Consultations Versus Democracy

This post was written by Reuben Bard-Rosenberg on September 29, 2009
Posted Under: Democracy

A couple of months ago I wrote an article describing how rules and regulations – and ethical standards officers – were stifling local democracy. Local politicians of the best kind – those with a forthright opinions and a public profile – were falling victim to regulations that stated that they must reach decisions objectively and consider all the facts.

Now as much as I hate the man, this is exactly what a bunch of green lawyers are trying to pull on Boris. As the Standard reports:

“a group of activist lawyers called ClientEarth has now written to the Mayor saying they are deeply concerned at the “prejudicial” effect his remarks will have on the two statutory consultations he is required by law to carry out before the western extension zone can be scrapped. They have called on Mr Johnson to retract his remarks and confirm that he will conduct “credible and transparent” consultation.”

Sorry but this shows just what a fucking ridiculous exuse for a democracy we have. I support the c-charge zone. However Bojo stood on a mandate of scrapping its western extension and won. This is what people voted for. Why should we have to have statutory consultations. In fact the only way politicians could have not made ‘prejudicial remarks’ about it would be by not running on the issue, and us not opening it up to the electorate. We might as well have our politicians compete by promising to run really good consultations rather than giving us a choice between anything concrete.

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Reader Comments

Well, no, people didn’t really vote on the extension of the extension of the congestion charge. They voted on whether they wanted Boris or Ken for mayor. In large part, Boris was elected because people were turning away from Labour in droves, as evidenced by the contemporaneous and subsequent elections around the country. That he didn’t win by a crushing margin is testament only to the popularity of Ken as a person and of his policies, including CC. It would be difficult to say whether or not people voted on the congestion charge without conducting a separate referendum. I don’t think that can be inferred from the results. On a side note: should issues of environmental protection be a matter of public choice? The only way problems as large as this can be solved is through government regulation, and the only way to arrive at sensible decisions is through expert opinion – not through the whims and passions of the people.

#1 
Written By Salman Shaheen on September 29th, 2009 @ 12:21 am

But you could say this about an and every policy. THis is the imperfect but democratic element in the consittution. THat people vote for a package of personalities and policies. At the very least you could say that people voted for him knowing his plans to scrap the c charge extension.

Who said anythimg about the ‘whims and passions of the people’. VOting concerns the deliberate. The language of whims and passions is exactly that which the conservatives and whigs of the 19th century deployed to justify keeping the constitution undemocratic.

#2 
Written By Reuben on September 29th, 2009 @ 10:28 am

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