I, like lots of people from around these parts, am not a democrat. It seems to me that as the franchise has been extended – especially to people who aren’t paying the bills – so, freedom has been lost.
But Douglas Carswell MP, begs to differ. I recently interviewed him for Cobden Centre Radio about his new book The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy. One of his central claims is that we shouldn’t be blaming democracy.
Now, I appreciate there will be people out there thinking: “Well, he would say that wouldn’t he?” Which, of course, is true – it would not be in the interest of any politician to say that he was about to take away the vote from, say, 47% of his electorate.
But that doesn’t mean he is wrong.
To save you the trouble of reading the book or listening to the podcast (although I would be delighted if you did – it’s one of my better ones) this is the short version of Carswell’s argument: the United States was a democracy long before that state started to expand. The state only started to expand after the invention of what Carswell calls “unequal taxation” – taxes that only some people pay. Ergo, don’t blame democracy.
So, has he got a point?