What Could Real Democracy Look Like?

What Could Real Democracy Look Like?
14th March 2016 Barry J. Murphy

Are most democracies that we know of today real democracies? No, they are not, and we usually end up with the power in the hands of a few. You have a prime minister, a cabinet of government ministers and a number of MPs, as well as local party puppets who do what they are told in 90% of cases.

Suppose we turn this upside down and put the power back in the hands of the people – what would it look like then, and what would the benefits be to society? Let’s just, for example, take the figures on governance in Ireland. Ireland has a population of four million people and it costs approx. €52 million per year for politicians’ salaries, outside of expenses, which is probably the same again.

Suppose there was one public representative for every 5,000 people and no political parties. This would mean that we could pay each representative €60,000 per year each, as well as paying 15 government ministers €250,000, and a prime minister €500,000 – and all for the same approximate €52 million. The prime minister and the 15 ministers would be chosen by the 800 candidates from a list of representatives and would be given a five-year contract, which could be broken at any time for non-performance reasons. The 800 representatives would vote online on proposed legislation changes, budgets and all that, put forward by the ministers. Each representative could also hold debates on any issue in their own small circle and hold a vote locally so that they would then go on to vote the way their constituents expected them too on any given issue. No expensive parliaments to run! Because each of the 800 representatives would represent only 5,000 people, each citizen would probably know each local representative personally and trust them. Each minister would put forward three options for all decisions to be voted on. Common sense would prevail because the common people have the power.

There would be no more corrupt, egoistic politicians going off on solo runs because they couldn’t. It is easy for a large corporation to influence one or two politicians at the top, but how could a corporation influence 800 representatives and their 5,000 costituents? There would be a free media, again, because it could not be controlled by a few at the top.

Who in their right mind would vote to spend a huge amount of the national budget each year on nuclear arms instead of education, opportunity and health for all the citizens of a country? There might be the odd few, but they would never be the majority.

Look at an alien sitting on Mars watching the human race. He would be thinking to himself “what the hell are they doing down there?! They spend fortunes of time and resources on trying to kill each other. 95% of their wealth is in the hands of 5% of the population. There are billions living on less than €2 per day and they are insistent on messing up their own planet, environmentally, at every given opportunity…”

Ah maybe, just maybe, the alien is correct and the only way to change that, is to completely change our system of governance globally. If we did that, this planet would be a fantastic place and a land of equal opportunity for all within a few years. Take the power away from the few and put it in the hands of the many. No more Bushs and Blairs going into Iraq and killing a million people. No more Putins causing mayhem in Georgia or the Ukraine, and all that.

This is all very possible to achieve!

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