Why voting matters

Lord Soley

This picture and story is for anyone who can’t be bothered voting. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/23/tunisians-flock-to-vote-free-elections

A Palestinian Party member in my old constituency was close to tears when he voted for the first time in his life having gained British nationality – rather like the woman in the story.

I have acted as an international observer in a couple of elections in countries emerging from dictatorship and the story is always the same. If enough people don’t value their democracy then they are doomed to loose it. I hope Libya can deliver a democratic structure. It’s not easy and those who rubbish our democratic system would do well to spend a few years in a dictatorship – it focuses the mind wonderfully.

43 comments for “Why voting matters

  1. Gareth Howell
    24/10/2011 at 9:35 am

    “Tunisia’s ‘first free’ elections”.

    They have of course had regular elections in the past, but one definition of “free” might well be having international observors to ensure that they are not rigged.

    My late mother was very moved at being one of the first to vote in (1931).

    I shall be moved when we have proper proportional representation in the UK.
    Until then our own system is pretty badly bent.

    Let’s find fault with others instead shall we?

    I’ll do a rain check on previous elections in Tunisia to see why they were not “free and fair”. 1)No votes for women!! Perhaps they thought that votes should be per head of family and not per person.

    Let’s confront it: Shareholder democracy
    is the only thing that matters in the UK,
    for real power. When we’ve all got equal shareholder democracy power in Great Britain Limited, then things will be free and fair.

    Occupy! Indignado!

  2. MilesJSD
    24/10/2011 at 9:37 am

    You preach at us, Lord Soley, from your different ‘world’, of highly priviieged, protected and over-pecuniously entrenched power-positions.

    Plato had this Workplace versus Lifeplace difficulty right
    when he represented it as an untidy collection of human-beings dweling in a cave with their backs to the light, and thereby only able to see shadows ‘dancing’ on the wall of the cave, which they had always believed to be full-reality;
    until one day some rightly enabled & empowered person, probably an ‘outsider’, turned them towards the light and showed them the way out of that cave and into it the real or ‘greater-real’ world.

    And when Plato also averred that the best Governance model, for harmony and sustainworthiness between Workplace and Lifeplace, would be to oblige the governance-people (qua ‘parliamentary’ and possibly ‘judiciary’ workers) themselves to dwell atop a luxuriant hill, fully but not excessively provided; and fully protected but not themselves armed.
    So, we ‘The People’ need to be enabled to see all the Workplace, Lifeplace, and Governance possibilities before we can begin to rightly make selection and commitment.

    It is because when you say “democracy” you have already brainwashed us (the English-speaking people) into believing this to mean both “full-democracy” already well-established and up and running successfully, and “English-” democracy into the ‘bargain’.

    I think that in turn is because there is no, and you do not provide us with, sustainworthy ordering of Purpose.
    Your closing choice of words is very unfortunate, too, that “a few years in a dictatorship focuses the mind wonderfully” –

    rather it de-focuses the mind disenablingly and disempoweringly;

    because under a dictatorship you have no hope that it will be for only “a few years”;

    nor under your “democracy”, and its in-built entrenched “maybe-in-a-hundred-years-time-referendum-The People-can-have-their-say”,
    have we any hope for sustainworthy advancement out of your de facto Three Party Top-Down State (masquerading and directivising-downwards as full-democracy-ism) into honest-to-God multi-way and people-upwards participatory democracy.

    Your preaching is but a further cloaked diversion, of the ‘In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King’ evil-brood of fallacious argumentation.

    • DanFilson
      24/10/2011 at 2:28 pm

      I cannot think why you talk of Lord Soley as from a different ‘world’, given that his career as a probation officer put him in touch only too clearly with the present one. Highly privileged, protected and over-pecuniously entrenched? He was an MP for an inner city seat for two decades and previously a local councillor, so faced the electorate several times before being given a peerage not least for being chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, a piggy-in-the-middle post which gets the incumbent flak from both the government of the day and the back-benchers. I have always thought Lord Soley’s contributions not preachy at all but thoughtful and trying to look outside the customary Punch and Judy politics practiced elsewhere. It is true that a life peer – no hereditary peer he! – does not face re-election, but that is not his fault but that of the public and Parliament in not pressing harder for a partly or wholly elected second chamber. His thoughts on us needing to value democracy more are apposite. Too often we assume that democracy is an added bonus of removing a dictator. Gaddafi was on his way out quite possibly even without the Arab Spring, as he was 69 and I suspect increasing numbers of senior Libyans were finding his increasingly insane behaviour a bit too much of a trial. We see pictures on television of immense queues of people at polling stations in searing heat waiting patiently to vote because they believe, as I do, it makes a difference even if at times the choice is imperfect and the method of voting produces a not wholly representative outcome. But that is for we, the people, to change. Government of the people, by the people, for the people – that has a good ring. Let’s try it.

      • Lord Blagger
        26/10/2011 at 11:04 am

        So he’s spent his entire life working for an organisation that has failure written all over.

        Recidivism rates are atrocious. That’s the failure of the probation service. Hardly something that qualifies you for anything.

        If its not his fault, he could have refused the peerage. He didn’t. He took the money and carries on taking the money – yours and mine.

        Partly elected isn’t democracy either. It’s just another variant on dictatorship.

        As for his success as a politician. He’s left 7,000 bn of debt, 225,000 pounds plus interest for you to pay. What’s your plan to pay that off.

  3. Shazzyrm
    24/10/2011 at 9:41 am

    Yes voting would have mattered once but when you’re left with nothing worth voting for, what then?

    • DanFilson
      24/10/2011 at 2:31 pm

      Politics is about making choices. So you must engage with the candidates to determine who is the least worst choice, to put it at its minimum.

      • maude elwes
        26/10/2011 at 2:51 pm


        Most all you have to choose from are those selected by the party for their ‘loyalty’ and their ‘ability’ to swallow what they don’t want or don’t like, in order to have a job with perks. Take all those pushed on the local constituents who had no connection to or interest in the people of that ward. How they were voted in dumbfounds me.

        What we need in England is an Alex Salmond. A man who will bat for the people of this country and that man or woman is not going to belong to any of the so called ‘parties’ we presently have foisted on us.

        The only sensible tactic, as soon as we can get a general election, is to vote out the lot. It means putting a cross by the only independent, or, whoever you find at least one principle in common with.

        Get them out as fast as you can. And make sure they will reform the Lords immediately. So we have an elected upper house who has a five year stint. But can be re-elected if he or she is performing on behalf of those who put them there. Not in twenty five years, when this lot are dead. But now, before they do any more damage to our country.

        And one last observation, are you Lord Soley’s Werrity? Because you sound like it. You speak for him rather than allowing him the time to air his own views. Now why is that?

        • Lord Blagger
          26/10/2011 at 3:11 pm

          That will be the same Alex Salmond who won’t go with the results of a referenda and will ignore a majority in favour of Union?

          So much for democracy.

          • maude elwes
            27/10/2011 at 2:55 pm


            You ae being deliberately obtuse with that answer. When I made reference to Salmond it was in the, of a lone reed mode. The reference had nothing to do with his policies. After all he is a Scot, batting for Scotland. He takes into account the needs of those he speaks for.

            What we need is a smart Englishman who knows his onions and is fully fit for and on the side of, the people of England. The Irish have theirs, the Scots have theirs and the Welsh have theirs, we need an English fighter, batting for the needs of the people of this country.

            What we have, in both sides of this house, are people who despise the British and all they stand for. They are only there for themselves. Of the Blair mould. And the one we have is, as he referred to himself, the heir to Blair.

            When his day is done as leader, he, like Blair will be lining his pockets based on his impressive CV showing him as once Prime Minister of the UK and therefore worth a large fee for any speech he will make or any little introduction he can use to pass on his worth.

            So, please stick with the gist.

          • Lord Blagger
            27/10/2011 at 6:38 pm


            The First Minister wants to put two propositions on the ballot paper, one that would mean Scotland becoming an independent country and the other that would preserve the Union with England, albeit with Holyrood being handed all tax powers.
            Confusingly, Mr Salmond wants Scots to vote ‘yes’ to both questions. This could give him the consolation prize of more financial powers if he cannot convince people to back full separation.
            But the Liberal Democrats questioned what would happen if a majority of Scots did as he wished and supported both propositions, despite their contradictory positions on the Union.
            The First Minister’s senior special adviser responded that Scotland would become independent, even if more people backed the second question advocating extra powers but remaining part of the UK.

            They you go. Another Politicians sticking two fingers up to the electorate.

            That’s the problem. You know when they say no referenda, that they will never give the electorate the say on an issue that matters.
            The last referenda wasn’t about the plebs getting to make a decision. It was just about the selection of the next thief in Westminister.

  4. Gareth Howell
    24/10/2011 at 9:50 am



    Yes the biggest problem of all for Tunisians was dealing with the French and the aftermath of colonialism. they evidently thought that siding with the other half of the world, in a one party socialist model was the right one to take. Recent wisdom is that it must be multiparty.

    I see why Noble lord Soley likes it:

    They’ve introduced an ADVISORY CHAMBER!

    There is no knowing how the internal party elections progressed to decide who should stand for President. Probably just a show of hands at a conference.

    Perhaps we could have something like that too,for a President?

    Sanctimonious old……claptrap condemning other parts of the world, when there are so many failings in our own.

    Referend-ums in this country need to be completely rethought so that they are Multiple question referend-ums.
    Then they may become a better guide of what the people really want.

    Bourguiba was an enlightened despot according to many of his subjects including a good many women, whose women’s rights were good.

  5. Mr. Yesman
    24/10/2011 at 10:21 am


    Women’s rights have been consistently well thought out in Tunisia; the problem with that country is the continuing dominant effect of France. colonialism may have gone but when so many Tunisians live in Paris and Marseilles it does not make that much difference in the way the two countries are locked together.

    The problem with Ben Ali, following so carefully in the mould of Bourguiba, and even passing a law recently to allow him to serve as president for life (more than three terms)
    is presumably that he wanted to be considered as king like the fella in Syria, a hereditary president. Let’s come clean shall we, and say “King”?

    No the Guardian article is OTP in interviewing people who are prepared to say how wonderful it is blah blah, been camping out all night blah blah.

    House of Lords 15 year terms of office?
    Don’t make me laugh!!!!

    We should do a little more to make our own electoral system acceptable, and a good example to the world which it certainly is not, before we condemn even little Tunisia’a
    efforts; one party state or not.

    • maude elwes
      24/10/2011 at 1:31 pm

      My sentiments entirely.

      Why is ‘our’ government so obsessed with interferring in or discussion on the machinations of ‘other’ countries? What have their elections to do with us? We have elections here but it doesn’t mean the public needs and views on policies are taken into consideration. Except when it is time to lead up to vote. And then they tell us what we may want to hear. Or what they think we want to hear.

      Once the election is over, they return to whatever the programme was prior to the elction. Who is in power no longer has any effect on the outcome to our lives.

      Center your thoughts on this country and where we are going and what is happening to our people and to our money that you take from ‘us’ without any true representation.

      • DanFilson
        24/10/2011 at 2:35 pm

        We have a vested interest in a stable world. That is one succinct reason why what happens in Tunisia should interest us.

        By the way, Lord Soley, being in the House of Lords, has no responsibility over taxation “our money that you take from ‘us’ without any true representation”.

        • maude elwes
          24/10/2011 at 5:17 pm

          @Dan Filson:

          And a stable world means blowing the *&** out of those who don’t want to abide by the US domination we are under, does it? That is true stability. Increase bombing and cut the food from those who don’t want our investment in corporation abuse. Can’t wait to get into Iran can they? There is another unstable nation that must be brought into the arms of the Western culture. And this Libya deal was the same. The pretense at it being a British effort is sickening. It was backed and supplied by the Americans and a fortune is what they are making in arms deals from it. So cut the crap.

          I am totally nauseated by the ficticious outpourings of MP’s in the House of Commons today. Including the Prime Minister, telling us that Europe is directing us on policies we are not happy with.

          Now, how does he account for that? Most of the decisions governments have made on our behalf, the ones that create public disquiet, were practiced in the USA years before they hit here and Europe. I have American extended family, and we know they had most of the policies that irritates us there, as far back as the eighties. Long before Europe even knew about them. The education of children being dumbed down, no universal health care, immigration and on and on. You call it, they had it there first.

          The ones they don’t have in the US are the ones this government wants rid of. The protection of the public from exploitation, which of course, the US doesn’t sign up to. They founded their country on exploitation of their people.

          Why this face card? This utter farce that Europe is the leader in these chilling motives? If we were out of Europe tomorrow, none of the irritation would be removed. None. What would be removed, is the rights to justice in matters of business. Not one iota would be different except the poor lining up for food stamps and soup kitchens as a way of life. More unemployment to keep them at slaves door. Although, haven’t the Conservatives brought that soup kitchen idea here already?

          Do you really believe we are all deaf, dumb and blind, the way they believe we are?

          I know first hand what it is like living under the US policy on poverty for all. Except those who can skirt around the tax laws and pay less than a cleaning lady when taking home billions.

          The French have the idea that sees an end to that kind of duplicity. Liberte, egalite and fraternite. In close relationship with that lady of the night, Madame Guillotine.

        • maude elwes
          24/10/2011 at 6:46 pm


          I don’t know why you feel you have authority to answer my posts with your ideas, rather than those who set up the threads for discussion. Are you Lord Soley? Are you his secretary? If not, don’t reply for him. At least not to me.

          And he is a recipent of tax payers money as a member of the House of Lords. Which is £300+ per day.

          You do seem to feel you run the show don’t you?

          • DanFilson
            26/10/2011 at 4:26 pm

            This blog is open to all to contribute to discussions. Since Mr Yesman raised the issue of whether we should do a little more to make our own electoral system acceptable, before we condemn Tunisia’s efforts, and you, Maude, concurred saying “What have their elections to do with us?”, I felt it reasonable to put in my counter-view that we do have a vested interest in a more stable world (not least as that would enable us to cut defence spending). However it is wrong to read into that any support for USA military intervention in the future.

            My opinion is that we – the West – should not interfere with whatever Tunisia votes for, even if at first sight inamicable to world order or regional peace. But we are perfectly free to want a different government to that which they seem to be in the process of choosing. The electorate had a 90% turnout and whilst the Islamist party, rightly or wrongly described as moderate by some if that is not a contradiction in terms, does not have anything like an overall majority it seems to have achieved a position from which it will be part of any government. So be it, perhaps alas.

            As to your later comments, clearly I am not Lord Soley who is perfectly capable of speaking for himself and does so further down, nor his secretary or amanuensis, and I neither speak for him nor, perhaps thankfully for him, does her speak for me. Yes of course he receives a daily allowance when he attends, but the cost of that is small beer compared to the imposition of taxation by the other House.

            As to “You do seem to feel you run the show don’t you?”, I should observe that my contributions to Lords of the Blogs are far fewer than a good many others, and I hope mine are coherent even if others do not agree with them.

  6. Gareth Howell
    24/10/2011 at 2:11 pm

    Why is ‘our’ government so obsessed with interferring in or discussion on the machinations of ‘other’ countries?

    The principle of multi party democracy is wisely seen to be so important, that it is the main gist of the noble lord’s remarks.
    to have a government in waiting, or even two,
    is very wise indeed; not much to beat it.

    When you get in to questions of Uni-cameral
    parliaments, or two chambers as Tunisia has recently chosen, you are entering a different realm all together.

    Don’t forget that hard left of the labour party is very much against two chambers, whereas the noble lord evidently is not.

    I hope that the Tunisian experience will be commensurate with their modern literacy rates,
    although all they have to do is to put a cross by a name, and the name will probably have a party flag/logo by it.

  7. Mr. Yesman
    24/10/2011 at 2:17 pm

    It is only recent 19thC history that Tunisia
    provided the brides to the Ottoman empire and the Beys of Tunis were extant until 1957.


    When you look at that you can see where their two chambers theory is coming from.

    If you ain’t got one, (King or Queen) DON’T on any account hark back to it; it is decadent, reactionary, not good!


  8. Lord Soley
    Lord Soley
    24/10/2011 at 6:56 pm

    Shazzyrm. You ask ‘What then?’ You campaign for change. You stand for election yourself. You join a political group nearest to your views and work for change. I could go on. You have so many options in a free and open society. Alternatively you can turn away and wait for your strong man (it is usually a man) on horseback to take over so that you don’t have to think about complex issues anymore.
    I know Dan has not got all the things he wants in politics – nor have I but I suspect some of the commentators here won’t accept compromise and therein lies their weakness.

  9. ladytizzy
    24/10/2011 at 9:19 pm

    Lord Soley, what happens when everyone stands for election?

  10. MilesJSD
    25/10/2011 at 5:23 am

    “…have to think about complex issues…”

    (and historically You-in-Governance first of all)
    actually have far too many complex issues, swallowing up our Timeframes, human-energies, materials, places and monies, simply because we (‘You’ are actually the ‘toads-blocking-the-fountain’) have failed to get the Purpose-Order right;

    and secondarily, hereto worse, is that Lord Soley veiledly preaches “compromise” to us as a strength.
    It is not.
    Compromise is a weakness.

    ‘Win-Win-Win’ Needs & Hows Recognition and Cooperative Problem Solving (@method III) needs to be constituted as the first and continual resort in any truly Democratic country and organisation.

    (A previous submission illustrated this:
    Son and daughter in the kitchen, hastening to pack sachels and catch bus to respective schools, but only on orange left and they each want it (NOW !!!) so one says “let’s cut it in half” (having already done so as they were speaking); and off they went and caught their bus.
    That evening mother asks “what was the upset in the kitchen this morning?”
    “There was only one orange, so we had to cut it in half”
    Mother: “Why did you both need an orange ?”
    Son: “For my lunch”.
    Dauighter: “I had to have the skin as zest for my cookery class”.
    Father having been waiting in the doorway manages to contribute:
    “So if only we had Method III up and running, you could each have had your real need met, 100% ?”
    Dan Filson is also carried away thinking, as Lord Soley does, that Britain already is an up-and running “full democracy” –

    but (-um-) is faulty
    (because parliament and the people are preventing Lord Soley’s re-election, by “not pressing harder for a wholly or partly elected second chamber”).
    ! Clarity (including avoiding fallaciousness such as strawmanning and red-herringing diversionism, Dan);
    2 Charity (impartially find and acknowledge the good intention in another’s submissions)
    3 Be self-corrigible (take the hint).

  11. Twm O'r Nant
    25/10/2011 at 9:17 am

    The quote “first free and fair elections” has been used so many times in so many elections in so many countries, in Africa, that it is just not worth mentioning it. Who is the one with the ideals not prepared to compromise? Lord Soley I should think!

    Thinking of those who may be the perceived worst example of the last 30 years or so, Zimbabwe, were their elections not free and fair, whenever it was in the 1970s, and where
    are they now?!!

    Russia is beginning to look like a hereditary
    presidency too. Medvedev/Putin the gang of two, and to what does that lead?

    You can but hope for “free and fair” but after that it is a forlorn hope…. a
    parliamentarian’s dream or ideal.

  12. Lord Soley
    Lord Soley
    25/10/2011 at 2:17 pm

    If everyone stands we have a big, big election! The point I am making here is aimed at the cynics amongst the bloggers. There are not too many of them but what they do is try and spread cynicism and apathy and that is, IMV, destructive and a denial of their responsibility to society. If they have a point to make like you and others that’s fine but if they think all politicians and the system are useless then they should try and do something about it – not just whinge from the sidelines.

    • ladytizzy
      25/10/2011 at 4:12 pm

      At £500 per deposit, I may have stumbled on a way to clear the public deficit and debt. Pity we have to wait until 2015.

    • Shazzyrm
      26/10/2011 at 12:47 am

      I’m not trying to spread anything Lord Soley. I’m not sure how to take your comments to be honest. They come across as quite rude and condescending.

      I’m a responsible person. I played my part in society. I worked as a single mother when I was able. I know perfectly well my resonsibilities to society.

      Just because I’m daunted with the way things are right now, doesn’t make me a cynic or in denial. I don’t have a lot of confidence in the current or the last government, that much is true but does anyone? Can you honestly tell me that after the last few years of revelations and goings on that there are only a few of us that feel this way? If you really think this then you are in for a shock. I think it was made clear with the last election that people didn’t know which way to turn or who to vote for. No one got the majority to win the election outright.

      It must be a really raw nerve I hit and I don’t mean to be rude but so far the coalition has hit those who can’t fight back, the hardest. So I do believe, it’s not I who should face up to my responsibilities to society, it is the present coalition government.

      • Lord Blagger
        26/10/2011 at 10:59 am

        I’m not sure how to take your comments to be honest. They come across as quite rude and condescending.


        They don’t like it up ’em

  13. Lord Blagger
    25/10/2011 at 4:17 pm

    Well, in part that’s correct. We can publicise just how bad you are at your ‘job’ and the 2,700 a day it costs us to put up with you.

    You might have noticed that people on the IB post have realised that if they can’t get anything done by you, then we would be better off without you. You can then go out in to the big world and earn some money, so you can be taxed and pay back some of the cost of the mess.

    As for denial of responsibility, you’re wrong. If we don’t have a direct say in the issues, then we aren’t responsible for the mess, or for cleaning it up.

    After all, are you responsible for the Yorkshire ripper? Somehow I suspect you will deny any responsibility. The reason being that you were not involved in any of the decision making that resulted in people being killed.

    However, you want us to be responsible for your actions, when you won’t allow us a democratic vote on those matters.

    I’m not responsible for your mess. I get penalised as a result of the debts you’ve run up. Why should I feel obligated to pay 225,000 pounds with interest?

  14. Lord Soley
    Lord Soley
    25/10/2011 at 6:51 pm

    Fair point. I think I voted against £500 but I lost that argumane too!

  15. MilesJSD
    25/10/2011 at 11:25 pm

    The long-term Need in a democracy is for Continuing Participatory Democracy Enablement and Empowerment of the People; not for a “better-elected Upper House” nor for indelible-pens to replace the present erasable pencils-without-erasers to mark one’s five-yearly cross X on a racecourse-betting-slip-type of First-Past-The-Post” ‘democratic-say’ paper.

    Without that continuous enablement of The People to be scrutinising the powers that control us and ration our lifesupports, participatively making observations, progressively up through the whole-range and ‘pyramid’ of democratic participatory-governance skills,
    we too must remain condemned to sooner or later become like those non-British foreigners, “people & peers not valuing our democracy and thereby doomed to losing it”.

    British democracy does not even enable all of its People to act as informed “linespersons” able and willing to be flagging governance,marketplace, social, leadership, and academial errors, falsehoods, and other malfeasances or neglects, that take place at every level of Government from top to bottom and bottom to top;
    nor does this British “full democracy” enable the People, or at least those of the People willing to learn, to effectively submit our real needs and possibly-affordable and sustainworthy “hows” on a win-win-win constructive basis.
    (Better not show this to Baronesses Deech and Murphy, nor to their comprehension-limited supporters: they would simply choose not to understand one word of it).

    217 words.

  16. Lord Soley
    Lord Soley
    26/10/2011 at 1:12 pm

    Shazzrym. My response was not intended to be rude and I’m sorry if you see it that way. The point I am making is that you do have more potential power in a free and open society than simply by voting. I’m not asking you to rush out and stand for election – I am suggesting that there are ways of changing policy. Many people I know began to take part in politics or pressure groups etc because they felt they wanted to change things. My point is to engage.

    • Shazzyrm
      26/10/2011 at 4:52 pm

      Alrighty, Lord Soley. I do have to say, it is nice that this blog is available because I do find it very interesting and I’m grateful that people such as yourself are ready to engage with members of the public like you are doing. It doesn’t go missed, the effort that you make on these blogs and it’s a good start and I wish that more members of parliament would do so.

      • MilesJSD
        30/10/2011 at 7:16 am

        It appears that one must grasp the gist (thanks Maude Elwes)
        and the posting-peer-author’s subject (thanks GH)
        and ‘read between the lines’ sometimes.

        I also think it is needed that one CCC*- presents one’s own ‘film-clip’ appreciation, not just ‘charitably’ of the big-strategies and little-tactics argumentations and anecdotals that are being put forward, but vitally of any influencing-issue that is being missed or denied, especially when it seems ‘too difficult’ or scary to be kept on, or even allowed onto, the Table.

        I see such as happening in LordsoftheBlog:
        but let us snapshot-instantiate here –
        had Shazzrym and Lord Soley (and others of us) set alongside the need for more and better democratic-participation, by more Lords and Parliamentarians, on such matters as LotB appears to reasonably-balanced-successful in maintaining,
        the truly challenging democratic need for greater People-Participation and Enablement surely requires plenty of LotB-like channels;
        but (ISSUE) we see no such further e-sites or channels; LotB is the only one, having to go round nearly 63 million needy-British-citizens !

        Our ‘ideal’ more-perfect-democratisation vocations and missions have above all to be practicable;

        and here is an ISSUE because LotB appears to be the ONLY “democratic and democratising” e-site
        in the World !
        Meanwhile, perhaps what Lord Soley was ‘intuiting’ or ‘feeling’ when he wrote
        “If enough people do not value their *democracy* then they are doomed to lose it”
        was that if any of us mis-value, or fail to see and support the good and sustainworthy grounds upon which we live both as a Nation (of Peoples) and as a Nation-State (Peoples-Having-a-LandCountry, and a Government thereof).
        .*CCC = The three principles of good-communication and honest-argumentation:
        1. Clarity 2 Charity 3 Corrigibility.

  17. Gareth Howell
    26/10/2011 at 6:52 pm

    What electoral system will the election follow?
    “The election for the Constituent Assembly will follow a closed-list proportional representation system with a
    parity principle requiring that half the list will be filled by women who will alternate on the list with male
    candidates in the 27 domestic constituencies and four out-of-country constituencies. ”

    Since the subject give n by the noble lord was free and fair elections in Tunisia, it is interesting to know that their new system may turn out to be far in advance of that in the UK, as above. Half of all candidates to be women and FOUR out of country constituencies for all the native Tunisians in Paris, and Marseilles. 4 out of 31 is a phenomenal number, mainly from Residents of France!


    Tunisia has always had excellent women’s rights although representation by their own gender is new.

    I thought Mr Yesman above is very cynical.Yesman is presumably an Arabic name.

  18. Gareth Howell
    26/10/2011 at 9:03 pm


    A delightful on the day video account of the Tunisian elections from the Guardian. One man is chairman of 47 of the 110 political parties.
    Suck it and see!

    Does that mean that there are in reality only two or three?

  19. DanFilson
    27/10/2011 at 1:02 pm

    Do not confuse the late reporting of liability which is what Vince Cable did with tax evasion, a completely different kettle of fish. I may not support the guy politically but I would not tar with him with the tax evader label.

  20. Twm O'r Nant
    28/10/2011 at 8:54 am

    Nobody’s interested in the topic subject at all!

    But the “Occupy” demonstrators round the world presumably do not think that multi party democracy is necessarily a valuable thing.

    They are “Situationists” successors to/with the mantle of communism, and marxism, and the
    one party state.

    What the concept of “spectacle” means, I am not entirely sure.

    The Cooperatives sell democracy over the counter, as part of their membership, and it is ATV. You vote for the candidates in order of preference, 1-100+ and the lowest number wins. If yer got 1 from everybody, then you win.

    You do not put a party affiliation beside your name, so it is not multi party, but it is more democratic than any system I know of.

  21. Lord Blagger
    28/10/2011 at 12:37 pm

    The problem is that politicians aren’t trusted for many reasons.

    Fraud is part of it, but equally their lies to get elected – Lib Dems and Tuition fees. All parties and referendums over Europe.

    The electorate has realised that their vote doesn’t count. Politicians will carry on screwing us over, for the petty and the large. [In the case of John Prescot and his food and casino bills, both]

    So what do the protesters and others, myself include want? They want a direct say on an issue, not the next pig in parliament. They also want the right to kick out the thieves, since not even the Lords are kicking out theirs.

  22. Gareth Howell
    30/10/2011 at 9:18 am

    The electorate has realised that their vote doesn’t count.

    During my 65 years, has it ever?
    I have voted twice. Once to vote a certain James Knight* IN, and the second time to vote him O….U…T!!

    The second time it did not count. The first time, it voted him in along with about 70
    other votes. He still hasn’t thanked me for it. In fact he hurled slanderous abuse at me for some time, whilst in the education office, which I took more kindly than I should have done.

    The second time we were back to the old scenario of “It did not matter”, familiar throughout my life. 14,000 people voted him out, so my vote did not….count!

    I did understand however why my personal choice of candidate in 2001 had been so loudly howled down by 2010.

    * all charcaters in this little saga are fictitious, except Lord Blagger, who is known to all .

    • MilesJSD
      31/10/2011 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you GH;
      I think such ‘anecdotal-ish’ contributions to be abosulutely essential;
      because after all it is from the wide range of recorded life-experiences that objective and governancial moral-reasonings & formal-argumentations have to be drawn.

      Fiction surely is frequently the best way of communicating real-life-sense –
      sense, as distinct from mere words-defining-previous-other-words(trying to accurately delineate real-life sense).

  23. Lord Blagger
    30/10/2011 at 10:16 pm

    Anyway, latest news on the blagging front comes from another Peer, the Lord of the Pies, the mouth of the Humber, Two Jags, Prescott.

    In between doing a bit of late office work with his secretary, we now have his expenses. This is on top of having to pay for two broken loo seats. Fake cladding on the house.


    Lord Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister, and his officials spent hundreds of pounds at an Australian casino on a taxpayer-funded credit card, it emerged last night.

    They also spent more than £490 at Doyle’s seafood restaurant in Watson’s Bay and £75 at an aquarium. [Probably trying to find Nemo]

    So much for belt tightening.

    Each Peer costs the taxpayer 2,700 pounds a day.

  24. DanFilson
    31/10/2011 at 3:22 pm

    A number of contributors are aiding considerably the “All politicians are corrupt, useless or both” line of thought that in my opinion undermines democracy. Lord B adds in the cost per legislator which begs the question how cheap one has to go before he regards the price as worth paying.

    Of course our democratic system in imperfect but the alternative to democracy is a lot worse. The Weimar Republic and the French Third Republic were full of people mocking the politicians mercilessly, and many were indeed corrupt or useless or both, but the rottenness of the republics was aided by the cynicism that the critics generated and both republics fell in 1933 and 1940 without difficult because by then few seemed to mourn their departures. If the people had valued democracy more, however imperfect, who knows what we might have been spared.

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