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When the population doesn't trust their own government you have a serious problem.

Because generally by the time people get asked to vote yes or no in a referendum on any treaty, they have to trust that the politicians have done their best job. Isn't that the point of representative democracy? If that trust is missing, people will not agree.

I was thinking about the Spanish Constitution of 1978 - there was a constitutional assembly elected, a committee of 7 wise men was selected among them to draft a document, the document was debated, amended and approved, and then it was submitted to referendum. In the referendum people are still asked to vote on a complex document where - if they bothered to read it in full - they might not agree with every single article. So people have to trust their representatives and their political parties. In Ireland we have the situation where political parties representing 90% of the parliament cannot get more than 45% of the vote for a treaty they support... An example of trusting political leaders above people's best judgement is how PM Felipe Gonzalez got the socialist voters to vote for NATO membership in 1986, which was a U-turn for the party leadership including Gonzalez. That's an amazing example of trust in the political class.

People call this a crisis of democracy. When "serious" people say that they mean that the population doesn't vote "the right way". What it really means is that people don't trust their elected representatives farther than they can throw them.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 25th, 2008 at 02:37:34 PM EST
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Amazing, isn't it, that the Irish government waited until after the vote to tell us that the country was going into a recession and there will be cut-backs? Of course, we can truly trust them to do things in our best interest. Wonder how much help the farmers and fishermen will get now. Look out, England, here we come again looking for jobs. Got any?

by marie on Wed Jun 25th, 2008 at 03:50:58 PM EST
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