Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lucia The Party System - two parties, one governing class

The object of this book is to support the tendency now everywhere apparent and finding expression, a tendency to expose and ridicule as it deserves, to destroy and to supplant the system under which Parliament, the governing institution of this country, has been rendered null.

We write to show why governments suddenly abandon causes which they have enthusiastically espoused, and why Oppositions tolerate such abandonment and lend themselves to such manoeuvres. The former are less obliged to consider the will of the people than to consult the sense of the Governing Group of which they are for the time the representatives, while the latter are less anxious to overthrow their rivals than to preserve the system which in due course, and by the connivance of those rivals, will bring to them also the opportunities and emoluments of office.

A sincere conviction common to a rapidly increasing number of men that, under the present international and domestic condition of England the game is not only farcical but perilous, has supplied our chief motive.

The book above, The Party System, was written by Hilaire Belloc and Cecil Chesterton in 1911 - that was exactly one hundred years ago. They wrote about the problems of democracy in England of their time, whereby their elected representatives who were elected through a First Past the Post system, ignored the wishes of the people who elected them. They could have just as easily be talking about our time and our MMP political environment. Belloc and Chesterton explain that politicians are more beholden to the party who pays for their election expenses, than the voters who get them elected. That if a politician doesn't do what the party wants, then the party will find a way to be rid of him.  That there are real personal advantages for a person to get along with their party, not only in staying elected, but in what happens after Parliament when these people move onto other lives.

This book is a warning to anyone who thinks that in going back to First Past the Post that we will get a more democratic government. We will not.  Real democracy is where the will of the people determines what happens in Parliament - has that occurred here in New Zealand in living memory, back even in the times of FPP?

Our last referendum showed that most NZ'ers considered that a smack should not be a criminal offence, yet that view was totally ignored by our current National Government who colluded with the previous Labour Government to get that revolting piece of anti-parent legislation passed.  The only reason the same sort of thing didn't happen twenty years ago is that social engineering of that sort was not yet that advanced here.

Anyway, the book has a fantastic forward by Ron Paul and is just over six dollars American if you have a Kindle.  I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to know why our democracy is broken.  Now, as to how to fix it, that's a whole different problem ...

I'm hoping the new Conservative Party here, even if they aren't perfect will give our governing class a real scare if (and hopefully when)  they get the numbers to make it into Parliament.  And a new party forming, and taking on the powers that be without their consent, that is only possible under MMP.  And most likely STV, but really, I'd prefer people get one vote when they vote for a person, not 20.

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