The un-democrats

imagesThe argument that the EU is un-democratic appears to have gained a great deal of traction and resonance amongst many people as we look forward to the referendum in exactly 13 weeks time. In my own view this is only partially correct. The MEPs are all elected and whilst I believe that the way in which the electoral system works disadvantages anyone who might stand as an Independent even more so than if there was a first past the post system in operation, nevertheless I would not argue that people like Nigel Farage lack any democratic legitimacy. Then there are the 27 Commissioners who are appointed by sovereign democratic governments such as ours. I have big concerns about this process and would like to see all of us given a chance to elect our Commissioner, but so far that is not one of the reforms being promised by any of the political parties including UKIP. No doubt there are other reasons why the Brexit campaign call the EU un-democratic. However if they are to do so, surely the lack of democracy in other settings should also bother them. A number of crucial decisions are being taken by our Local Economic Partnership. This is a body that is business led, and has representatives from our local authorities on it. It replaced a much bigger body, that cost more to run, but which was constituted in a similar manner. The Conservative Party were deeply opposed to the LEPs predecessor because it was un-democratic. I recall MPs like Henry Smith being particularly vociferous in his criticism. Yet the LEPs were formed by the coalition and supported by Henry and his colleagues and they are no more democratic than the previous body. A similar case exists in the attempt to create local devolution for Sussex. Those sitting on the body that is coming up with the proposals that will be decided upon by the Government have not been elected to that position by you or I. They are meeting in secret and in the case of the board looking at proposals for Brighton & Hove, not even publicising any of their deliberations. Lets deal with democracy, but do so with an even hand and in a manner that is clear to all of us.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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