New democracy

A major difficulty for the current debate on the question of Scotland’s future within the UK, I believe, stems from the fact that we British are not politically minded.

We don’t take a passionate interest in political affairs; we don’t want the trouble of political responsibilities.

Clearly many people would dissent from this judgment. We are accustomed to hear that “the British” have “political genius”, and that parliamentary institutions are in no small part due to this political genius.

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But what does “the British” stand for here? In my opinion the answer is that it stands for the ruling class, educated for political purposes, trained from birth to undertake the responsibilities of ruling.

The vast majority of British people want to be governed peaceably, and want to be free to pursue their own unpolitical interests. If democratic government means government by consent of the governed, then we have a democratic government.

If democratic government means that the voice of the people prevails, then we can hardly be said to have a democratic government.

This is not because “the voice of the people” is heard but not heeded; it is because there is no “voice of the people” to be heard. This statement certainly needs qualification.

There have been occasions when the majority (or at least a strong and effective minority) of the British people have felt so strongly about some political matter that they have found a voice and compelled the politicians to listen.

These occasions are rare. The voice will be a mere flatus vocis unless it speaks out of the clearness and fullness of the head.

I believe that “the voice of the people” and their government’s willingness to listen to it only have meaning in a country the size of Scotland – anything bigger and that voice is stillborn.

For this reason we need an independent Scotland.

Doug Clark

Muir Wood Grove