Democracy is not a spectator sport

Currently, democracy tends to mean that every five years, we wait in a queue to put a little tick on a piece of paper beside the name of the person or party we like the most. This is based on what we have seen on TV or read in the papers during the few weeks before this bizarre ceremony. Then for five years we have no say in any of the decisions taken by our elected politicians; they do as they wish, or as they believe is best (hopefully). About a third of us don’t even bother to take part in this five-yearly ritual, either from ignorance or from apathy.

It is no wonder that in my polling for The Populist Signal, 65 per cent of respondents believe that the present system of governing Britain could be improved quite a lot or a great deal. In Scotland, people are even more disdainful, with 75 per cent favouring change.

It also likely explains why only 31 per cent of people in the UK believe that their voice counts in the decisions taken by local politicians. (In Scotland, it is similar with 34 per cent). On the national level, people feel even more ignored – only 21 per cent believe their voice counts (22 per cent in Scotland).

Is this really the best way to govern ourselves, with a system designed in the 18th century? We live in a 21st century society which is more interconnected and less hierarchical than ever before. Our governing institutions should be reflective of this change.

Furthermore, it is what people want. The polling shows a clear desire for active, deliberative forms of political participation.

Lees verder op de website van Claudia Chwalisz >>>