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Ghost Dog

(16,881 posts)
4. Larry Elliot, definitely. Many at the well-connected Telegraph too. Any intelligent,
Sat Jul 7, 2012, 10:54 AM
Jul 2012

still not totally corrupted nor totally dispirited (or just terrified of losing their well-paid non-productive 'jobs' and ability to pay 'bills') source is good.

Action, reaction, revolt even better.

British democracy in terminal decline, warns report

Exclusive: Corporate power, unrepresentative politicians and apathetic voters leave UK 'increasingly unstable', says study

A study into the state of democracy in Britain over the last decade warns it is in "long-term terminal decline" as the power of corporations keeps growing, politicians become less representative of their constituencies and disillusioned citizens stop voting or even discussing current affairs.

The report by Democratic Audit shared exclusively with the Guardian notes there have been many positive advances over the last 10 years: stronger select committees of MPs holding ministers and civil servants to account; devolution of power to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and publication of much more information about politicians' expenses and party donors. But it found evidence of many other areas where Britain appeared to have moved further away from its two benchmarks of representative democracy: control over political decision-making, and how fairly the system reflects the population it represents – a principle most powerfully embedded in the concept of one person, one vote.

Among its concerns, identified from databases of official statistics and public surveys, were that Britain's constitutional arrangements are "increasingly unstable" owing to changes such as devolution; public faith in democratic institutions "decaying"; a widening gap in the participation rates of different social classes of voters; and an "unprecedented" growth in corporate power, which the study's authors warn "threatens to undermine some of the most basic principles of democratic decision-making"...

... "The reality is that representative democracy, at the core, has to be about people voting, has to be about people engaging in political parties, has to be about people having contact with elected representatives, and having faith and trust in elected representatives, as well as those representatives demonstrating they can exercise political power effectively and make decisions that tend to be approved of," said Wilks-Heeg.

"All of that is pretty catastrophically in decline. How low would turnout have to be before we question whether it's really representative democracy at all?" The UK's democratic institutions were strong enough to keep operating with low public input, but the longer people avoided voting and remained disillusioned, the worse the problem would get, said Wilks-Heeg...

/... http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/06/british-democracy-decline-report

The corrosive crisis of trust in our institutions

...Such shenanigans are hardly likely to restore voters’ declining faith that Parliament will do the right thing by the country. Nor were this week’s antics in the Commons, which saw the most senior politicians in the land trading insults over the proposed inquiry into the banking industry. It was a sign of Parliament’s diminished status that Labour did not appear to consider it a fit and proper place in which to conduct such an inquiry. If MPs no longer trust themselves to act in the public interest, why should the rest of us have faith in them?

This lack of trust in politicians is scarcely new, although it has certainly grown since the expenses scandal. Yet historically, the institution of Parliament itself managed to rise above the incompetence and venality of its occupants. No more. Ever since Britain’s accession to what was then the EEC in 1973, Parliament has ceded sovereignty to an unaccountable and undemocratic supranational body, undermining its own authority. This sense that we are no longer in control of our own destiny feeds into a view that the wishes of the people are simply ignored by their rulers, who make promises that cannot ever be kept.

This phenomenon is not confined to politics. The atomisation of a once largely homogeneous society; demands for greater transparency in decision-making; increased media scrutiny; the communications revolution – all mean that people no longer accept what they are told without question (and that those in power can no longer brush their failings under the carpet). The age of deference to distant and unseen authority has long passed. Indeed, Parliament is by no means the only institution that can no longer rely upon almost unconditional respect. The Church, the police, the media, the judiciary, the BBC, the Civil Service, doctors, teachers and, of course, bankers: just a generation ago, these would have been considered pillars of society. Yet they are all, to a greater or lesser extent, suffering a crisis of trust. The Armed Forces have retained popular esteem, largely because of their sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan; yet this week we have seen them further undermined by cuts in the Army. Of all the traditional institutions, perhaps only the monarchy has emerged relatively unscathed – and even that could not have been said just 15 years ago, when its status looked decidedly shaky.

These are dangerous trends. Our nation is built around our institutions, and to see so many in trouble at once is disquieting at a time when so many other uncertainties crowd in on us, not least the grim prospects for the economy. Yet it is hardly surprising that many young people scorn traditional organisations that no longer appear to have faith in themselves, nor seem relevant to their lives – in which too many decisions are taken for self-serving, short-term reasons, and too few people are prepared to tell things as they are rather than dissemble.

/... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9381419/The-corrosive-crisis-of-trust-in-our-institutions.html

Whether you're coming at the crux of the problem from the 'left' or the 'right', let's join forces to overthrow this outrageous tyranny (involving, yes, Americanisation and deliberate dumbing-down) and this suicidal sense of hopelessness and apathy.
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