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BRINGING DEMOCRACY HOME?

13-03-2007

Could the MP for Baghdad Central speak up in parliament wonders Andy Goff? Well if we're serious about extending democracy, why not?

I have a cunning plan to change to the electoral systems of western democracies to better represent the people over which they have some dominion.

When Britain started letting go of its empire - beginning with Ghana 50 years ago this year - we left behind what we smugly imagined was the infrastructure that would ensure the future success of those countries we had plundered. They had the chance of joining the Commonwealth but had no say in how the mother country was run.

The French did things slightly differently; many of their former colonies, now known as overseas “departments” are represented in the National Assembly and the Senate and even elect an MEP. They also use the Euro as their currency.

So the French allow their former colonies a say in how France is run - and the European Union too.

I reckon we, and other western democracies similarly, should be forced under the aegis of the United Nations, to allow the people of any country where we have troops stationed, not under the UN banner, to have a say in who runs Britain.

If there were votes involved politicians might have a broader view of their responsibilities and be more inclined to not interfere in the affairs of other countries.

British forces are, according to the army website, deployed in over 80 countries -just imagine how things might be if the populations in Brunei, Kenya, The Falkland Islands, Belize, Germany (why?), Afghanistan and Iraq all had a vote in parliament.

Then imagine what the world would be like if the United States had to take into account the views of all the countries they operate in.

In our case, even if all of the countries we're involved in had one vote each, it wouldn't overwhelm our national governance, but it would give them the chance to speak directly to the nation that has forces on their territory.

The French at least make an effort at global engagement on a democratic level. We should follow it through and stop just engaging militarily. After all aren't we doing what we're doing to promote freedom, justice and democracy on a global scale?

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