Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Consensus versus Democracy

There are some issues on which the whole nation needs to pull together - such as in war, when defending our existence against an enemy seeking to overwhelm or destroy us.

When we have internal disputes, even conflict, however, it is only by obtaining the majority democratic view of a free society that we can have some assurance that we, the people, will not be brought to heel by a government or establishment dictatorship.

That is why I cringe when I hear self-interested MPs or vested interest groups say that the only way to handle an issue which is becoming too hot to handle, is not by courageous democratic debate, but by "all parties coming together in a non-partisan way".  

That is the route to putting all power, unchecked and unscrutinised, into the hands of bureaucrats and subservient politicians, or, worse, at first into the hands of an elite clique and then of a demagogue.

Raucous debate across the floor of the House, and widely varying opinions during election campaigns, is a better way, the British way, than cosy, closed door coalition.

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