The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

transparency and democracy

theme music: you were always on my mind, elvis

Small parties have to be careful. They don't have the venerable institutions and structures of the two big parties. They often don't have the voluminous policy either, or the institutional knowledge of what has been done and what hasn't worked.

Sometimes it is easy, when you all agree, to start down a track that can gets slippery later - one that doesn't respect that at some point you may disagree, and when you do you need to have processes to seek harmonious resolution.

Democracy is a good one for this, but it requires certain principles to work properly:
- fair notice - people need to know they can put motions up, stand for office, etc - they need to know when the meetings are, who to send remits to, etc
- honest information - for voters, or anyone, to make a proper choice they need to be given the truth to decide upon. or at least the full variety of opinions about what is the truth.
- open debate - not censoring people because their view isn't liked by some
- equal chances for all participants to take part - not just to vote but also to put forward their views. one person's view should not really get endorsed by a leadership group either, imho.

i'm sure there are more, but that is what comes to mind.

it startles me when people show no grasp of these. when they don't understand that you really need to tell people about an annual general meeting in plenty of time (especially when a certain time period of notice is constitutionally called for). you do need to balance this with having the decision made at a time when it is still relevant - before time overtakes you.

democracy delayed can be much like justice delayed, ie democracy denied.

No comments: