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Politics - Democracy For Dummies

Date: Tuesday, 7th, February, 2017

(Up-date: the sudden call for a June 2017 general election - #brelection - add another fun dimension to this guide.)

Last year was quite interesting for Democracy, what the the exciting Mr Trump prancing into a White House, and the British having a bit of a fit of the giggles with BREXIT and a General Election putting an Administration into power with the slimmest of majorities. But how does the British system work, and why did BRXIT work against the religion of democracy?

In democracy we get a chance to put someone or other into power to speak for us to the Government. Note here that, theoretically, the House of Commons IS NOT the government, although they have been assuming these powers through the ongoing campaign they call The Primacy of The Commons - that's like an autocratic absolute monarchy of 650 people, and we know what happens to absolute monarchs in Britain (chop, chop).

We the people (ha!) get to vote for our local bloke (or blokette) to speak for us, so we troop out on a dank morning to cast our vote to the winds of fate. Theoretically. However out of 100 voters only around 60 turn out to have a flutter on this lottery. This is called a High Turnout.

So only 60 people vote out of a potential 100 voters.


Our voting system is called first past the post (nothing to do with the game pass the parcel) and the one who gets just over half of the votes in the Winner! Yippee!

That means that out of the 60 voters the winner only needs, at the most, 31 votes. However, with several candidates to vote for those 60 votes could be spread across several people and the winner may get fewer than 31 votes. Let's be really generous and say he/she/it won with 31 votes and scarpers off to Parliament for fives years and forms a gang, which are often called Parties to run the House of Commons.


However, not all gangs are created equal, some are tiny little things and others are real gang with gang colours (Red, Blue, Puce?). The biggest gang needs to have just over half the seats in the Big Boys Room/Padded Cell called the House of Commons.

That means that of the 31% voters sending representatives into the Padded Cell, only half (about 16%) are needed to form a slim majority in there.


They Rule!



Out of the Big Gang of Winners, representing around 16% of the actual voters in their specific constituencies, a VERY SMALL NUIMBER are then elected to form a Cabinet to actually govern the country of 60+ million.

The cabinet is often made of best friends and mates of those who support them in the winning team.  It is the job of this very small team of special friends and best mates to run the entire country with professional skill, vision, wisdom and insight, steering the nation through thick and thin, through austerity and recession and other events in the country under the guiding leadership of their Team Captain and BFFN (Best Friend For Now) the Prime Minister.

They play important roles in many debates and discussions and all have their best interests at heart.



And that is why a typical Administration represents a tiny proportion of the population's effective speaking power and influence. Just 16%, give or take a few percent here and there. The other 84% of the population can be safely ignored.

That's democracy.

Until the next referendum when the people get a real voice, and that's a totally different democracy.


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And who are these insightful, wise, knowledgeable people to lead what was once upon a fairy time the most powerful nation on earth?  Most voters know their names, but very, very, very few know them, very few know their backgrounds, their experience, their ability to perform these highly responsible jobs.

Everyone has to trust The Party, Big Brother offering up these names as suitable for their local community.

Historic Changes

Democracy in Britain is thought of as a great historic tradition going back in time for hundreds of years.  This is a deluded nonsense.  Only in 1918 did women, half the population, having been repressed for the previous couple of thousand years by European influences of empires, priests and other nonsense, get the vote and finally have a say in the nature and flavour of administration and the democratic situation.  This is just the most recent change in an ever-evolving process of transformation and growth in Britain's history.

NOT Democracy

As for the "traditions" of democracy, drawing on the inspirations of ancient Greek and Roman traditions of democracy, so called Classic Democracy.  This isn't British democracy.

Although Parliament and the Primacy of the Commons has drifted in the direction of absolute near-republican power over the rest of the government system in Britain (Monarch & Cabinet, Lords, Commons for the three pillars of British government) the long evolution of British leadership has always been around liberty and distributed not centralised power.

Today the Commons power-brokers see their role as Administration - the principal role being the setting of regulation of society (laws and bureaucracies) and taxation to pay for such increasing regulation. Visionary leadership is best left, as it has always been, to those with the ability to fulfil the role, whether a strong monarchy, or free men and women taking up the responsibilities needed to lead the country into a better future and take the professional, knowledgeable, experienced decisions needed to lead the world.


MORE THOUGHTS:  for further brief thoughts on the evolution of Britiah liberty and politics see this supplementary article: BREXIT & British Liberty.



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Keys: Democracy, British Politics, British Parliament, general election, how British democracy works, a dummies guide to British politics.

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Acknowledgments: Vulcan photography in Woodford section, courtesy of Tim Bell