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Governments pretend to be strong but are not. They are mostly talk. For example: we have said ‘Sorry’ to the aboriginal people but it will be a very long haul before we have rescued them from whatever factors are holding them back.
Again, we hear of the need for action on climate change but we get talk. In the Age of 19 February 2008, Liz Minchin wrote:
Does anyone believe we could do that? Really? The only start so far is that people have bought small cars – although the Victorian government is buying some hybrid cars.
From the same article:
If it is that easy why isn’t government implementing the necessary triggers already? It’s all talk. The fact is that realistic cuts will cut deep into lifestyles and it will take a great strength in the people, and very strong government to do that.
But the only way you can have that kind of strong government is to have the people involved in government decisions and independent representatives who are at one with, and totally dependent on their constituents.
We need strong government – based on the strength of the people. Democracy basically means strong people, because only a strong people can be self-governing – facing up to the costs that the demands of the present and the future will entail.
A people made strong by the opportunity to participate will direct – and support – a government by the representatives they have also had a direct hand in choosing, and who can be relied on to fully and strongly represent their views in parliament.
With full information on all issues available to the people, whose trust has been won by their representatives in parliament, we will see the power of the people making government strong to do what’s necessary – not waffling about pretentiously and ineffectively.
We often have strong government – strong to act unilaterally but often at odds with the people. It is party government, not parliamentary government. Strong party government is based on strong leaders – personalities who can convince or scare the public into choosing them – trawling in the voters like fish – with their huge advertising budgets, while the people at large are asleep in disconnected ignorance. We have had our Jeff and our Johnny getting carried away with the power with which they have been entrusted by a trusting populace which has foolishly left it to politicians to govern, rather than take responsibility for government in a workable process of self-government, which can be strong to do what is good and right but without the latitude to rashly embark on major decisions which in so many cases cannot be later reversed.
A genuine parliamentary government, based on ballot rule in parliament, can be strong to forge ahead with serious decisions, involving long-term planning with major outlays over a long period if needed. But such decisions can only be made with the public consciously and deliberately involved by independent and vulnerable politicians. To suggest that such politicians can be powerful seems perhaps anachronistic, but the truth of the matter is that in a genuine democracy, power is the function of the people’s involvement. Where the people are involved their power flows through their representative to the parliament in which he/she can be strong to make decisions because those decisions begin in the wisdom of an informed people – people who will not attack the decisions they themselves have made, no matter how hard.
By contrast, the pre-eminent power of party government, based on a slender majority victory with a little known or understood platform, creates an automatic and often irrational opposition to the decisions of the ruling party in parliament, dictated by ‘political’ considerations, relished by the media, but destructive to strong government, with restless and possibly violent opposition on the streets, by ordinary people excluded from legitimate democratic participation.
Under a genuine parliamentary government, with all members independent and every decision by ballot, there will be no automatic dissent in parliament based on sectional antagonism. What dissent there is there will be confined to the objective, rational objections (if any) to individual issues by representatives who are in meaningful contact with their constituents.
Decisions by parliaments under the rule of the ballot will be objective and clear cut, instead of ‘politically’ motivated, abolishing pointless antagonisms in parliament and creating the strong government we need to handle the severe problems accumulating on our social, political and international horizon. Bold and costly decisions are needed, but without the power of a committed people, informed, convinced and motivated behind it government cannot be strong to do right – only weak and misguided – without the involvement and considered viewpoint of the people – a stumbling elephant.