For Scottish Democracy
Democracy in our times has become like a prostitute referred to as a ‘working girl’ by a ream of clients trying desperately to block out the act they are engaged in. Indeed the contradictions stemming from the word democracy have become so apparent that this noblest of ideas risks losing its meaning altogether.
Aside from the criminal use of the word as an excuse for economic exploitation and wars to obtain resources, in Britain we seem destined to inhabit a cycle of disappointment and disillusionment, with voter turnouts, particularly in the most deprived areas, remaining pitifully low. This is something that everyone in public life should be ashamed of and that all public figures within a democracy should focus on as a matter of urgency.
It is little wonder that, within the Westminster political system, individuals feel increasingly alienated. While many know that their vote will not count, not once, even in the course of a lifetime, they are told constantly to be proud of this ‘mother of parliaments’ this ancient yet innovative democracy, reaching into the mythical past unbroken, as the oldest functioning democracy in the world. Everyone forgets that this last claim actually belongs to Iceland.
Indeed what sensible person could believe that a political system riddled with archaic conventions and procedures is in any sense truly democratic? A system lacking crucial innovations from the previous two centuries such as a written constitution, a functioning second chamber, a properly established executive, or – most importantly of all – any kind of proportionality in the election of its legislature.
Yet like so many issues in British politics these massive flaws, resulting in so much apathy and disenfranchisement, are swept under the carpet, as if the palatial architecture of Westminster is enough to silence such concerns. Relatively minor issues such as MP’s expenses become seized upon in a media fuelled pantomime in which ‘restoring public trust’ is achieved by focusing on a few individual extravagances while major constitutional time bombs are kicked into the long grass.
Yet of all the anomalies underpinning British politics those stemming from devolution are undoubtedly the most significant, and the least talked about. It is fundamentally outrageous that some citizens within the same state should be entitled to vastly more representation than others. From a moral standpoint such a status quo is simply unacceptable.
Westminster has provided no solid way forward on this issue. It is one of many marginal, barely spoken about problems that cut to the very core of public life, and are never addressed. Independence has become by far the most likely and feasible route to making a progressive change in this regard.
A vote for independence can find its impetus from many different sources, both historical and contemporary. Surely one of the most noble is the chance to make everyone in the British Isles equal members of functional polities, and participants in better democracies.
..extract from launch article of Vote Independence …