Monday, 29 August 2016

Danish Democracy




"The political system of Denmark is that of a multi-party structure, where several parties can be represented in Parliament at any one time. Danish governments are often characterised by minority administrations, aided with the help of one or more supporting parties. This means that Danish politics is based on consensus politics. Since 1909, no single party has had the majority in Parliament."

That sounds pretty much how I envisage a true democracy should function. Not one party who have got past-the-post first, but a representative selection of parties all of whom would act on behalf of those who voted for them, giving them, the voters, a far more direct voice than any other country enjoys. It is the ultimate way a true representative government should operate.

Denmark has six parties who form the Folketinget. That is the Danes parliament. The Folketinget comprises 179 members. 175 of those are elected in Denmark, 2 in Greenland and 2 in the Faroe Isles. 

The Danes practise what is generally known as a consensus democracy. This is when the decision-making process involves as broad a spectrum of political opinions as possible; a completely different way to how politics are managed either in the UK or the USA. The UK would claim to be the oldest and best democracy whilst the USA would argue they are by far the better.

In many ways, this multi-party system is but a form of grassroots democracy. This from Wikipedia - "Grassroots democracy is a tendency towards designing political processes where as much decision-making authority as practical is shifted to the organization's lowest geographic or social level of organization."  Of course, this method is favoured by the Green Party who are themselves Left-Libertarian's. Once this shift has taken place, and with the various parties forming an administration are in power, that power is held by the people.

As good as the Danish way may seem it still doesn't, in my view, go far enough. For one thing, the Danes have a constitutional Monarchy and as much as I dislike the manner in which those who seek the removal of monarchies tend to personalise the issue, I still support republics. Of course, there are republics who, as much as they would deny it, offer a rather limited version of democracy; one based on the support of the wealthy to pay for their political campaigns. That isn't democratic. It is a betrayal of the electorate's trust. It is ceding power to those unelected to rule - corporates.

Even if the Danish system doesn't quite meet my ideals, and I appreciate having such ideals can portray me as a dreamer of which I'm not, it certainly is better than the way we in the UK execute our politics which are far too much in the hands of those aforementioned corporates. 

The USA also suffers in this fashion with both Republicans and Democrats funded by big business. In the 2016 general election campaign the Democrats received $384,393,459 whilst the Republicans $397,490,315. Worryingly, for Americans, is that Republicans, the party who represents the filthy rich are now about on a par with the Democrats who moved from classical liberalism at the turn of the last century. Even into the first quarter of the 20th century the Democrats followed conservative policies up until FDR's 'New Deal' coalition. Since then they have been divided into soft-Republicans, centrists and (far too  few) progressives but never socialists. However, it is the manner in which both parties are funded that should be of concern, 
especially to the American electorate.

In the UK there are rules governing who can make donations or loans to political parties. Individuals can only donate if they are on an electoral register. Parties have to record the donations and loans they receive and then check they are from a permissible source. All larger donations and loans need to be reported to the Electoral Commission. However, this only monitors donors and donations, it does not legislate against them. Britain's politics are as corrupt as America's even if the global impact of such corruption has less of an effect.






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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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