13 May 2010

Britain tries out Coalition

Every country has the media it deserves. This expression comes to mind when one listens and reads what the media pundits have to say about the fresh experiment with coalition government in the UK. One gets the impression that journalists would love nothing better than a bust-up between the Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats when they conduct their interviews.
We also would like to caution against expecting too much a transition to coalition government. There is nothing magic about either a single-party or coalition government. Both create problems with respect to democratic legitimacy and in our view only a transition to a full version of direct democracy can insure that the wish of the majority of the electorate is followed in all policy measures.

To raise taxes or cut services

This is the dilemma facing political decision makers in most industrialised countries at the moment. Under a system of direct democracy the solution to the fiscal problems would be much more transparent as citizens would have the ability to vote on each spending measure item by item. This would avoid the commingled decision-making that dominates the political landscape at the moment where citizens may agree to measure A but not to measure B but have no way of making a differentiated contribution at the ballot box.