Looking at the make-up of the panel for this Electoral Reform Society (ERS) “debate”, we have to wonder who will ask the most relevant questions. Why should the outcome of free and fair elections be a “problem”? For whom is this a problem? And, to whatever extent the verdict of the people is to be considered a “problem”, what would the ERS propose should be done to address this “problem”?
Other questions raised by this provocatively titled event might include one asking why the SNP has been excluded. Given that the party’s very legitimacy is being questioned, surely basic fairness requires that it be afforded a voice in the proceedings. Assuming, as the underpinning premise of this “debate” does, that the SNP has/will have a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland, who has the right to question that mandate? And why is the SNP not being given the opportunity to defend the electorate’s democratically expressed will?
If the validity of election outcomes is problematic, what might be the alternative? If it is even sensible to ask the question, “Does Scotland Have a Predominant-Party Problem?”, when the predominance of said party is the choice of the people, then it is also sensible to ask what “corrective” might be devised and implemented in order to rectify the “problem”. Are elections to be rigged so as to “adjust” the voting? Or perhaps there might be a group of “experts” appointed to determine what the voters really meant when they voted in a particular way. Maybe some mathematical algorithm will be applied to compensate for voters’ “misguided” choices.
Whatever “corrective” is used, who will it favour? If its purpose is to disfavour the “predominant party” as chosen by the electorate, it must inevitably favour some other party or parties. Who will decide which party or parties will benefit from this “extra-electoral” process? And to what extent? If the aim is to second-guess the electorate then the complex range of alternative permutations of parliamentary representation will only introduce another “problem”. The problem of whose votes are to be reallocated and to whom.
There evidently isn’t a “problem” for the electorate. If a party is “predominant”, this can only be by the electorate’s choice. If it was a “problem” – or a potential “problem” – they would vote differently. The exercise of democracy would solve the “problem”. So, given that the voters don’t have a “problem”, and that they have a ready solution in their own hands should they consider there to be a problem, who is complaining? Who, precisely, is dissatisfied with democracy in action?
There would appear to be two such groups. The political parties which the electorate declines to vote for in sufficient numbers to make them “predominant”; and the self-appointed “experts” who suppose themselves a higher authority than the people. The first of these groups is hardly impartial. The second needs to explain the source of its authority.
The first group might want to consider the possibility of trying to win the trust and support of the electorate in the normal way – by offering an inspiring vision combined with credible policy proposals.
The second group might want to consider shutting the f*** up and leaving democracy to the sovereign people of Scotland.Views: 1895
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