A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Democracy in Decline

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".

Oh my god, parliamentary democracy system in Great Britain where we inherited our system of government from is “unstable”, “decaying” and in decline, that could not happen here in Canada could it?
Woops, to late!






This is just a small sampling with numerous links in each piece to further reading. I see no point in repeating myself endlessly, I begin to despair that enough citizens will wake up in time to turn things around .... and by the time we get to try and elect a government that gives a damn about democracy, parliamentary process (is there such an animal?) and Ordinary Canadians, as opposed to Corporate Multinationals, power and control, will it already be too late? Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers


John B. said...

You are onto something. Apart from global warming, the biggest issue facing the world in the next two centuries will be the struggle over how and by whom societies will be organized. It comes down to Popular Democracy vs. Stateless Corporations. Or, in other words, who will make policy -- voters through universal suffrage or corporate boards selected by institutional corporate "shareholders"?

Western Civilization has seen such momentous shifts in the organization of society before. The Roman Empire; the succeeding thousand-year reign of "Christianity" in the form of rule by the Pope and Coll;ege of Cardinals in Rome; the rise of the nation-state and governance by royal houses (whose earliest years are cataloged by Barbara Tuchman in "A Distant Mirror"); the gradual secularization of the nation-state and extension of democracy in place of royalty (and its twin, dictatorship) from the late eighteenth century to the end of the twentieth century.

Make no mistake: corporations and their handmaidens sense it, even if they don't yet fully articulate their convictions. In the U.S., many Republican office holders increasingly speak of the need to pass laws favoring the "stakeholders" (i.e., rich people) and taxing the poor who, they claim, 'don't have skin in the game.'

Of course, those Republicans -- and a good many Democrats -- are owned lock, stock, and barrel by stateless corporations. None of them see anything wrong in putting all their money in overseas accounts, or states restricting the ballot to people who can afford to pay what amounts to a poll tax; or Romney not letting voters see if he really paid any income taxes over the last ten years.

"Patriotism" once was a word that meant love of country (the nation-state). You hear much less of that these days than worshipful praise for so-called "job creators."

There will not be any seminal event over the next century or two, any more than there was at similar flexion points in history. The loss of democratic power, influence, and sensibilities will happen insidiously, by degrees so small as to escape wide-spread notice.

Then, one day people will wake up and realize they and everything they own are at the mercy of stateless corporations. And it will seem normal to them; perhaps even just.

Indeed, people will look back at our era with wonder if not disgust. "How on earth," they will say, "could those primitives have allowed just anyone at all -- even poor people and ordinary housewives and simple shopkeepers and students not fully educated, for goodness' sake -- to have a say in picking their policy-makers?"

I'm not saying such a future is inevitable. I'm saying there are plenty of politicians in the pay of stateless corporations who are working toward that day, whether they realize or not. And, I'm suggesting that day will come unless the rest of us take care to nurture and preserve and defend democracy against its enemies.

Rural said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment John, I could not agree more.

As you say:-
"The loss of democratic power, influence, and sensibilities will happen insidiously, by degrees so small as to escape wide-spread notice.

Then, one day people will wake up and realize they and everything they own are at the mercy of stateless corporations."

I wish I could be more optimistic but I suspect it is going to take a major upheaval before the majority 'wake up'!