Comment on newspaper editorial April 2005

Your leader reports on research from the Electoral Commission which "found a lively interest among citizens in how they were governed, but huge scepticism about the current system: only 3% of voters "strongly agree" that they have a say in the way the country is run." (Who cares wins,3604,1451466,00.html Monday 4th April 2005)

The analysis ignores a structural defect of the way in which we govern our country. It is entirely indirect, "representative", by proxy. As citizens of Great Britain and Northern Ireland our only way to express ourselves politically, that is on public matters which affect all of us, is to give away our vote to a candidate and political party once every few years. Policies are only vaguely defined, in manifestos and as party "philosophy". Response during a parliament to changed circumstances and events are left to the opaquely influenced ruling clique, there being no effective procedures for the people to intervene either by proposal or veto.

The Guardian and other serious organs of the "media" have a blind spot for this defect, a democratic scotoma! In other advanced industrial countries the electorate and citizenry may intervene in political affairs with proposals which must be heard in parliament. Also, a large number of citizens may put a proposal for new law, or veto, to the electorate in "citizen-initiated referendum". More information about these well established procedures may be found via <> and <>

M. Wallace-Macpherson