If we, as people, want ‘liberty’ in order to make our own decisions that affect our life (and whose life is it, ours or that of someone else) then we need to change our system of democracy in this country. Under representative democracy we cannot achieve either as those we elect are able to make decisions over which we have no say, ie control. Those that make our laws are not bound by any constraint in regard to which they promise is that they will enact – think manifestos?
As two examples, consider both smoking and recall of MPs.
In the first example, where smoking in public places was concerned the government of the day initially stated that it would be up to those who ran, for example, pubs and restaurants to decide whether they catered for one or the other, or both. Yet when said law was enacted, it resulted in a ‘blanket ban’ on smoking in either; whilst said ban was extended into other areas as a result of those with a ‘no-smoking’ agenda.
The second example concerned the recall of MPs, wherein we were promised, in the ‘Coalition Manifesto’, just that. When the said law was enacted we found that whilst we could recall MPs (after jumping through a few hoops) the final decision would rest with a group of MPs; who thus had the power to override the ‘liberty’ that we had been promised.
There is, in hindsight, a third example; Brexit – and if ever an example existed in which the will of the people was high-jacked – it must be that question. It has been high-jacked, not only by political dictat, but by political ignorance and ineptitude; and, once again, the voice of we, the people, has been silenced by both our political class and our media.
Where liberty and democracy are concerned, one depends upon the other; unfortunately throw into that mix representative democracy; and the people can achieve neither.
Some time ago I started a website: DD4UK (Direct Democracy for the United Kingdom) – a site now suspended through lack of interest – the ‘punchline’ of which was that if one wished to take an interest in the democracy of one’s country you had to participate and not just be a bystander.
For far too long now we have witnessed those among us complaining about this, that and the other and who do nothing other than complain, quite vociferously in fact; and in so doing accomplish exactly what?
The immediate foregoing points lead, rather neatly, into the following (reputed) quotation:
Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves the necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Is it not about time that we, the people of this nation, took an interest in that which is happening to us? Is it not time that we, the people, embraced that heavy burden of perpetual choice; and thus negated being subjected to democratised dictatorial rules made by an elite over whom we have no day-to-day control?
After all, if the Swiss can control their political elite, a question: why should we not so do?