Conservative Woman is generally a well-grounded publication and this recent article is no exception.
Our theme today is well supported by this article which tears into our current political situation with a frankness that the Conservative party leadership would do well to heed - but inevitably won't.
"We have no effective means of questioning or educating government ministers and policy-makers, even when they spout the most dreadful nonsense. It turns out that public debate – and the very occasional opportunity to vote for our ‘representatives’ – is demonstrably a pretence"
"There is something you can do. There are many examples of truly democratic inclusion, and extensive evidence that such respectful strategies lead to improved decision-making: see here, here, here and here"
Whether greater civic participation in democracy is a good idea or not is obviously open to debate. Although the principle must be sound, the implementation if left to politicians and civil servants would be guaranteed to be powerless (and anyone who believes that Facebook in its current incarnation would offer a suitable medium for free speech might be thought misguided).
No, democracy must flow from the people themselves, but not via "authorised" channels. This implies that enterprising democrats must set up a number of different offerings from which the people may choose their preference. Messy, but organic and difficult for vested interests to co-opt to their own ends.
None of this is going to happen tomorrow morning, so meanwhile we might also campaign for some simple reforms to our current system, such as making MPs accountable to their constituency rather than to their political party. This could be easily done by altering the practice to support the theory - MPs should be remunerated by their constituency:
- make the constituency responsible for setting and and paying their MP's salary (and expenses) and providing him/her with office facilities
- enable the constituency to promptly recall and fire their MP if it votes to do so
A quick and comparatively simple reform that I suggest would have far-reaching effects.
Meanwhile, if you feel inspired to take immediate action, do join in the initiative (described at the end of the article) to form some popular consensus on the pandemic issue - it can't make things any worse than they are already, and hopefully will set the participatory democracy ball rolling:
"As soon as we have sufficient recruits we will begin. We are seeking participants from any and every background. All opinions are welcome. Nothing will be censored, hidden, or withheld. Everyone’s views and the patterns of their choices will be immediately available to all participants, and there are filters to enable those who wish to ‘deep dive’ into the data to do so"
Onward and Upward!