Declining Democracy 158


Total membership of political parties in the UK has declined, very steadily and inexorably, from about 3.3 million in 1968 to about 500,000 in 2010. That is even worse than it sounds because of course the population grew substantially in the same period. That is one of the fascinating facts in this report by Democratic Audit.

That is just one of a large number of PDFs that comprise the total report. It is well worth reading and it reinforces the argument, consistently made on this blog, that democracy has failed in this country.

There is one constituent of a genuine democracy that the report does not seek to measure, but which I think could usefully be quantified by political scientists. That is the degree of real choice being offered by the political parties. I am sure that this has very substantially declined as well. There is no real choice on offer nowadays between the various neo-con parties. The differences on the timing and depth of cuts in public services, on continued privatisation of health services, on Trident nuclear weapons, on Afghanistan, on the money men who control the politicians, are miniscule. Only in Scotland do voters have a genuine choice of a different direction, and they take it.

This is a direct consequence of the other trends the Democratic Audit does measure. They show that the parties are more than ever, and constantly more, not avenues for popular participation but the domain of a political class and controlled by a wealthy “elite”. It is no wonder that they all have the same programme of promoting the interests of that elite.


158 thoughts on “Declining Democracy

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  • Komodo

    ….you can make your own small contribution to solving the “problem”.
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    I have. Over to you in the overcrowded seats.

  • Komodo

    Exactly, Nuid, thanks.
    “…What have the Greens got to do with that? And how is it “in the guise of environmentalism”?”
    I fear Scouse Billy has been handed a line by an AEI-affiliated PR outfit. This is usually the case when you see an alleged socialist supporting infinite growth from finite resources. He usually doesn’t tie this in with the resource wars and economic migration already affecting himself and his illimitable family.
    .
    Pity, but the neocons are working very hard to keep their agenda going, and if it involves lying to the workers, they’re in home territory, aren’t they?

  • Passerby

    Misanthropy abound, everyone has a view, how these views have come to be so crystalline and with such vicious undertones towards the human species is a matter that is not getting addressed?
    ,
    In a universe as vast as ours the notion of overpopulation is an indication of the disjointed and dislocated “thinking”, but there again when the notions of money, and politics: these both are constructs of charlatans for gaining the advantage of their fellow human counterparts, then too many human beings and destruction of the species, and all the other bollocks come to be important.
    ,
    The modality of Malthusian misanthropist whom represent the very essence of failure always blames the competitors and not the inability of those failures whom choose to moan about the competition.
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    Too many people my foot, too many wankers if you ask me.
    ,
    There is enough food, and resources for all the present population and in fact for double the present population, however until such a time that old men with dicky bladders and bitter hatred in their hearts are in charge then there can be no resolution for any solution.

  • Scouse Billy

    Hey, passerby, I’m addressing it – if some sheep can’t be arsed to look at Alan Watt’s piece, so be it – the mint sauce is in preparation.

  • guest

    Some people on here have bought the neocon line, plus the hook, and sinker over too many people. The reason the neocons push this, is that more people means that more distribution of wealth will have to apply, that is not what they want. I remember reading a few years ago that two scientists in the USA had written a paper on this, in it they said the planet could support 55 billion people. Of course, we would have to have a sane system in place, as opposed to the one we have now. That is what the neocons fear, hence the “too many people” scare tactics.

  • Mary

    It’s been an eventful month for our new campaign to protect employment rights from the government’s programme to erode them.
    .
    Tory donor and venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft’s secret report on cutting rights was leaked to the press, and the government have been caught out by the breadth of opposition to it.
    .
    After a blustering start, where Beecroft even tried to claim Business Secretary Vince Cable was a socialist for his opposition, he’s now been forced into a humiliating admission that he didn’t actually do any research before writing his conclusions, and they don’t have a sound economic footing.
    .
    However, the government’s plans for ‘reforms’ such as halving paid maternity leave are still on the cards, and we need to keep up the pressure over this.
    .
    Their confidence has been given a knock, and we’ve seen the proposed reforms are more vulnerable when they’re tackled as the big picture they really are – a plan to reduce your rights at work across the board.
    .
    We’ve made this video which draws the links between the issues in a short and darkly humorous way. Please help us keep up the pressure by watching the video and sharing it with your friends and colleagues.
    .
    The more people who get the message that the government have a wider plan for our rights at work, the harder it will be for them when they try to introduce individual measures like the maternity rights cut.

    Please watch and share our video now.

    .
    And if you haven’t yet signed our petition to David Cameron over his plans to slash employment rights, you can do so here

    .

    http://www.goingtowork.org.uk/is-your-workplace-getting-a-visit-from-beecroft-rights-removals/

  • Passerby

    Scouse Billy,
    Now don’t get too far ahead there, but the fact is those with entrenched misanthropy cannot and will not see the simple facts that are so blatantly and abundantly obvious and clear case against their postulations based solely on their hatred and dislike of themselves, and their species.
    ,
    Never mind the higher authority,any sane individual need only to look up into the skies. Skies can be used for purposes other than bombing and spying and holding the planet hostage, so far as Mars is concerned, Earth shall face the same desolation and barren days which are yet to come, but that is besides the point.
    ,
    Humanity needs to understand its future is dependent on explorations of the deep sea, and deep space, as it stands humanity is sitting duck target amidst the most spectacular galactic crapshoot. Therefore we have far too few human beings and not too many.

  • Mary

    Orgasmic tweeets about their products from the exhibitors at this year’s Farnborough Int’l Airshow.
    http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23FIA12?q=%23FIA12
    .
    Our chief arms salesman, Agent Cameron, visited this morning.

    .
    As did a delegation from the Libyan rabble.
    {https://twitter.com/wwwcaatorguk/status/222355784539979776/photo/1}

  • guest

    “The Government today released performance figures on the flagship Work Programme which reveal that the £5 billion pound scheme is failing miserably with less than 25% of claimants off benefits after 36 weeks on the programme.”
    .
    “The rate of people who would be expected to find jobs without any help at all is believed to be 28%. And today’s figures don’t even represent job outcomes. Claimants could be off benefits due to reaching pensionable age, starting full time education, having a child, moving in with a partner or having benefits sanctioned.”
    .
    http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/first-statistics-reveal-work-programme-to-be-a-shambles/

  • TFS

    I do like an alternative reason for Gordon Brown selling the gold at such a cheap rate.

    He both made sure everyone knew they were going to sell which drove down the price, but also allowed the bank to buy up cheap to hide their insolvency….we got shafted by a group of companies that just like taking?

    Bravo Gordon Brown

  • nevermind

    Scouse Billy, I’m appalled at your weak explanation. Your video starts with Al Gore, not a Green but a democrat with personal interests in energy reduction and solar power.
    That does not make him green, a member of the Green Party or even an environmentalist. He’s an old fashioned industrialist, the chuck waggon man with his kind of invention, snake oil thrown in.

    Stalin and Hitler were eugenics, so were consequetive swedish Governments up until it became too uncomfortable. mengele and all those who used his research after the war, was a misguided eugenic.

    To compare the forward looking policies the Green Party developed with eugenics is like making out that a fish looks a little like a horse.

    Where in the manifesto for a sustainable society does it mention that the Green Party will use eugenic methods to manipulate or manage population growth?

    I know Stalins methods were as rough as Hitlers and Pol Pots another, misguided lefties who had nothing much to say for their crimes.
    Large families are needed in Africa, there is no social safety net, pensions and or any healthcare in old age, only a lot of sons and daughters can keep gogo alive in her old age.
    Here in the west we have money replacing our atomised family structures and Greens want to change society by education and good examples, not eugenics.

    .
    Throwing these oneliners in here and then flinching on the answer is sad, no other word for it.

    if there is any rapid de population of this globe it will be via the thermo nuclear route, nuclear weapons have sell by dates too.

  • nuid

    It seems that Scouse Billy (and one or two others) either doesn’t/don’t believe in global warming/climate change, or doesn’t/don’t believe that it’s man made.
    .
    He’s entitled to that opinion, of course, but I for one don’t accept that the numbers of polar bears is increasing rather than decreasing! (I think that was in his Patrick Moore “Green Eugenics” video.)
    .
    And Alan Watt’s conspiracy theory that Bisphenol A in babies’ bottles and the inside of beer cans is a deliberate plan to make human males sterile is equally silly. Bisphenol A may be causing a fall in sperm counts – just as female hormones from the pill may be responsible – but that doesn’t make either of those “eugenics” either. Nor does it make them a conspiracy by the Greens or Greenpeace.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Idle curiosity seems to run in families. It is one of the ways in which we can recognise the different forms of predictive conditioning that turns the 1% elite ideas into ideals conducive to world governance.
    .
    For instance the Conservative blog ‘webcameron’ sought to present a ‘new’ Conservative Party, one that would serve the interests and desires of ordinary folk and introduce a cozy, homely ‘Big Society’ in which common folk are actively engaged in social and communal projects delegated by the State to empower and achieve a sense of control, privilege, say-so and competence to middle England; promoted as a better use of time than beer drinking and television.
    .
    This devolution of social responsibility would appear to be an extraordinary opportunity yet in reality such work has been imposed on kind parish and other voluntarily groups as a direct result of the desperately damaging austerity cuts and withdrawal of State services. The ‘Big Society’ represents an unseen stimulus, to guide common aspirations without their knowledge in preparation for the tragic and destructive events necessary for a new order, a continuation of deceptive catalysts and controls essential to further the aims of the elite and rejuvenate a depleted and run out financial system from the indigenous assets of ‘rogue’ countries commandeered in the name of furthering a false Western democracy.

  • Scouse Billy

    Some people really do need spoon feeding – that’s conditioning for you.
    .
    AGENDA 21 – UN Earth Summit (1992 Rio)
    .
    This classic video produced by George W. Hunt exposes how the progenitors of the hijacked environmental movement, people like Maurice Strong, the Rothschild family and David Rockefeller, always intended the scam to achieve global population reduction along with a global carbon tax based on a cap and trade system controlled by them.
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhP2F2jTFxI

  • evgueni

    Shocking news: systems that are corruptible are in themselves corrupting, and they ultimately get corrupted.. The conflict between the interests of a minority (“the party”) and those of the majority (“us”) is a fundamental one. At times their interests coincide with ours and we rejoice in “democracy”, other times our interests and theirs diverge and we lament the decline of “democracy”. There never was a whiff of democracy here, just a system that is better than tyranny but otherwise a long way off what it claims to be.
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    Democratic Audit are not the first to explore this issue, the Power Inquiry report is worth a read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Inquiry

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Thanks Evgueni,
    .
    The ‘Power Inquiry’ proves my point. It affirms that funding organisations, in this case, Joseph Rowntree, operate as some sort of shadowy inter-connected club with someone acting as the hub.
    .
    Agent Cameron said “Sour Little Englanders, who want rid of Scotland, I’ll fight them all the way” – Thus the Power2010 proposal, ‘English Votes on English laws’ did not make the cut. Neither did other proposals from the original Inquiry reported in 2006. The strong proposal that local government engagement with local communities especially at neighbourhood level is a non-starter and remains non-existent with any neighbourhood activists despised and treated as radical or antagonistic.
    .
    The original proposals in 2006 were:
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    1. Donations on political parties to be capped at £10,000 from individuals and £100 per member of organisations
    2. A “voter vouchers” system, where individuals indicate if they wish to allocate £3 of state funding to a particular party
    3. Voters given the chance to put forward laws
    4. The voting age, and the minimum age at which people can stand for Parliament, to be reduced to 16
    5. A 70%-elected House of Lords
    6. Monthly logs to monitor ministerial contact with companies, lobbyists and Advocacy groups
    7. Restrictions on the powers of party whips
    8. The replacement of First-Past-The-Post with a “responsive electoral system
    7. The closed party list system should have no place in modern elections.
    8. The election deposits system (currently £500) should be dropped.
    9. The realignment of constituency boundaries should be accelerated.
    10. Decentralizing of powers to local government
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    These were distilled and/or changed in Power2010 to:
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    1. Introduce a proportional voting system.
    2. Scrap ID cards and *roll back the database* state.
    3. Replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber.
    4. Allow only English MPs to vote on English laws.
    5. Draw up a written constitution.
    .
    **In April despite the coalition government’s pre-election promises to roll back the database state, the growth of internal Whitehall databases has quietly continued apace in the last two years, including a secret compilation of known activists.
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    Parliament approved data-sharing powers, buried in the Welform Reform Act, requiring jobcentres to supply local authorities with the names and addresses of unemployed families with children who miss school or are involved in crime and antisocial behaviour. A proposal I supported, that these families could be helped and motivated at neighbourhood level (the young problem lad I took on for 6 years from a helpless neighbour, a single mother, who is now in meaningful employment) was jeered at.
    .
    We note even the distilled proposals except ID cards have, as far as I know, been banished to the archives.
    .
    http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/policy-research-analysis/policy/relationships-with-government/local-government/partnerships/transform

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    I agree with your Tiberius link Evgueni in its fundamental point that power resides in the 1% elite, the so called ‘responsible class’ – the rest of us 99% are distracted and fragmented.
    .
    Yet I believe this will change because right now our financial system is in dangerous ruin. In simple terms derivatives have circumvented traditional borrowing allowing larger unsecured unprotected sums to be borrowed at ridiculous rates, which have to be paid back or written down and sold on. Remember no insurance protects your investment, all the banks are interconnected and a loss daisy chains through the system.
    .
    This financial system is now preparing to crash so your investment, savings, pension or asset will be lost because regardless of where it resides, all eggs are in one banking basket. The best thing to do right now is withdraw your nest-egg and find a place outside the financial system for your stash, piggy bank or rainy day funds to reside i.e. Gold related!!
    .
    This is not a joke and you will thank me – If you want something to fall back on or help your children take a good hard look at your assets now! – the promise on your wonga will soon be worthless.

  • Komodo

    Perhaps Scouse Billy is a Catholic? Unlikely, if you’re called Billy, I suppose, but it would account for the dogmatism on the subject of birth control. Also the credulity.
    Me, I just don’t like crowds.

  • Abe Rene

    Maybe you should found your own political party, think long-term this time, and organise a team of specialists – hang on, that sounds like a new political elite .. 🙁

  • Mary

    What a dreadful hypocrite Theresa May is. She is proposing large cuts in police numbers and the introduction of privatization yet she has the gall to say this about the tragic death of the off duty policeman. Anything to make some political capital. Her words must go down like a lead balloon with the members of the Police Federation.
    .

    Home Secretary: ‘PC Dibell has paid the ultimate price’
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    “I have spoken to Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle to offer my sincere regret that an Essex Police officer has been fatally shot.
    Our police officers keep us safe day in and day out and sadly PC Ian Dibell has paid the ultimate price. I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to the officer’s family and to his colleagues in Essex Police at this difficult time.”
    .
    – Home Secretary Theresa May

  • evgueni

    Thanks for the warning, Mark. I am aware of the danger, I originaly found Tiberius’ blog through reading Cynicus Economicus’ blog.
    .
    There is little choice for the approx. 90% of us net interest payers.

  • Smeggypants

    “declining democracy” ? – Well we’ve never had democracy so nothing to decline really. As for parties…….
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    Parties are contradictory to democracy, they allow an easily controlled group to sit at the top of the party pyramid whipping the rest into line.
    .
    At the bottom of the pyramid would be politicians join mainstream parties as a boost to their carreer thus continuing the cycle.
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    .
    We should abolish parties, and indeed I like the idea of random representation.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    There are indeed British Billies who are Roman Catholic, though for obvious reasons, esp. in places like the West of Scotland (I don’t know about Liverpool) I think they usually prefer to be called, ‘William’.

  • Clark

    Scouse Billy: some people believe that the human population is too high. That does not make them eugenicists. To be counted as supporters of eugenics, they’d have to advocate the preferential breeding of some particular group of humans, and the prevention of breeding in groups they disfavour. I have never heard any such suggestion from any Greens or environmentalists.
    .
    Nor does a belief that the human population is too high imply that one also believes that it should be reduced by violent means.
    .
    Is the human population too high? I don’t know, but it’s a large factor higher than it has ever been before, and that has happened in a very short time on relevant timescales; the situation certainly looks dangerously unstable. If humans suddenly find that they can’t produce enough food or drinkable water, then yes, the population would indeed be too high, by which I mean too high to permit a decent quality of life.
    .
    Is ocean acidification another hoax, in your opinion?

  • Clark

    Scouse Billy, isn’t it really the “burn as much as you like” brigade that advocate increased human suffering and faster die-off? Even if CO2 is no problem at all, we’re on the decline of oil production, and liquid fuel and artificial fertilisers are essential to the modern food production methods that are supporting the mushrooming human population. As oil production declines, it is difficult to see how food production can be maintained.

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