The way our country is run has always confused me. Throughout Advanced Higher Modern Studies this idea of ‘democracy‘ played on my mind. I understand the concept, that it is a government by the people, in which the people elect representatives to speak on their behalf. Yes, that sounds straight-forward. But I don’t understand how in times of hardship, like our current ‘cuts’ situation, the government are able to post surveys online, asking the public what they feel should be done, or holding summits to discuss with unelected people how they feel.
This idea for a post came about when my mum was telling me that Edinburgh Council need to make £90m of savings, and to do this they are thinking about closing small nurseries, and cutting back on staff. To see how this idea suits the employees of the education sector, they are asking the opinions of individuals in the area – instead of letting the elected MSPs do their jobs.
Part of me thinks this is a great idea, an opportunity for the public to explain what suits them, and have their say – but isn’t the concept of democracy that the people we elect to represent us are doing what we think is best anyway? It seems like an easy way out for the government – they let the public vote in online surveys, so that their decisions effect the ultimate outcome, then when changes are made, and people will be unhappy with these changes, the governement can turn around and say ‘this is what you decided’.
The Edinburgh Council website allows users to ‘send budget feedback’ and take part in an ‘online budget survey’ so that they can have their say. I don’t know if I totally agree with these features, and I am confused as to whether this is democractic or not. Here is a link to the Edinburgh Council website, so you can see for yourselves: