Category Archives: Democracy

Labour, Syria and the problem with mandates…

I posted this over on Slugger O’Toole earlier.

Here’s a pull-quote:

When some of us, back in August, said “putting Corbyn in charge of the Labour Party is like filling an ‘unleaded’ car with diesel”, this is what we meant. It actually won’t work. We weren’t trying to talk those voters out of something sensible. We were saying “this is bound to end in tears.”

‘Democracy’ is not the same thing as ‘politics’ – a digression

Because this is the early part of an experiment with long-form writing broken down into blog-posts, at the end of the last post, I thought I needed to digress a bit into the question of how politics and democracy isn’t the same thing. I’ve tried out for this and here are the posts.

  1. Democracy rather than politics?
  2. If you can’t beat ’em, should you join ’em?
  3. Challenging ‘political’ rule – why now?

I hope they’re worth a look – I don’t want to break the flow (!) here…..

Democracy as a political objective

French Women's Suffrage poster

Democracy – a political end in itself.

In my last couple of posts, I’ve summed up what I think is a reasonably logical argument in favour of the politics of compromise, and limited expectations, at least when it applies to citizens who are dealing with political parties or politicians.

To add an important caveat, this is not the same thing as having limited expectations or a lack of radical political ambition. I would argue that it is the opposite.

I’ve argued that limiting our expectations when dealing politicians achieves a great deal more than standing on principle and being reluctant to compromise, and that people who may not be inclined to compromise (because they see themselves as being very principled) are actually being very self-defeating in doing so.

I can think of one very obvious objection to my position. It’s one that I’d call a political, rather than a democratic objection. Politically, there’s an obvious case to make: Other parties win elections and then impose their programmes on us. Why shouldn’t we?

It’s an argument for soft-pedaling your principles before an election and then implementing your programme in the hope that the voters will realise your wisdom, or that you will get away with it and avoid any kind of repeal (or worse, a backlash). Continue reading