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Showing posts with label information and democracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label information and democracy. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Vote for Scotland’s future

I’ve cast my votes - both votes SNP and YES to AV. The polling station and the voting process reminded me how privileged we are to have a free vote in a democracy, and how fundamental the political process is to our lives.

And it reminded me of the essential elements of Scotland’s democracy - the equality of every vote and every voter, the fact that every vote really counts because of the dual voting system, and the principle of the will of the people determining how their lives will be run by their chosen government.

I met some of my neighbours, people I have lived among for the last 28 years and exchanged greetings, in the knowledge that they represented all shades of political opinion and party affiliation, but that they were united in the democratic process.

In the last days before the poll, I have tried, successfully, to persuade friends to vote who felt that a vote was pointless, and who I knew for certain did not support my party, because I believe that the right of the people of Scotland to choose is vital, and that there is a duty to vote.

But this must be said. My party, the Scottish National Party, believes that the people of Scotland have a right to determine their future, both at the ballot box and ultimately in a referendum on independence.

But the other three Westminster-controlled UK parties only share one of these beliefs. They would deny the right of the people of Scotland to choose whether or not they want to remain in the United Kingdom in a free referendum choice.

But the belief of the Scottish Labour Party in the right of of the people of Scotland to freely choose their  Parliamentary representative is further compromised by their decision to import politicians, celebrities, and activists from another country who are themselves ineligible to vote in the Scottish election.

These people were no better than mercenaries, and in my book, their involvement was a kind of political corruption. I hope the Scottish electorate have taken due note of this appalling, undemocratic behaviour.

 

Both votes SNP

Vote for your ain folk

Vote for Scotland’s future

Friday, 30 July 2010

Political coverage, the BBC and Channel 81

Political broadcasts are unlikely to ever achieve large viewing figures,especially those delivered on the dedicated channel, Channel 81, on the day-to-day routine business of the four Parliaments of the UK, anymore than large numbers of people will ever read Hansard or buy Parliamentary bills and legislation from the Stationery Office.

That in no way detracts from the vital significance of these broadcasts to our democracy, because those that do will transfer their analysis comment and opinions through the complex web of media available in our modern world - the internet, YouTube, online newspaper postings,Twitter, letters to the newspapers, and into debate and comment with their friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

Democracies have never worked on the basis of large numbers of the people following the minutiae of government, but on the absolute right to have access to that process when they choose, their active participation in the vital electoral process of selecting those they wish to govern them, and their access to them in constituency surgeries, public meetings etc.

Until the advent of radio and television access to the chambers of debate, that total access has been a theoretical one, limited in practice by the capacity of the public galleries. Now it is potentially unlimited, but in practice the numbers availing themselves of it are determined by the nature of the issues and public and media interest in them at any given time.

At a time when the media are increasingly controlled by narrow proprietorial interest groups, the state broadcaster is a vital component of those essential democratic freedoms, and in the United Kingdom this means the BBC, which, with all its faults, discharges that responsibility admirably. The alternative is a surrender to the likes of Fox News and the worst of tabloid journalism. I don't want my knowledge of how our elected - and unelected - representatives are behaving to come through the columns of The Daily Mail and The Sun.

I won't go to the barricades for many things these days, but I will turn out to protect the BBC's political broadcasts, because I will recognise the slippery slope to totalitarianism and fascism in any attempt to eliminate them, with whatever spurious justification of cost and minority interest in them.

(The above is the text of an online posting of mine to The Guardian on 26th July 2010)