Anybody who reads Douglas Carswell's blog will know that he is increasingly disillusioned with Parliamentary democracy. He points out that the bulk of power to actually decide and implement things is limited to predominantly civil servants, quangocrats, bureaucrats and technocrats.
The visible levers of power are held by a coterie of advisers, many completely unelected and even deemed to be outside any kind of office at all. A number of "ministers" do exist, but they're just figureheads.
Mercifully, however, there is one place where democracy still works: local government.
Most – 99% of the decisions on policy taken by local councils are not taken following debate at a committee. Councillors – well, most of us – simply aren’t involved at all in the decisions taken by the councils to which we are elected.
So why do we bother to elect councillors?
The truth is that decisions in local government aren’t taken in the manner most ordinary people – including quite well-informed ordinary people – believe is the case. Us councilors no longer sit on various committees in numbers reflecting the political balance of the council. Eight or ten councilors make up a (usually) one-party executive – often pompously called the ‘cabinet’ – and it is here that the decisions are taken. But understand that any discussion takes places away from the scrying eyes of the public – in Bradford we had a thing called “CMT” consisting of Executive Members and the Council’s “Strategic Directors” where the real decisions were made. You must also understand that most of the decisions are made under “delegated authority” by one or other ‘strategic director’.
At every level of government, democracy is the fig leaf that hides the real operation of how things are done.
Think about that the next time you try to argue that democracy somehow blesses the thieving bastardry of the state.