Chasing the Dots – the Delusion of the Democratic Decision [opinion]

I quite surprised myself in my sudden interest and indeed an exposure to myself of g personal feelings over the “Scottish question”.

While admitting a belief that Scotland should stay within the United Kingdom, I also found myself accepting that Scotland as a distinct nation with its own character, traditions and governmental ways, was all the ger because of the referendum in that the other nations within the United Kingdom also were entitled and would benefit from a partial separation from Westminster, as Scotland had achieved.

When the final result came out giving a significant victory to the “No’s” it became apparent to me that, while superficially a victory for the UK system and a loss for Alex Salmond of the “Yes” group, this is actually not so! Why? While Scotland remains part of the UK it is evident that the central Westminster control of almost all facets of the remaining three partners, this is going to change rapidly and that all four partners are going to gain closer control over their own affairs and be less influenced by the others in policy and actions in their own “country”, without losing much of the benefits of being ultimately a single nation when “under stress”.

This change, assuming Cameron sticks to his guns, will have the four component nations with their own laws, budgets and business styles largely independent of each other apart from, presumably, on matters of defence, some areas of trade and foreign affairs and certain strategic infrastructure areas. The change to having their own “parliaments” will also change the balance of power in each nation and even demographics might show some interesting consequences. After all, take out the over 65s from the Scottish vote and a “yes” may have resulted! Let the English only vote for their parliament and the Labour Party may disappear!

However, the direct consequence of the Scottish referendum is likely to be a significant change in parliamentary government with more decisions being made at local levels by the people rather than a constant need for UK wide politicians to have to compromise in the current UK parliament system in order to move anything forward.

And sure, there maybe other referenda in the future to decide on local sovereignty but this exercise, especially (and fortunately!) as a “No” vote has added new dimensions to the democratic process. Hopefully it has brought power closer to the people and removed the need for referenda on this same subject as, to me, such supposed democratic process is not democratic as it constantly re-asks the same question, which if ultimately approved, is irreversible and in my opinion is not therefore part of the democratic process. Thus I hope others see this!

But as a Namibian, why do I make such a song and dance over this bit of UK history? Simple, we have had some disagreements over recent changes in our Constitution and, thanks to a couple of parties who sent me good details on the changes, and despite me disagreeing with some of those changes, it appears that none of those changes is irreversible. The democratic process still rules and in future further changes may well be made and can be made within due process. We have not reduced our hard-fought democratic process to become a victim of a referendum!

Yes, the changes will probably keep Swapo in power for many more years, but at least there is likely to remain some form of opposition! However, having over 100 MPs including the 8 of choice, around 120 regional councillors and who the hell knows how many city, town, village and whatever more representatives on the payroll, plus public servants, useless state companies and multiple oversight groups, it appears that over 70% of employed people work for government in one form or another.

The significant private sector players who actually produce the tax cash to keep this 70% in business, while growing economically, is expanding neither business nor jobs at a similar rate. Our fundamental problem of increasingly disheartened youth under 30 is the pressure cooker that is slowly heading for danger. Fortunately, there is little visible evidence of impending explosions in Namibia but this is where the hidden danger lies!

It takes little effort to look at world happenings to see a growing culture of violent obscenities in (presently) Arab based countries under the apparent flag of religion. These are increasingly being found to be unstoppable! This is madness being driven by the increasingly desperate youth of many countries, a madness which, if not subdued, would seem to be headed to expand, to where I know not.

And here is the danger that, where democracy is supposedly practised, but little more than a created delusion, the doors are cracked open to those insanely violent revolutionaries able to capture the minds and bodies of disillusioned youth.

The driving force is simple. Within each nation the economic power and wealth of those in power are often flaunted. This is what provides the crack in the armour of democracy and allows insanity to enter the arena.

Our revised constitutional thinking gives Namibia a chance to keep the democratic cracks safely closed, if that is what we want! Military might is not a solution, only change in people’s reality.

Source : The Namibian