Sunday quotes (42)

A series of quotes relevant to the environment and/or campaigning.

This week’s quote is from Winston Churchill (died 1965).

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

More on Winston Churchill – click here.


8 Replies to “Sunday quotes (42)”

  1. Winston Churchill (died 1965

    Twenty years too late. And that is being charitable. There are a lot of people who might say that old monster’s death came 90 years late.

  2. Yes ok, but there are various forms of democracy. The voting system we have in this country at the moment is archaic and far from good democracy. Most countries in Europe now operate on a proportional representation system which surely is much more democratic.
    When I voted on Thursday in a strong Tory constituency my vote was
    essentially a wasted vote. Surely it should have counted in a fairer overall election system.
    Again yet another Tory vested interest prevails since the first past the post system suits them wonderfully especially as their opposition parties split their vote between the Greens, Lib Dem’s and Labour.
    So in this country we have the vestige of democracy but not true democracy but we won’t get the Tories to change that.

      1. Exactly so. And tactical voting just takes votes away from the minor parties who are then discouraged from putting up candidates. We need change and it can only come from us, it won’t come from either of the main parties.

      2. Indeed.

        And when in opposition in 2011 over 150 Labour MPs and Peers joined up with the Tories and campaigned hard against AV.
        None more so than Emily Thornberry who, if I recall correctly, opposed AV on the basis that it destroyed the relationship between an MP and their constituents and complexity. Yes – she felt that that a ballot paper which required voters to rank candidates in order of preference was beyond most of the electorate..

        Of course this had nothing to do with the fact that in the previous two General Elections she had only just held on against opposition from the Lib Dems and probably would not have won under AV.

        1. AV was a bad system. It was designed to ensure that the lib dems would be in cabinet in perpetuity, and that Nick Clegg would never have to leave the deputy PM gig for the rest of his career. It was championed by the Lib Dems at a time when Nick Clegg was actively destroying any sense of trust in that party, lessons of which they still have not learned, and of course nobody wanted it.

          Get back to us when a version of PR is not rigged to keep one minority party in power forever; like political Vicars of Bray who change their principles whenever it suits.

          1. Save the revisionist clap-trap for those that don’t know any better.

            The Liberal Democrat’s had been long-term advocates of electoral reform well before the coalition. AV wasn’t the preferred choice of the party, that was STV. But politics is the art of what is possible and it was considered that AV was an acceptable compromise, and was very much viewed as a stepping stone to PR, and seen as a much more democratic voting system than FPTP.

            The Labour Party weren’t prepared to offer a referendum on voting reform as a condition of coalition were they?

            Voting against AV on the basis of a personal dislike of Nick Clegg and the coalition was nothing over than plain foolishness.

            I’m pretty sure that given the chance, Nick Clegg would have done things differently. And hindsight is as is usually the case 20:20. Whatever your personal opinions on Nick Clegg, he has been the only party leader to get anywhere near changing the fundamentally unfair FPTP system.

  3. The UK is not a democracy. It is an electoral dictatorship. The Sovereign is sovereign and we are her subjects, not citizens. The exercise of sovereignty and the absolute power claimed by the Crown was ceded by the Crown to the English parliament in 1689. Sovereignty in practice then rested with the Crown in Parliament and in practice with the prime minister who then wielded the absolute power of the crown as long as he commanded a majority in parliament. Absolute power required a stable system so you got a two party system, with the only check on absolute power being a maze of gentlemen’s agreements and arcane precedents – the laughable English ‘Constitution’ – all of which suited the two parties including, eventually, Labour.
    European democracies are founded on the sovereignty of the people. Power flows upwards and that produces written constitutions, protects people’s rights, produces multi party systems reflecting diverse views, and governments founded on cooperation. It is, in fact, government by the people, for the people and it is exercised by citizens, not subjects.
    The English system is, to put it mildly, a top down system, set up to make any fundamental reforms impossible and whose weaknesses have been exposed by the charlatans now driving a coach and horses through the gentlemen’s agreements en route to fully exercising the sovereign’s absolute power. The only checks so far on this behaviour have had to come, astonishingly, via the Scottish and European courts which simply reflects the lack of a proper Anglo British constitution.
    The democratic fig leaf of elections and majority government has now been removed because the North and Midlands of England voted, out of the economic despair and political alienation created by that system, for a strong man with a simple and bogus solution.
    Labour, from its beginnings, never aspired to change this system ; they deferred to it and aspired to join the establishment it represents, all of which made Labour’s social and economic aspirations ultimately futile.
    The SNP has risen as Labour has collapsed because secession is, for Scotland at least, a fundamental challenge to the English constitutional and political system and offers a route to the sovereignty of the people which is fundamental to Scottish constitutional law. That offers hope in place of alienation.

    And, by the way, Churchill was indeed a monster and worse.

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