So that’s what Democracy means!

I was brought up to believe that democracy meant rule by the people, for the people, and that representatives were entrusted with a sacred duty to represent the views of the electorate.

Last night it was explained to me that my upbringing was all wrong.

In fact, I am advised that Democracy is rule by a few very special folk who make decisions as and when they feel it necessary, telling the electorate what they are doing. Ideally this is told in a very “intelligent” and complex way to avoid the average voter actually understanding the process and heaven forbid, disagreeing.

It is a whole new and exciting world. This “new” democracy means that things get done without the burden of long explanations and debate. And of course, the leaders get to keep their jobs without too much effort.

Well, that’s not good enough.

Issues affecting us all ought to be discussed, considered and voted upon. Not just to keep things neat but to reflect our wishes.

If it takes a few days more to involve the whole community and make the right decisions then so be it. In fact often leaving out the electorate results in chaos. Especially when they find out and feel cheated.

The recent failed and rejected Draft Local Plan is a case in point. Had our illustrious leaders listened to their voters, they might have made a more informed plan and not wasted many years and residents money, and we’d all be well ahead.

Last night at a full council meeting we were once again presented with a fait accompli: The Local Plan Consultation document. We were asked to give it the all clear.

The problem is that it reads like an over-zealous planner’s cook book. Even the leadership agreed that it was both leading and hard to digest for the average resident.

Once again the council is “consulting” and once again they are pretending to ask the voter but in a way that even they agree is too complex and written in “planner speak”.

When we objected we were actually told that it’s OK because most residents don’t care or are not interested in planning issues unless it actually affects their own house. Just as long as us councilors and developers understand it.

How dismissive! How arrogant!

We are interested and we do want to participate in meaningful consultation. So let’s just do it and stop pretending.

One thought on “So that’s what Democracy means!

  1. Geoff Powers

    Well said, Paul! The only way to counter this situation is to call these people out and tell them unequivocally that we’re having none of it – we’ve heard it all before; they simply do not understand the meaning and implication of ‘consult’.

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