Richard and democracy

This truly takes the biscuit:

The core issue of significance today is the draft legislation that will enable communities  to call a binding referendum if a local authority wants to increase council tax by more than the cap set by the communities secretary. As the FT notes:

Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, will outline initiatives that will, he said, attempt to “end the era of big government”.

No, this is about bringing the era of democratic government to an end. The neoliberal right wing frequently argue that democracy is dangerous – because it allows a majority to set tax rates and they claim this is prejudicial to the minority who pay most tax. And here is Pickles bringing this idea into the UK – saying that if a small minority do not like a tax increase proposed by a democratically elected local authority they can oppose it. The imp0lication is all too obvious. Democracy is not to be trusted, this says. And the right to veto the democratic wish of the majority has to be granted to those who might pay more than average tax as a result – with, no doubt, a minority being granted the right to veto.

Allowing the citizenry to call for a referendum is not a veto: it\’s an ability for the citizenry to call for a rethink.

Note that the veto only comes if the citizenry actually vote, in such a referendum, to veto the tax proposal.

Now as far as I\’m concerned this is pretty much \”meh\”. And I would also note that average turnout (when not coincding with a general election) for council elections is in the 20-30% range. So it\’s difficult to say that the majority are going to get trampled on here.

But look at what he\’s really saying. It\’s really rather Leninist (and hugely reminiscent of Trot tactics in student politics). Once you\’ve voted the peeps in that\’s it, you do whatever they say.

Whereas in realty, moving to a system of more referenda is simply a move from a form of representative democracy to a more direct form of democracy.

I suspect though that the reason he\’s screaming is because there are those one party fiefdoms whre the elections never change anything: but referenda might. Very conservative is our Dickie in oh so many ways.

7 thoughts on “Richard and democracy”

  1. As an example of democracy, look at Liverpool Walton where Steve Rotherham won an astounding 72% of the votes. The clearest indication in 2010 of the people’s choice – except that this 72% represented only 39% of the voter role.

    You can see why FPTP democracy is cherished in the UK

  2. Murphy wrote,

    The neoliberal right wing frequently argue that democracy is dangerous – because it allows a majority to set tax rates and they claim this is prejudicial to the minority who pay most tax.

    and the right to veto the democratic wish of the majority has to be granted to those who might pay more than average tax as a result – with, no doubt, a minority being granted the right to veto.

    What majority? In general elections it means some 30-45% of turnout, which ranges from some 60-75%; a party that manages to get a quarter of electors to vote for it could find itself forming the government (Labour won in 2005 with ~21%).

    I don’t have an opinion on the proposal but it seems unreasonable to claim “democratic” endorsement for one’s favoured party or policies based on support from a quarter of electors. Surely there are stronger arguments.

  3. having looked at Murphy’s post, I am extremely amused by the calibre of the people who write in support of his blatantly illogical thinking. That Carol Wilcox could be the next Harriet Harman.

  4. I must have missed those local politicians who said prior to the election that they were going to raise council tax by 10%. I’m sure they didn’t dishonestly say one thing and do another.

  5. Democracy has evolved over time.
    This would seem to be another (logical) step in it’s evolution.

    Surely any change that provides more power to the people is a positive step?

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