This Is Not True Democracy

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? Continue reading

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