees of people power, participation, representation, responsible government and consent. Democratic participation may take many forms, from voting and standing for political office to meetings, marches, demonstrations, peaceful lawbreaking and violent political opposition. Even riots and terrorist attacks have democratic claims, since they are ‘people power’ in the literal sense – although all states and governments will deny those democratic claims when such activities are directed against them.

Democracy: The Reality

In the last British general elections in May 2005, when Tony Blair recorded his “historic third term”, it is worth noting the stats.

Labour’s “winning majority” actually compromised of only 35.2% of the popular vote, equating to approximately 22% of the electorate based on the estimated turnout of 61.3%.

That’s not even 22% of the population but 22% of the registered voters![1]

The figure 35% is used almost as spin to try to divert public attention from the colossal elephant that now overshadows politics in the UK. The shadow casts serious doubt over the true legitimacy of such indirectly elected representatives and indeed, the entire political process.

The truth is a staggering 39.7% of the registered voters chose to vote for nobody!

“The Quiet Landslide”

In the 2001 British general election, 41% of the public didn’t vote at all. It was dubbed Labour’s “quiet landslide”.

Of the 59% who did vote, only 40% voted for Tony Blair. [2] That equates to around 24% of the British electorate!

Following that very election, the UK government went to war in Iraq. So based on the support of 10,724,953 people, Tony Blair took the United Kingdom into a unpopular war with little support.

To give an idea of how representative that figure is, in the 2001 census, the population of the United Kingdom was recorded as 58,789,194. Although not all of the population that make up that figure would have been eligible to vote, clearly the stats raise serious questions.

Democracy in Britain

In Britain, representative democracy developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries under pressure from popular movements such as chartism and the trade union movement, and was, in part, a conscious effort on the part of the political power-holders to forestall radical demands for more direct or extensive political democracy. In the words of conservative Quinton Hogg (Lord Hailsham) –

‘If you don’t give them reform, they will give you social revolution’.

Many at the time were fearful of the idea of giving the mass public the vote. They could not have dreamed of a situation like the one that we have today.

According to the Office of National Statistics the total population of the UK in 2005 was estimated to be 60,209,500.

The total number of people who voted in the in the British Elections of 2005:


The fact is, people are not participating in this “democracy” of ours. It’s the Kratos without the Demos. Power without the People.


Through the early to mid 1800s, the idea of democracy was synonymous with the French revolution of 1789. It was deeply associated in the minds of both conservatives and also many liberals with the chaos, fear and terror that had followed this bloody period of history. Democracy was seen across Europe as something dangerous and to be avoided.

After all ‘what indeed would happen in Politics when the masses of the people, ignorant and brutalized, unable to understand Adam Smith’s free market, controlled the political fate of estates? [1]

Could it be that ever since the French revolution and the volatile 1800s, so much time, money and thinking has been channeled into cultivating ways of manipulating public behaviour to prevent social revolution that the result is this static non-participatory state of affairs that we have today? A situation where the public, by and large, no longer care who governs them or what they do?

One thing is certain, the battle to control and rule over the public has been a resounding success. We now live in an ideal state. A politician’s utopia.

Whilst we remain apathetic and silent, the politicians can get away with murder, lining their own pockets with taxpayers money whilst the public scrimp and save to try to make ends meet, paying extortionate taxes on their hard earned money. It is daylight robbery. It is a no wonder they want things to continue as they are!

Look at the facts: We live under a system that has successfully convinced 65m people that, handing the government more than 50% of our income in taxes is acceptable. It is astonishing. If any group was to suggest an idea like that today, that we work all hours god sends, to then hand over half of our money to faceless bureaucrats that claim they can spend it better than we can, they would be considered mad. But that is precisely what is going on.

Ordinary people work 5 days a week to get weekends free, to look forward to a couple of weeks in the sun and retirement at 65. That isn’t a life, it is an existence. We have all been brainwashed.

Enough is enough. It is time for change. Kick them all out now and lets look to create a true democracy of and for the people!

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3 thoughts on “MPs’ Expenses – Kick Them All Out. A Look At True Democracy.

  1. The working class comprises the majority in society, it has the power to shake the system. Unfortunately, this does not mean that most of its members have a clear idea of their ability to replace the existing system with a better one. On the contrary, being brought up in capitalist society leads most people to accept the ideas of the system to a greater or lesser degree – its racism, sexism, competition and greed, and the belief that there is no other way of living. As Karl Marx once wrote “the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class.”

    Working class organisations, such as trade unions for example, simply do not have the resources necessary to compete with the capitalist media hence only a minority of people accept ideas that challenge the system as a whole. The majority take most things for granted and accept much of what the capitalist media says.

    It is only when those whose labour keeps capitalism going are engaged in fighting aspects of the system that they discover they have the power to paralyse it. Only then do large numbers begin to see clearly that their interests run in opposite directions to those of capitalists. They discover through struggle that they can challenge the system, and that as a class they have an interest in uniting to replace profit making and competition with a society of democratic self organisation. It is through struggle that people discover that they have the collective capacity to change society.

    When you look through history again and again we see examples of how the moral and intellectual condition of the working classes has deteriorated.

    In 1870 Thomas Cooper, a former activist in the chartist movement 30 years earlier, surveyed the workers of the north of England and and said:

    ‘it is true, in our old Chartist times, Lancashire working men were in rags by the thousands; and many of them lacked food, but their intelligence was demonstrated wherever you went. You would see them in groups discussing the great doctrines of social justice… they were in earnest dispute respecting the teachings of socialism. Now you will hear no such groups in Lancashire. But you will hear well dressed working men talking of cooperative stores and their shares in them, or in building societies (banks). And you will see others, like idiots, leading small greyhound dogs, covered with cloth on a string… Working men had ceased to think..’.

    If only Thomas Cooper could see the streets of London today! Millions of Londoners standing around at bus stops and on trains, before and after work, all reading the same “news” from the same sources – the free newspapers containing nothing but the same old ideas of the system – racism, sexism, competition and greed – reinforcing the ideas and beliefs and maintaining the status quo that keeps the majority ignorant and exploited.

    People need to see beyond the capitalist rhetoric and realise that yes an alternative society is possible. It is clear by voting turnouts and disillusionment that the majority want a society in which production is for human need and not for profit. A society in which those who work, not those who own, make the decisions. A world in which human beings of all races and nations cooperate and children learn the lessons of the past of war and poverty in history lessons, astonished that such atrocities could ever have happened. Maybe I am naive, but I believe it is only when the majority wake up from their slumber and stand up and take power that it will happen.

  2. The stench of corruption surrounds the House of Commons. “Clear them all out,” is the popular sentiment.

    Newspaper editorials and “constitutional experts” have responded by saying that, despite its flaws, the system is the best on offer and needs to be reformed rather than replaced.

    Westminster is a gentleman’s club. It has been forced to admit women and a few black and Asian MPs, but it operates as a private club, with its own rules. It looks after its own.

    It can vote to go to war, in defiance of overwhelming popular opinion, as it did over Iraq in 2003.

    Whenever there is any questioning of how the parliamentary system or the state operates, those in charge kick dissent into the long grass with inquiries and reports carried out by people with a commitment to the system.

    Former Labour minister Patricia Hewitt’s suggestion that citizens’ juries could decide on how MPs’ expenses are paid was met with laughter from the rest of parliament.

    The speaker then told her to shut up.

    But what is wrong with popular democracy? What is wrong with voters being able to hold those they elect to represent them to direct account?

    We elect MPs every five years, but once elected we have no control over what they do.

    They themselves have little direct control over the government.

    The government exercises little control over the things that keep people awake at night – such as their jobs, homes or simply being able to pay the bills.

    That’s a matter for “the economy” – in other words for big business, free from any popular control.

    True democracy requires that all elected officials are directly responsible to those they represent.

    They should be able to be immediately replaced if they go against our wishes. They should receive an income equal to the average wage nationally.

    True democracy would also mean having the right to vote on matters like where investment should go and whether we want to spend our money bailing out bankers or on services.

    Yet any suggestion of this brings outrage from the bosses and the political elite.

    When we are told that this is the best democracy money can buy, it is a lie on every count.

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