Saturday, June 04, 2011

And he still thinks "Referism" would work

One of those rare political rants...

Referism -- the quaint notion that a yearly budget referendum would do anything to check the ruling class.

The EU Referendum blog has started pushing this idea recently -- and in a massive act of cognitive dissonance does so while reporting how, when faced with a tight budget, the pols will protect their core function of providing sinecures to the nomenklatura, and trim the fluff at the margins (like providing services for the hoi polloi). And if that had been voted on, then next year, after parading the bleeding stumps, they'd come back for more ("or we'll kill this kitten/shut this library/sack these nurses..."). And that's assuming they don't take the get-out clause of Parliament being unable to bind itself and pass whatever emergency legislation to bypass.

The key problems are that politicians lie, money is fungible, and any stated budget breakdowns would be worth exactly as much as manifesto commitments are under universal suffrage. Oh, and it cuts out all the persiflage in the way of the root problem with democracy:

"A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury."

Even a radical replacement like having MPs and Senators chosen by lot from the populace -- a way of taking power from those who most obviously actively seek it -- would still leave the problem of the entrenched Civil Service and the quangocrats.

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