Modern Times, Reality

The Tyranny Of The Majority.

Recent events in Europe and in America have shown how the majority can influence the political direction of a country. In these cases, now including Italy, the question asked was essentially a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Either you supported the proposal or you didn’t.

Many British voted to remain in the European Union.
There weren’t enough who actually did.

Recent events in Europe and in America have shown how the majority can influence the political direction of a country. In these cases, now including Italy, the question asked was essentially a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Either you supported the proposal or you didn’t.

In the case of Britain, the nay sayers, those who wanted to stay within the European Union, lost. Not only that, but they are unhappy about it. They are quite as unhappy about the situation as the sizeable number of people who voted for Hillary Clinton. Sizeable, but not sufficient. After all, Trump won the day.

We have here a substantial dissatisfaction in both countries.

Now, I doubt if there would have been quite as much uproar had Trump lost and the British remained in the EU – that is a different question. The fact remains that the losers in both cases are not playing fair. They expected to win, and are disappointed that they did not.

Mainly because they had expected to win. In America, some betting shops had already paid out on a Clinton win; the Democratic party and the newspapers had set up the fanfare.

They were setting themselves up for a disappointment in the way the surveyor had done with me. He had expected me to leap at the opportunity to have a new kitchen. He was crestfallen when I refused; to him it was incomprehensible that anybody would refuse a gift of this kind.

But I have to state that I did not disappoint him: he had expected something that was not rightly his to expect. That is to say, the decision did not lie with him, much as he and those above him might have wished. (1)

The Democrats were unhappy with the result, as those who wanted to remain in the EU were.

The Situation In Europe.

I want to turn to Europe now, where the political system is still a little more lively than the British or American who have a form of the ‘First Past The Post’ system. Here in Europe, the distribution of the votes leads directly to the distribution of seats in the parliament. There are minor differences that need not bother us here; the fact remains that if you cast a vote for a party that gets more than 2% of the whole, they will be represented in parliament. This means that in the case of Geert Wilders of the Dutch extremist party PVV, he has had roughly 25% of the vote and a suitable number of seats.

It is important to note that whilst there has been a the rise of the right wing parties in recent years, their being represented in parliament, their policies are shown for what they are. They have to deal with the mundane, day to day issues of governing a nation as well as their own extreme policies. I will give you an example of this: whilst in Germany, we had to set out a new workshop. The law applying to this was from 1936, and had not been repealed. I need not tell you who was in power, but it does go to show that he had to deal with the nitty gritty as well as getting rid of all the Jews.

Even so, he could only achieve what he did by breaking the law. Hitler had no formal majority, indeed, he was not even close to having one! His American paymasters must have been shocked at how hard it is to thwart a rugged democracy like Germany’s.

In the UK, Margaret Thatcher won a memorable victory of over 140 seats… with only 42% of the vote. Such disproportionality does not exist in Europe, much as the Americans might want it to. After all, they know nothing else: the problem is that the system they are so proud of has led them to disappointment.

Such disproportionality does not exist in Europe, much as the Americans might want it to. In the elections of 2013, Frau Angela Merkel got 41% of the vote – distributed between her own CDU party and the Bavarian CSU.

The distribution of seats in the German Bundestag, after the election of September 2013.
41% of the vote did not ensure Merkel a government, even with 49% of the seats! She had to go begging.
Tageschau.

In the elections held in Germany in 2013, Frau Angela Merkel got 41% of the vote – distributed between her own CDU party and the Bavarian CSU. What with one thing and another, they got 49% of the vote.

It must be stressed that under German law, this is not enough to form a government. With the same proportion of the vote, Thatcher had a massive majority.

Merkel had to go begging, and begging because she was only 1% short of a majority! This is what happened in the aftermath:

Formal talks began in the first week of October when Merkel met SPD leaders on 4 October. She said: “Europe is watching us, the world is watching us. We have the common responsibility to build a stable government.” She also planned to hold talks with the Greens the following week. After five weeks of negotiations that culminated in an all-night session 27–28 November, the CDU/CSU reached agreement with the SPD to form a new coalition government. Issues resolved in the talks included the planned introduction of a minimum hourly wage of €8.50 in 2015 and no new taxes. The deal depended on approval by the SPD rank and file, with a poll set for 6 December. On 14 December, 76% of the SPD’s members voted for the coalition to go ahead.

Wikipedia, German election of 2013.

The point is that in Germany, politicians have to talk. They have to deal with each other and their needs in a practical and meaningful way. In the UK and US the matter is largely a matter of one party lording it over the others and telling them what to do.

The election of 2009, a CDU/CSU and FDP coalition.
Tageschau.

Thus the left and the right had joined in a coalition parliament. Mainly due to the collapse of the FDP, but that is beyond the scope of this post.

The point is that in Germany, politicians have to talk. They have to deal with ‘opposition’ members – such things do not exist in Europe, they are part of the parliament as much as any other member is – they have to deal with each other and their needs in a practical and meaningful way.

That is to say, they have to engage with each other as equals. This is a structure of government where leadership knows that one day they might have to deal with the other parties in a government.

In the UK and US the matter is largely a matter of one party lording it over the others and telling them what to do. This isn’t good for politics, and it certainly isn’t good for an economy. Both of these countries have serious government deficits (2), and these can be ascribed to the poor negotiating abilities of the politicians in both countries. Poor communication skills are a direct result of poor thinking.

Germany’s 6% government surplus is not a matter of industrial production alone.

Quite as importantly, in past elections in Germany, other parties have seen themselves represented, mainly the FDP. Further to this, it is not uncommon for ‘opposition’ members to manage to defeat the government and pass a measure in their own political direction.

In 2005 the Green party was offered as part of a coalition.
This was refused by the CDU.
Tageschau.

Quite as importantly, in past elections in Germany, other parties have seen themselves represented, mainly the FDP. Further to this, it is not uncommon for the government to be defeated and a measure in a different political direction. Nobody is particularly bothered by this, it’s all part of how you rule a country. Especially when you know you might be in government with them next time…

It is also important to note that this leads to a far fairer representation; what it does not lead to is entire swathes of the country smearing the walls with their dirty nappies because they didn’t get what they wanted.

 

Notes

(1) This is from a deeper understanding of Perry Marshall’s “Tactical Triangle.” Economics is but another expression of how humans interact, and the tactical triangle is one expression of human communication. My post “Conversation in Goethe’s Time, And Ours”  looks at this same phenomenon from a different angle. (Click here). It is essential to grasp the fact that you cannot expect customers to behave in the way that surveyor did: in expecting, he actively destroys the business he works for. The problem is that he doesn’t know this; nor does Mr Marshall.

(2) Both Britain and America have government deficits that are now outside the danger zone of 4%. Britain’s is considerably more, approaching 7%. Any modest increase in borrowing rates will see this deficit spiral out of control. Now you know why they like zero interest rates! It gives them a few more months of existence.

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8 thoughts on “The Tyranny Of The Majority.

  1. I never have and never will understand politics, however there is one thing that I have [noticed] about it , no matter which political parties are in power, all the promises that were said in the lead up to the elections , go out the window once the goal has been obtained. The blame for this problem gets laid squarely at the feet of what the previous party had done, “they left everything in such a state?” the magic trick of palm the promise while the other hand is holding a shiny object.
    You can hear this over and over again , they are all guilty of it . It’s called the child’s syndrome ” it wasn’t my fault , not me , they did it ” . ? It’s our own fault we let them do every time , it’s like , here’s a new look ; but it’s only a cover song of an old tune .

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    • Gemma says:

      “no matter which political parties are in power, all the promises that were said in the lead up to the elections , go out the window once the goal has been obtained.”

      All that says to me is that you’ve never lived in a democracy. Merkel could never get away with that kind of thing.

      Why?

      Because she’s dependent on her voters. Now: you may read things in the media that say she has done wrong. The Germans know this, and know what is being said. Some even believe it. There are enough who are intelligent enough to know what Merkel is doing for her country, and have direct, personal experience of the fact that she does as she says she will. As do the other political parties.

      That is Germany’s strength; without it they would be weak. Britain, which lacks it, is weak – and in 2015 (the latest figures available – and which were swiftly covered up) the national debt had soared to £3.5 trillion. This figure has been so carefully buried that even newspapers are still quoting the 2014 figures.

      What the 2016 figures are is anyone’s guess. Well, there is one thing that will be certain: it won’t be any lower than 3.5 trillion. That’s a guarantee.

      Openness in government pays huge dividends; telling lies means you’re failing.

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  2. That’s the state of British politics, diverting the public’s attention to something else, cover A with B and nobody notices and if they do make B more important than it is, result A is forgotten . Politics smoke and mirrors , newspapers only print stories for syndication numbers or because of their political views ,TV news want viewers so go for shock value, politician did so and so .
    Safe to say don’t​ believe half of what you see and nothing you hear from a politician ( thanks granddad )

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    • Gemma says:

      And the Europeans don’t believe it either. Because the Americans, through the EU do this kind of thing a lot.

      It’s not how European politicians behave…

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  3. The problem being is that until the many join the few , then the system will never be changed , because it seems the people who have the opportunity to bring change are blinkered or trained in certain schools of political thoughts,any differences are frowned upon, even destroyed like a virus at first sight ? Considered a political activist maybe ! People don’t like change the British don’t like change , but it happens slowly with out us seeing it

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    • Gemma says:

      It’s way too late for any kind of change to take place. That’s why I got out: because I knew it couldn’t be changed.

      And the British economy is so deep in the mire that it’s impossible to drag out now. (Not that you’d know this from the newspapers… )

      Like

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