Democracy In Action or Inaction
Griping with a friend about the indecision that still surrounds Brexit, he commented 'Actually it's a fine example of democracy in action'. Trying to accommodate the best interests of both parties when there is so little difference in the support for either option is forcing the country to go back to the ballot box. The stalemate has occurred because both parties in this particular case have brought about the opposite of what was intended – in short, an extended period of inaction.
With little difference in the support for either point of view, waverers on either side are subject to false claims or promises, hyperbole, personal attacks and other assaults on the integrity of particular parties which either play on the ignorance of voters or pander to their tribal interests.
The irony, though, is that we have the social media tools to share information more widely than before, and to really get a dialogue going between all of us. Have we the maturity to use it? Maybe not, as we are now faced with fake news, misinformation campaigns, hate mails and on line intimidation of anyone posing a different point of view to oneself.
The value of sharing information, though, is shown by the examples in Bentley's OpenCities Planner, where Swedish citizens are invited to participate in an on-line discussion about future development of their city. Whether this allows decisions to become easier to be made is open to debate, but there is no doubt that this truly becomes democracy in action. All that's needed, then, is for some representative body to assess the information and make the decision. Uh-oh! At what point, then, does democracy become stasis.
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