Part 2: Democratic Deficit

 

Part 2:

The Democratic Deficit:

The idea of a democratic deficit has been portrayed as a new term, invented solely for the aims of the Yes! Campaign in the Scottish referendum. In truth, this is a term that has been used for many year; both in relation to Scotland and even in relation to First Past the Post. It was a term thrown around prior to the vote on Scotland getting a devolved Parliament in 1998.

In real terms and in direct relation to this current referendum the term democratic deficit directly relates to the fact that Scotland has an inability to get the Government that it votes for.

What do we mean by that?

First and foremost we live in a democracy; or so we are told. This is blatant lies to be perfectly honest. Whilst the royal prerogative remains, and whilst the House of Lords continues to exist: we do not live in a proper democracy. Yes, it may be argued and argued well that the Queen does not actually have powers of veto; the simple fact is that ‘technically’ she does. Indeed, the last Monarch that attempted to use the powers of Royal Prerogative involved the separation of Ireland from the United Kingdom (they tried to prevent it). Although at that time it was assertively stated to the Sovereign that should they pursue such use of the Prerogative then Parliament would remove their power; there is nothing to say that such a power could not be used. This is a rather public law; theoretical argument: but it does exist.

More importantly than this, for me; are the House of Lords. We currently have approximately 1000 Lords with a right to sit in the House. Another 30 were added at the start of this month making that over 100 new peers added in the last 4 years, costing an average of £114’000 each per year, an increased running cost to the House of Lords of over £42 Million per year.[1] £150 Million in total.

It can be argued, successfully that the House of Lords powers in recent years has significantly diminished from their formative position of power. That, for me, is not enough. No one elects the members of the House of Lords; they are usually rich, elitist members of Society that are employed to share their expertise. The problem is that they do still have the power and influence to warp the intentions of Parliament (The ones we do vote for). In other words, the representative that you elect to represent you in the House of Commons is under the scrutiny and power of an unelected, elitist group over whom you have no control yet pay your taxes to support.

In order to remove some more of this democratic deficit, voting Yes! Will remove the House of Lords from any powers over Scotland.

The Real Deficit:

As alluded to earlier; the real deficit in Democracy is the fact that an entire ‘nation’ in Scotland can vote for the one Political party and not then be privy to its Government. This picture shows very clearly what I mean by this:

 

 

  • Between 1970 and 2014, Scotland will have had Tory-led governments we didn’t vote for in 26 out of 44 years
  • At the 2010 election we returned only one Tory MP – but we have a Tory-led government because of the 305 Tory MP’s elected elsewhere
  • Scotland’s 59 MPs can always be outvoted in the House of Commons by the 591 MPs from elsewhere in the UK
  • 76% of Scottish MPs voted against the further austerity cuts contained in George Osborne’s 2010 Finance Bill – but they went ahead nevertheless, with thousands of jobs lost
  • 82% of Scottish MPs voted against the new higher VAT rate of 20% – but VAT went up along with the prices we pay in the shops
  • 81% of Scottish MPs voted against the welfare cuts contained in the Welfare Benefits Up-rating bill – but a million Scottish families will see their incomes fall because MPs from the other parts of the UK voted a different way
  • 91% of Scottish MPs voted against the bedroom tax – but we’ve had it imposed anyway, with around 100,000 families in Scotland directly affected
  • 79% of Scottish MPs voted against new laws designed to prepare the Royal Mail for privatisation – yet Royal Mail was sold off, a disaster for postal services in Scotland

 

Now, I do not argue for one minute that with such a difference in Population, England should not have more seats in Parliament. As they represent so many more people then of course they should. The problem is that they are voting so very differently than those people in Scotland therefore we are left with a situation where a vote in Scotland is almost pointless, futile and a waste of time unless you happen to be in agreement with those South of the Border.

As a nation we are more supportive of left-wing politics. We are a nation steeped in trade unions and old Labour; of Socialism and equality. Unfortunately our comrades south of the Border are not so much of this view. Indeed, in the North of England they may share similar tendencies but the population mass in the South are certainly not and therefore the only way that Scotland can achieve the Government that it wants to lead it; to take it in the direction that the people choose is to vote Yes! To Independence.

Indeed, this is the main reason that I am a Yes! Vote. I believe in complete democracy, I believe in Scotland’s socialist values and I believe that with more control over our Government then we can help work together to achieve a happier medium for us all.

For the avoidance of doubt; in Parliamentary Elections I am now a Green Party Vote. I was previous a supporter of the SNP Party however my loyalties have shifted further towards the Policies of the Green Party; before anyone feels the need to ask.

At present we do not even have a democratically elected Government in Westminster. The Con-Dem Coalition was not elected to govern our country but rather a marriage of convenience for both parties to work together and feel the power for themselves.

If you want to live in a democratic nation, where the majority of the people in Scotland can elect and hold to task a Government that we voted for then the only vote that you can make is Yes! In September. A Vote for NO! Is a vote for NO change, NO democracy, NO powers…NO future.

Indeed, upon a NO vote in September I actually question the need to vote in UK Elections. It won’t make any difference anyway because for over 40 years the Governments of this Country; Great Britain, would have existed anyway if not one single Scot had cast their vote.

An end to governments for which Scots did not vote! It is one of the Yes camp’s most persuasive and beguiling arguments for independence. There are only 129 MSP’s and that number will not drastically change post- independence meaning that the people of Scotland would only have 129 elected members making decisions within their country as opposed to the 1500 elected and unelected members currently making those decisions. Sure, it gives greater influence to those 129 individuals, however it also gives far greater responsibility and more need to answer or be brought to task by those in the Scottish electorate.

 

“We have the wealth and the means. Twenty-five years on from Mrs Thatcher’s hated Poll Tax and a year on from David Cameron’s cruel and punitive Bedroom Tax, we also have powerful reminders of why it’s time for Scotland to find the confidence to take charge of our own future.”

 

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530171/David-Cameron-fire-cost-running-House-Lords-leaps-42m.html

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