Category Archives: representative democracy

Cameron, conjurer of terrible political problems out of thin air

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 07.51.15The re-election of the British prime minister David Cameron, writes Dalrymple,

solves nothing of the crisis of political legitimacy in Britain (constitutional legitimacy is something else).

With turnout of 66 percent

and the British party system balkanised, Cameron won re-election with the suffrage of 24.7 percent of the adult population. A vote for the Scottish National Party weighed nearly 150 times more heavily as far as representation was concerned as did a vote for the United Kingdom Independence Party. (It took 25,974 votes to elect an SNP member of parliament, 3,881,129 to elect a Ukip one.) A vote for the SNP weighed 25 times more than a vote for the Greens. The SNP won 50 percent of the votes in Scotland but 95 percent of the seats.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 23.18.10The British now live, Dalrymple points out,

in an unrepresentative democracy.

Cameron

promised a referendum on membership of the European Union, a promise that would be difficult even for Houdini to escape; and if it goes against membership, the Scots, who are Europhile but anti-English, might declare their independence and try to remain in the European Union.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 08.15.47Nor would independence

be without potential for creating deep divisions, bitterness, and conflict in Scotland itself. The potential for chaos north and south of the border is enormous.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 07.58.05One of Britain’s prevailing assets has been its political stability. But that stability

has evaporated, probably for good—with potentially disastrous results for its financial sector, upon which it so strongly (though foolishly) depends.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 08.05.05Terrible political problems

have been conjured out of nothing except the ambition of politicians.

And

the country’s deeper problems—its low productivity, its abysmal cultural and educational levels—remain not only unanswered, but unremarked.

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