They're not voting because...
- Simply that with modern systems we could...
Simply that with modern systems we could have true democracy - i.e. we could vote on all the major issues with an executive in place only to decide on what questions should be asked. Why is it I can choose from a thousand colours when I buy a car, yet am faced with only three models when I vote. And I don't agree in entirety with any of them. The present system asks me to compromise - so you broadly agree with Labour but passionately believe we shouldn't have gone to war in Iraq. Do I vote for them or make a stand? Why can't I be asked "should I pay more towards the NHS," and "Should we go to war with Iraq?" and "How much of your income should go towards public transport?" Its not that people don't care about these things - if they were invited to vote on issues rather than parties there would be a much larger turnout. The big failure of present politics is that no political party is suggesting this as a way forward. Apathy suits them.written 18th Apr 2005
Andrew replies: They have this in Switzerland: if enough people want it, they can have a referendum on anything. Doesn't seem to work (according to my swiss-dwelling friend)written 18th Apr 2005
Nick replies: The whole point of our system is that it is representative democracy.
We elect people to take decisions on our behalf and whom we can then hold responsible for their conduct over their term of office.
The problem is that most decisions are not possible to take in isolation and there are consequences: both foreseen and unforeseen to decisions.
If you asked people "would you like to pay less tax" or "would you like more money spent on X" in a referendum, people will focus on the one question and cannot be held accountable because of that decision there is less money available for Y or they pay more tax.
This is the problem with the Swiss (and American) system.
You have to decide what politicians hold views most similar to your own and vote for them. If you don't like any of the choices, stand yourself.
What you can't do is stand aside, feeling morally righteous, then complain that you disagree with the people in power in this country. There is no workable alternative to Representative Democracy.written 18th Apr 2005
Viktor replies: "Doesn't seem to work"
Well...it seems the Swiss are doing quite good in managing their affairs, both political and economical.written 18th Apr 2005
And even if they have problems - do you prefer a perfect party-based democracy where you don't have a say or an imperfect direct democracy where at least you have the chance to influence the debate?
Nick replies: Viktor, there's no such thing as a perfect system of any kind.
And why do you think you have no chance to influence the debate in this country? What issues would you personally like debated in this campaign which are off the agenda?written 18th Apr 2005