democracy

Is Democracy A Check On Power?

The biggest encroachment on civil liberties has taken place in 2020, and under a Conservative government.  How did this happen without any scrutiny?

Democracy was one of the first things to be suspended, so how can it be used to check the power of those at the top?

Do opposition parties ever oppose when it really matters?  Or when they sense a threat to the entire establishment, do they buckle up for the ride, so as to maintain their place in the system?

And what of the rule of law?  Sacrosanct for some, but if bad laws are passed, isn’t it our moral duty to disobey them?

We discuss all this and more, in the latest edition of Sounding Board.

Photo by Jannes Van den wouwer on Unsplash


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Rigged Elections and Whether the Right is a Threat

On this our 50th edition, Andrew puts to Nic a thought experiment where a general election is rigged in order to get freedom lovers in power.
Would that be a good thing?  What are the moral implications?  Should outcomes matter more than methods?
This leads us onto whether the political right are a threat any more and whether we should only be afraid of the left taking control of the levers of government.
Finally, what of the terms “far left” and “far right”?  Are they used appropriately in the legacy media and corporate press?
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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.

Web: https://soundingboard.com

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This edition can be found here: https://youtu.be/Qs10E52GSRE

Please reach out to us on Twitter:

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Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

If we’re going to argue about the tyranny of the majority, I will win

So, we’ve finally left the EU. But this hasn’t stopped a few ardent remainers from trotting out some of the arguments they’ve been making for the past three and a half years.

The one that fascinates me most is the one that goes something like “x voted to remain”. You’ve seen the claims. “Scotland voted remain” or “London voted Remain”. Sometimes they’re grouped together, for impact, like this tweet from a disgraced member of the corporate press:

This always seems to me to be a strange argument, but one I’m actually happy to back (although they won’t like the support I’m giving it). It’s one of those points that you know they just haven’t thought about enough. They cannot have thought it through, or taken it to the next stage (never mind its logical conclusion).

Let’s do that for them.

They’re point must, for they wouldn’t have said it otherwise, be that this is somehow important. That x (let’s use Scotland) voted to remain. That the people of Scotland (a subsection of the broader referendum area) are being overruled. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that this was a UK referendum. There were no constituencies, no cities, just one big vote, winner takes all. This wasn’t a first past the post vote for a number of seats, like in a General Election. Any area that remainers are speaking of is arbitrary (unless it’s the whole of the UK). So why are they doing it?

Is it that it’s bad for a larger population to govern a smaller one? To somehow dictate terms to people who don’t want decisions imposed on them? Because I say let’s take this further. You talk about Scotland. Not everyone in Scotland voted to remain. Many voted to leave. What about them? If it’s not ok for the larger part of the UK to dominate a smaller part, why is it ok for the larger part of Scotland to do the very same thing?

I love the idea that a larger group should not impose its will on a smaller group, which is exactly what they don’t realise they’re saying.

If Scotland shouldn’t have to listen to therest of the UK, why should Glasgow have to listen to the rest of Scotland? Why should a village with a Glasgow postcode listen to the rest of Glasgow? Why should households in that postcode listen to the rest of them? In fact, why should any individual listen to any majority? Why should anyone have power over another, simply because they’re larger in number?

This is the logical conclusion of their argument.

It also helps us to point out that the larger the democratic area, the greater the number of people who will be disappointed. So why do they use it to argue for membership of an organisation that has the ability to impose its will on multiple countries every time a new law or regulation is passed? Indeed, if your argument is against the tyranny of the majority, you should logically be calling for the smallest possible majority to prevent any unnecessary tyranny whatsoever. Which leads you to the democracy of one: The individual.

This is why I’m all for their argument. Why should people tell you how to live your life because they outnumber you? Why should any group impose their morals on a group of lesser members? Why should a number of people have power, authority and control over any smaller number?

Let’s not play the democracy game. It’s easy to talk like Brendan O’Neill and say that we should always rely on the wisdom of crowds, that we should trust in the democratic will of the people and that we should put our faith in the collective decision making of the entire population. Collective decision making gave us Theresa May and over any reasonable length of time you, personally, will be overruled by the majority for no good reason.

Instead, let’s play them at their own game and play to win. Yes. You’re quite right. The rest of Britain shouldn’t impose its will on Scotland and nobody else should impose their will on me.

 

Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

Democracy, Libertarianism and the Trouble with Voting

Recorded straight after the last edition, we follow on with a discussion on the problems of our democratic system and whether we only have a choice of the “least worst” from here on in.

We talk about whether voting matters in a “safe seat”, and whether we have been unwittingly encouraging others to vote on twitter by pointing out how dangerous the Labour Party policies are.

Should Nic hold his nose and vote Tory to stop the Communists? Where do you draw the line with Socialism? Should you always vote for the least Socialist party?

We discuss all of this, and a hypothetical Libertarian Party that would have the power to dismantle all of it…if only they were voted in.

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
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This edition can be found here: https://youtu.be/TUBof8fsMBY
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Proroguing Parliament: What does it really mean for Brexit?

As predicted, Boris Johnson has decided to end the current parliamentary session (the longest in modern times), and trigger a new Queen’s Speech. Remainists are naturally going crazy, and talking of constitutional outrage.

But what does it actually mean for Brexit on 31 October? Is there time for fast-tracked, Bercow-enabled law that would either revoke Article 50, extend the deadline, or somehow prevent a “no deal”? What about passing a law that would stop prorogation itself? Is there even time left now in the parliamentary session?

We discuss all this and the finer details of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, and whether Boris has pulled a blinder.

Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/14/enacted

House of Commons Library Briefing Paper on Prorogation – https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8589

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
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What’s Up With Communism?

This week another book on communism was published. We know what you’re thinking. This time, it’s going to be different… So we question various obvious, and not so obvious, aspects to communism. What happens to privacy when others decide what I am allowed? How much slavery is acceptable? How is value determined? How can communism cope with scarcity? After all, resources aside, there are only a certain amount of man (or robot) hours in a day, limiting what we can build.

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Lib Dems and Change UK: Anti-democratic Politics in the UK

In this latest episode, we discuss the Lib Dems and their recent successes in the EU elections and the latest polls. We reason why they’ve experienced a recent uplift before discussing Change UK: The Independent Group and why they’ve seen precisely the opposite.

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Reaction to the Labour Party split

It finally happened. More than 3 years after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party and became Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, 7 Labour MPs have formally left the Labour Party and formed The Independent Group of MPs.

We discuss how they did it, what their motives might be, how they come across, and what it means for Labour, Conservatives, Brexit and more.

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People’s something – where have I heard that before?

Albania. Bulgaria. Czechoslovakia. Hungary. Poland. Romania. Yugoslavia.

What do they have in common?

How about Ethiopia?

Add in China and North Korea.

All have been or currently are countries that started their name with “People’s”.

Most of them liked to add “Republic” after that and some added “Democratic”.  All gives a certain legitimacy doesn’t it.

If we say it, declare it, name it, then it must be so.

Of course most people recognise that it is farce.

It is the mark of the authoritarian regime.

Clothe yourself in talk of the people and indeed in the people having a vote and surely everyone will buy into that?

No, they don’t.

For starters, let’s observe how many of those countries I’ve listed still have “People’s” in their title. Very few.

But yet with absolutely no irony – with dead straight faces in fact – was the “People’s Vote” campaign launched.

True democrats (God isn’t it depressing when you have to put “true” or “real”, “genuine” or “proper” in front of a term because it’s been distorted to mean the opposite?) have easily recognised and can explain away the call for a second referendum.

Yet as we approach Brexit Day, with only weeks to go, the mask seems to have slipped in the People’s Vote campaign.

Sure we can easily label it the Loser’s Vote, the Politician’s Vote, an affront to democracy etc. But actually none of those things need saying any more.

Whereas for over 2 years the opponents of leaving the European Union have couched their language in terms of “having a final say”, “making sure” and other such nonsense – all the while of course repeating that they “respect the outcome of the referendum” – they now have lost that campaign message discipline.

They now just say it like it is. Dammit we need to stop Brexit.

We were all too stupid the first time. We need to Remain.

Guardian journalists were predictably first.

Jonathan Freedland (what an ironic surname) says now is the time to just campaign for remain. No ifs or buts.

Polly Toynbee has gone one better by claiming that now some old people have died, their votes must be discarded.

Heaven forbid that the oldest in society might have the most experience and better judgement than those just starting out.

Of course democrats or generally sensible people don’t campaign for the votes of younger adults to be halved or discounted. They believe in the basic principles of one person one vote.

I thought we could all agree on that. But then the EU referendum occurred and the true colours of the opposition were shown.

Legal challenges, mud thrown, campaigns for overturning democratic decisions.

But we shouldn’t be surprised should we?

It’s a “People’s” Vote after all.

Photo by Dirk Spijkers on Unsplash

Every day hypocrisy: You cannot have it both ways

In this edition, we recap on what actually happened during & after our last podcast recording, and how it informed the way we discuss & debate issues.

By understanding & agreeing each others points of view, a whole vocabulary & context is created that makes examining issues far easier.

And then we explore a list of popular political, social & cultural contradictions.

Can you really have it both ways? We debate the hypocrisy and stupidity of our favourites.

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