Saturday, 28 August 2010

More evidence of the sham of democracy

My regular reader will be quite aware that I have become disillusioned with the many blessings of democracy.

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.


RantinRab said...

I have always firmly believed that our real enemy is our local 'authorities'.

These complete bastards have more control over our daily lives than parliament.

The majority of the elected 'council' are only there to further their own ambitions whilst, as you say, the real decisions are made by faceless bureaucrats who are unaccountable to,pretty much, no one.

That's why you will find a lot of posts on my blog attacking councils.

Chuckles said...

There are no blessings to democracy. No hope of success, without a heavily qualified and limited suffrage.
Constitutional republics, benevolent despotism and similar are probably a much better bet.

sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

I'd say sack the lot, but the dangers of a despotic regime taking over, run by someone like Gordon Brown would be a distinct possibility.

Anonymous said...

"run" by ... Gordon Brown?
I think you mean "run into the ground" by ... Gordoom BRuin

Anonymous said...

Was your daughter's first word "cunt"? I want to be an anarchist too, I've got the black clothes and a bag of bricks, where do you meet up? Well, that's the common view of anarchist, you've got a long battle on your hands. In fact it would be fair to say you'll go to your grave wishing for an end to democracy as it is in it's current. I'd focus on something that you'll actually make a difference to. Databases maybe?

Dave H said...

"...he is increasingly disillusioned with Parliamentary democracy..."

It sounds like he's fine with democracy, it's the absence of it that's causing him disillusion.

Anonymous said...

I recently received the annual threatening letter from the Electoral Registration folks. It appears that if I wish to refuse to take part in their "democratic" fig leaf, I will be fined £1000.

"They" mustn't lose control, must they!

Anonymous said...

I did;nt vote for Democracy

Horshamite said...

The so called Cabinet system was forced on local government by Blair. At one stage the Tories were going to allow councils to go back to the old committee structure. Not sure if this is Coalition policy but if so it will be very interesting to see if the Cabinet members who run the show will be prepared to give up their power.

Simon Cooke said...


The proposal is to allow councils to return to the 'committee system' if they so wish - and one or two may do so. But don't hold your breath - politicaal groups on councils tend to be so supine you could get the slaughter of the first born through without demur is you use the right words and polish the right egos.

jorb said...

You're missing the point. this has always been the case even back in the first (greek) republics. The one and only advantage of democracy is that when things get bad enough, you can change rulers without blood in the street. The rest of the "advantages" are wishful thinking and marketing bullshit.

Demetrius said...

Decades ago we had a sort of cabinet government in our council. The Leader would invite a select group of trusted thugs, sorry thinkers, into his office and then ply them with large supplies of the municipal whisky from the cabinet in his office. We did make decisions but all too often could not remember what they were or why. He died, much mourned, of cirrhosis of the liver.

Anonymous said...

In recent years, at least one of the European states (it was either the Netherlands or Belgium), ran perfectly well with no national government at all, for several months. None of the pols had enough votes to form a government, so they just didn't have one. The public were very happy with this state of affairs. It only came to an end because the European Council of Ministers sulked about it.