Voting - an overrated activity - RSA

Voting - an overrated activity

Blog

In the debate over political renewal we need to think more clearly and boldly about representative democracy. There are two big problems. Firstly, voting in elections is no more than an opportunity every few years to get rid of a party we feel has failed in government and replace it with one we dislike slightly less. When we vote we are notionally signing up to every policy in our chosen party’s manifesto. Imagine how popular supermarkets would be if we had to choose only one to go to, then whichever won the vote (even though only 1 in 4 of those entitled to vote had chosen the winner) we would be required to buy everything at that store for the subsequent four years. Elections are merely a backstop not the basis for informed public consent.

Secondly, the basis for representation is that the citizens get together, form views and then choose one from among them to take those views to a higher assembly, albeit with freedom to use their judgement when faced with specific decisions. But with a diverse, disengaged yet demanding, often incoherent local public opinion who and what are representatives representing? I have asked many MPs this question and rarely, if ever. have I heard a coherent answer. 

A new politics involves finally recognising that representative democracy in today’s society is necessary but very far from being sufficient as the basis for public engagement in collective decision making’

Be the first to write a comment

0 Comments

Please login to post a comment or reply

Don't have an account? Click here to register.

Related articles

  • Nine famous female Fellows inspiring inclusion

    Dean Samways

    International Women’s Day 2024 invites us to imagine a world where all genders enjoy equality. Where prejudice and discrimination no longer exist. This is the world our work is helping deliver to this and future generations.

  • Fellows Festival 2024: changemaking for the future

    Mike Thatcher

    The 2024 Fellows Festival was the biggest and boldest so far, with a diverse range of high-profile speakers offering remarkable stories of courageous acts to make the world a better place.

  • Inspired by nature

    Rebecca Ford Alessandra Tombazzi Penny Hay

    Our Playful green planet team summarises a ‘lunch and learn’ at RSA House that focused on how the influence of nature can benefit a child’s development.