On 5th July the people of Greece voted against proposals for covering the country’s €330 billion debt, in the hope of getting better terms. Their leaders said that the vote was democratic, so other countries must respect it, but people in countries that were expected to provide more money had not been given a chance to vote.
A few weeks earlier, at Britain’s election in May 2015, 1.4 million votes in Scotland won 56 seats in parliament, but 2.4 million votes for the Liberal Democrats won only 8 seats. Meanwhile the UK Independence Party had 60% more votes than the LibDems, but won even fewer seats – just one.
Afterwards Labour Party supporters said they were relieved that they had lost the election. [Harman: Even Labour supporters are glad we lost. The Times 8th June 2015 *.] Supporters of any party can have doubts and second thoughts, because elections cram so many different issues into one vote.
There is no connection between these situations – except that they all raise serious doubts about whether traditional democracy makes sense. Often it does not but it’s difficult or impossible to change. That tells us to take a different path.
Instead of struggling to repair the weaknesses in democracy, a new option is to add a process to cover some of the faults and failings. Adding Live Forum TV does not require political debates or permissions or treaties. We can just DO IT.
Live Forum TV can improve relations between people and government with or without democracy. It can replace occasional snapshots of public opinion with well-informed, useful and constructive input to government decisions.
We’re looking now for the first place where it will be used. It will then start with trials, to show that it is safe and neutral before going public. You won’t hear a lot until the trials have been completed, but watch this space.
* [Harriet Harman] told The Independent that Deborah Mattinson’s initial focus groups had found a sense of relief among Labour voters that the party had been defeated. One supporter in west London confessed to being “a little bit disappointed and a little bit relieved”. That view was mirrored across the country.