I have just finished the 132 page book 'Democracy Under Siege' by Frank Furedi. In it he traces the history of democracy and the struggle to achieve the level of democracy we have but he fails completely to offer any suggestions for ways of improving things.
The key lesson that has finally sunk in is that the people of this country have still not achieved real democracy as the Representative Democracy we have is not real democracy.
Democracy as explained many times before comes from the Greek words demos meaning 'People' and kratos meaning 'Power' thus 'People Power'.
So, while back in ancient Greece, when discussions about democracy first arose, the closest they got to implementing democracy was the use of sortition, selection by lottery, to administer their cities. The trouble was with the likes of Plato and Socrates as strong opponents of democracy, for fear of rule by the uneducated mob, the development and progression of democracy stalled.
Moving on the reality is that throughout history the 'elites' have always argued against granting the people more power believing that the serious business of governance need to be left to the well-educated. Coming right up to the present day, and our Covid crisis, we find the situation even worse as government minsters, while still not trusting the views of the people, are now hiding behind 'Expert' opinion. Our place is not to argue but to accept and do what we are told.
Indeed for hundreds of years the people in this country had no real power being ruled by an absolute monarch or elsewhere by dictators and under both regimes the people were kept firmly in their place. Since its concept real democracy has been in short supply in the world with perhaps the Direct Democracy in Switzerland the closest system around that gives the people real power.
However, from around the 1650s the likes of the Dutch philosopher Spinoza and others like Kant and Paine started to seriously address the issue of democracy which accelerated with three main events. They were the English Civil War, the American War of Independence and of course the French Revolution.
Then spurred on by the Industrial Revolution and later the formation of unions and of course improvements in education the people, following and supporting the Chartist movement, started to demand a greater say in their governance with of course demands for the vote. The momentum gradually built up and eventually became unstoppable and politicians realised they had to act and from the mid1800s political reforms were placed on the statute book with, for example, a vote for every man over 21 becoming law in 1884.
In the 1930s the spread of communism saw the talk of democracy again coming to the fore but nothing much developed or changed and today we are left with our system of Representative Democracy and a political class who, in the main think, they are better than us and still don't want the people to have a greater say or more power. The hash our politicians, of all colours whether Brexiteers or Remainers, have made of agreeing a comprehensive trade deal with the EU 27, that does not harm our economy, proves beyond doubt that the greater say and power the people have in their governance the better.
Be under no doubt that our current system of Representative Democracy leaves power firmly in the hands of our politicians who seldom if ever listen to the majority and spend their time pandering to the latest pressure group often promoted and even supported by the MSM. The only power we have is at election time, so one day every five years, and increasingly a large proportion don't vote believing it a waste of time as our politicians once in office don’t listen to them.
The absolute irony is that politicians and other 'elites' today, who are still suspicious and against the opinion of the majority, are they very same people who wish the majority to accept the views of minority groups, like Extinction Rebellion or Black Lives Matter to name but two recent examples, who they either openly support or do little to show they disagree with them.
The concerns of further democracy, leading to mob rule, is a genuine concern which is why our fourth demand, 'The People's Consent', is so careful framed to ensure the power granted to the people cannot be abused and of course would be backed up by constitutional restraints in a written constitution – which is our sixth demand.
Further I would point out that the education and awareness of the public now clearly exceeds that of the peasants hundreds of years ago and when asked or given I'm convinced the public's decisions will be as good if not better than those made by our out of touch politicians.
It is amazing to think that despite the word 'Democracy' having been around and discussed for around 2500 years we have still not achieved real democracy in this country and I strongly believe it is time the cause for real democracy is advanced which is why I support our six demands.