Democracy is the rule of the people. Churchill said that it is the worst form of government but there isn’t any better. EM Forster gave it two cheers – three would be too much, writes Schadenfreude, our secret columnist in Brussels.
A Parliament is where the voice of the people is heard through the members whom they elected.
The members of the European Parliament are elected. Each Member State chooses its national electoral procedure. Some seek to correct bias by getting closer to proportional representation. Whatever else may be said for or against it, the European Parliament is democracy at work.
In a parliament, the political parties compete for predominance, which is represented by the voting majorities which they put together, often in temporary coalitions. This gives expression to what the Members understand their electorate wants. If Members get it wrong they risk losing their seats in the next election (or in some countries by recall, in which their constituents vote again to decide if they want change.)
One of the British Euro-sceptic groups has noted that in the European Parliament the members elected by UK voters rarely win the votes on motions, even when they drop party affiliation and combine to vote for or against. This is described as ” …the tyranny of the legislature…” – an unusual description of a democratic institution.
To a Euro-sceptic the conclusion is OUT. To a Europhile it is a stronger diplomatic stance in the debates of the governments of the Member States. The big test will be in the In/Out referendum. But if the Outs lose, will this be another tyranny?