09 November 2016

Democracy and the Future

trump (noun)

(in bridge, whist, and similar card games) a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others, which can win a trick where a card of a different suit has been led.

Cripes, fissogs, bletherin' barndoors (or fill in your own expletive).

I expect you and a few billion people are recovering from the results of yesterday's US presidential elections. My daughter having just clocked off from a singularly quiet night shift in A&E rang me at 7.30am to tell me the shocking news. She'd been up all night watching the election results coverage on the A&E news feed, given that there were few patients to tend to.

First Brexit, now the US presidential elections. The whole world is in outrage, turmoil and, without being overly dramatic, a tad fearful of what the future brings.What with Russia recently posturing with a dilapidated aircraft carrier sailing close to the Straits of Dover, not to mention threatening to reclaim old USSR states and doing its worst in Syria, it could be World War One and Two all over again.

It occurs to me that the problem with Brexit and with the US elections is that democracy is failing to provide the ideal answer (and by that I don't mean the "right" answer). I've long thought that, whilst in theory democracy is by far the better pattern to follow, it still does not deliver the ideal solution. How many times have you and millions of others voted for a political party but failed to see it in government? Either that party has lost in your constituency or it has won in your constituency but  failed to win every other constituency. For example, 60% of the electorate as individuals might have voted Labour, but a Conservative government was elected  because the majority of constituency wins were Conservative.

Brexit is another good example. The referendum vote was 52:48 and many Remainers have been quick to point out that this was such a close call as to render the result meaningless. But if it had been done on a constituency basis, the outcome might have been different. By that I mean, supposing each constituency had a 52:48 outcome, then there would have been a 100% vote for Brexit. Who is to say that in a general election, if we had a referendum rather than a constituency vote, one party would have an overwhelming majority over the other, when it might have been the opposite with a constituency system.  So too in the US.... if all the individual votes were added up, would it amount to Clinton winning?

Of course, you need an opposition to make things balanced and fair, so the old idea of proportional representation seems to me to be a far fairer system and why it has never been accepted here in the UK  I don't know, although the Liberals did try. That way the votes of the entire country would be added up to find the overwhelming majority to take power and then the individual constituency results would be taken into account too to make sure that each constituency was also fairly represented locally and in Parliament.

Meanwhile, as the Chinese say, we live in interesting times. Just how interesting, only time will tell, but please let it be peaceful and not come to war.


John said...

I agree with your sentiments entirely. Sad days, worrying days.

Maggie May said...

I've always thought that each individual vote should be added up..... but what a mammoth task that would be, adding up etc. And how would Members of Parliament (over here) be allotted space in The House Of Commons?
We do have to beware of Dictatorship, though I do agree that Democracy doesn't seem to be giving the most sensible outcomes lately.
Your post was food for thought.
Maggie x

DD's Diary said...

This is just what Child One said ... which is a bit worrying as I still think democracy is our best option. Maybe better education would help?! Yes, I agree, very interesting times. I bet bunker sales are going through the roof ;)

Ellen said...

Wise and interesting words. There is certainly a feeling of the need for change flowing through the world right now.

Shammickite said...

What a well written post. The world has become a frightening place in the last few months. So many changes that I never expected would happen, and now the election of Mr Trump and his racist advisor.

Unknown said...

As an American, I will add; I am very disappointed in the election. The polls were off by vast amounts and I believe it's because no one wanted to Admit they would vote for Trump. I am a democrat and my vote was squarely with Clinton from the gate, but I know many who refused to admit they were going to vote for Trump. However, once it became apparent he would win those same people were loud and proud about their vote for him. It was quite an interesting thing to see.

I'm afraid that now the senate, congress and executive branches are all republican we can expect a spiral downward in relations with other countries and amongst ourselves.

Trump is appointing outwardly xenophobic, racist, misogynists, cabinet members.
I can't help but feel I am reading a page in future history book that has yet to be written that starts: the United States of Americas 2016 presidential election was a key event that led to the beginning of world war three..

I hope I am wrong.

Leah from Louisiana