Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: A Blog on Behalf of an Anarchist Glaswegian

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lilith __,

    it would be a brave government that went against it.

    it would be an arrogant government that went against it

    fixed

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Lyndon Hood has dug up John Key’s responses to the anti child-battery referendum.

    While in Opposition (2008):

    “Why is the Prime Minister so opposed to New Zealanders exercising their democratic rights to be heard that she is using alleged technical difficulties to suppress the will of the New Zealand people?”

    “Is the Prime Minister aware that unlike her I actually have respect for the New Zealand public’s right to express their views, while she is so arrogantly out of touch with New Zealanders she has forgotten what that is like?”

    [ source ]

    And when in government (2009):

    “Asked whether he would act on the referendum result Prime Minister Key reiterated his support for the current legislation.

    “I think it’s a bit harsh to say I would totally ignore a referendum, I think you do have to listen to people. My view’s always been that the law in its current form is working.”

    [ source ]

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Timmy H, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    in the face of widespread strong public opposition.

    ... and seemingly unwavering public support for the Govt as a whole. Wtf, NZ.

    But – it’s too hard. No really. The detail and legal process to create something like this … sheesh.

    Aw. Go oooooon. Are there any recent equivalent changes in other countries? Copy/paste, quell dissent, rush through under urgency. Done. I'll take first shift.

    Since Feb 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Another random thought, while I remain convinced that this govt and previous govts treat referenda with utter contempt, I strongly doubt the suggested juries would treat public opinion with such a cavalier attitude.

    They could easily become the focus for public opinion.

    Hmmm that raises issues about the safety of jury members - I suspect voting would have to be absolutely secret.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Timmy H,

    rush through under urgency

    That would be the definition of ironic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I think it would take most of a year for the juries to get to grips with what goes on in govt.

    I don't think so, any more than I think a criminal jury would take a year to get to grips with the criminal law code, rather than the zero training they get currently.

    I didn't think the whole idea was to make professional politicians out of these jurors, it was to get the slice of public opinion into the process that is excluded by the professional process.

    It would be nice to have a couple of other juries selected on talent.

    Now you're killing the idea completely. It's no longer a democratic institution, but instead an elitist one.

    There have been very few meetings I have ever been in where the decision reached by 12 could not have been reached by 6.

    This is a parody argument?

    @Lucy

    OK, had more of a think about this, and the next problem I see is when legislation is going to be introduced which is contrary to the interests of a group who are powerful, wealthy and morally bankrupt.

    If you just think a bit further, you'll see that any good legislation is never going to become more likely to be enacted by this process, since it is only a veto anyway. It can only block things. On the other hand, it can block bad legislation. Which means it is an extension of one of the most powerful guiding principles behind democracy - that it is not a guarantee of good government, but it puts some limits on how bad government can get, that are not available in any other system.

    We may not have managed to get a system whereby our leadership is selected primarily from our most privileged classes, but we have at least got a system where we can get rid of one bunch of particularly bad elites. Putting another balance in that means highly and broadly unpopular laws can be blocked could work well in a time when that is the way the elites are operating. It could also form a significant barrier to progressive change on the odd occasion when the elites have got it right and the population have it wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to LucyJH,

    .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    A major problem with this proposal is that it doesn’t really ensure any representation for the parents of young children, especially young mothers. These are a group who are particularly poorly represented in the NZ parliament

    Let me address this in reverse order.
    1. Parents of young children, especially young mothers, would be far too busy, or should be, to be able to dedicate the time needed for them to be affective members of the proposed jury.
    2. Practically all laws seem to come with a “Won’t somebody think of the children” clause. So, no, I don’t think mothers with young children are poorly represented, they may not be there but their influence surely is.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to andin,

    like many of the current crop of those who consider themselves Big Cheeses

    Won't somebody think of the poor baby cheeses?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    It would be nice to have a couple of other juries selected on talent.

    Now you’re killing the idea completely. It’s no longer a democratic institution, but instead an elitist one.

    That is the point. You are making the mistake of assuming democracy is good – it isn’t – it’s utter crap – just the best crap we have.

    I’m not saying substitute elite juries for the random ones but adding elite/expert (for multiple values of elite) juries to the mix might improve things, ’cos they’re like expert and all.

    And this is all in the spirit of bullshitting around a table because nobody expects this to happen because the people in charge would have less power and I doubt we’ll see them voting for that any time soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    This is a parody argument?

    Deadly serious. 12 is too many in a room. If, god forbid, they all express their opinions it is utter chaos, but much more common is that three or four dominate and the rest just nod. When you have fewer it becomes more likely that all will contribute – in my experience anyways.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    mothers with young children [...] may not be there but their influence surely is

    Only if you think that concern trolling = representation.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If, god forbid, they all express their opinions it is utter chaos, but much more common is that three or four dominate and the rest just nod.

    It's the voting that actually matters, not the talking. Some people who say nothing at all make perfectly good decisions.

    I’m not saying substitute elite juries for the random ones but adding elite/expert (for multiple values of elite) juries to the mix might improve things, ’cos they’re like expert and all.

    The more of these juries, the more the veto would be vetoed. It would eventually be a body crippled into total powerlessness, and parliament would again be supreme. They'd need only appoint the right experts, and that's the end of the upper house. Whatever value there is lies in the ability of the thing to actually inject public opinion into the political system. Your suggestions are 100% about how to get rid of it. Do you actually believe in democracy at all?

    This was why I said right from the start that it's only a minor improvement on the current system. As a veto house, it could not introduce legislation at all. As a dual house with mutual veto, whatever old people AND young people mutually disagreed would be things over which they could cripple each other's ability to have any effect. Only in matters of agreement could they actually do a damned thing. To that end, anything that somehow was to the benefit of the general population, but not the two extreme groups, could and would be vetoed all day long, which is why I can't see much benefit in the stratification. It's simply yet another non-representative body making choices for everyone else. The good thing is that it's a balance on our rather balance-less system.

    And this is all in the spirit of bullshitting around a table

    In that spirit, there's nowhere near enough scantily clad women and ponies in this fantasy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S,

    Maybe the jurors shouldn't discuss there vote with each other but come to their own conclusions via whatever research and study they consider necessary. No domination by more forceful but not necessarily wiser heads?

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rob S,

    Maybe the jurors shouldn’t discuss there vote with each other

    Someone suggested that maybe they should be a virtual grouping only. So they don't have to leave their homes but simply get information and vote online.

    Of course if you are going that far you may as well allow everyone to vote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    Do you actually believe in democracy at all?

    No of course not. Democracy is not something you "believe in". It isn't a religion, contrary to the way the US treat it. It is simply a system of governance with advantages and disadvantages over other systems.

    The very reason the jury idea is interesting is because democracy fails to achieve what the public wants or needs. Even when it works reasonably well there are issues around the freedoms of minority groups - hence most democracies have constitutions that protect minorities from the majority.

    So no I do not believe in democracy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to linger,

    Only if you think that concern trolling = representation.

    AS does this current bunch of fiscal felons. "We need constant surveillance of the populace because... al-Qaeda... terrorists.... blah... mums and dads... business confidence ...bl;ah blah blah. revenue stream ... loony Left ... blah...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Democracy is not something you “believe in”.

    Ahem. Actually, I do.

    So no I do not believe in democracy.

    Nice to have this on record, finally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Here is what the two points you made boil down to:

    1. Mothers SHOULDN’T think about anything but looking after their children;
    2. Mothers are not actually CAPABLE of thinking about anything but the fate of children.

    I could not disagree more thoroughly with your post. In fact, I would like to encourage your post to bite me.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I don’t think mothers with young children are poorly represented, they may not be there but their influence surely is.

    Isn't that like the argument that women don't need the vote because they have the ear of their husbands/fathers/brothers?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to B Jones,

    Isn’t that like the argument that women don’t need the vote because they have the ear of their husbands/fathers/brothers?

    Don't be silly* - it's because they will only vote the way their husbands/fathers/brothers tell them to vote.


    *which I am patently being now

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    I could not disagree more thoroughly with your post. In fact, I would like to encourage your post to bite me

    I think the post will have to get in line behind the Limpet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Well, there is that. But I've actually heard the "power behind the throne" argument raised in the last decade, albeit a different cultural context.

    And, um, can I just point out that "somebody think of the children" clauses think of the CHILDREN, rather than their parents, who being adults are also worthy of some form of representation.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Timmy H, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    rush through under urgency

    That would be the definition of ironic.

    I sincerely hope that my use of 'quell dissent' made it clear the irony was intended.

    Since Feb 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • peterpeasant,

    Sacha has an important point. Bureaucratic bullshit will always subvert the best intentions.

    new zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 39 posts Report Reply

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