By in Politics

Is This Democracy?

Democracy in Action

In the UK, we have just had an election and a particular party won. Fine, they are now in power for the next 5 years and it is up to them to propose legislation (laws) for the next 5 years. While they can propose the legislation they want, it is up to Parliament to approve the legislation. There will be a lot of debate and things may be changed a bit, hopefully to make it better.

No Change

Once the election is over, that is it. the government gets on with governing and passing laws until the next election in 5 years' time.


Now of course, there will always be people who don't like the party that got in or a particular law or will feel they are disadvantaged by a proposed new law. We have lobbyists, who try to persuade the legislators to change the law, modify proposed laws and make new ones. This is a recognised part of government. (Of course, some lobbyists get a bit too cosy with some legislators.)

You Can't Change the law

Well, of course, you can but only through (a) the recognised democratic process, that is putting a Bill through Parliament, or (b) if you think the new law itself breaks the law by having been made, you can challenge it through the courts. This is called "Ultra Vires" and means literally that it is "outside (ultra) the law (vires) and means you didn't have the power to make it in the first place.

But You Can If You Have Enough Money

Is it any different in the USA? Of course, in the USA, there are State Legislatures that can also pass laws. Vermont has just passed a law requiring genetically modified foods to be labelled as such from 1 July 2016. The Grocery Manufacturers Association doesn't like that law and is going to court to overturn it. At the moment, the court has ruled that the law can stay in place but the lawsuit will continue. Both sides have their arguments and there are lobbyists working o both sides to have the court rule in their favour.

Is it Democratic?

Will money talk here? Should a state be allowed to make laws that the residents want? Was the State legislating "Ultra Vires"? The contention is on both sides that the other side is acting against the first amendment. As far as I understand that (I am not American) the First Amendment protects the right to free speech.

What Do You Think?

Image Credit » by johnoghue

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KristinRavelle wrote on May 14, 2015, 8:40 AM

I admit to little faith in government these days as I think large corporations (with lots of money, and other clout) really manage the system to their benefit. If foods have to be labelled genetically modified, it will tarnish them and people already are moving away from these. Catch some of Alex Jones' PRISON PLANET website for various articles. This will definitely affect their pocket book, an undesired consequence. Let's see what happens...

CalmGemini wrote on May 14, 2015, 9:59 AM

I am not from USA or UK.So I can not comment on these.But in every country, there are lobbyists who work for people with money and try to influence the government and law. We can only wait and see what happens. Beautiful photo.

Last Edited: May 14, 2015, 10:00 AM

SLGarcia wrote on May 14, 2015, 9:59 AM

Sadly - money often talks! There will always be people unhappy with the status quo, that's life. Aside from participating in whatever way possible, etc. voting, I find it less frustrating to simply get on with my daily life (not always easy).

Bensen32 wrote on May 14, 2015, 10:32 AM

Unfortunately government is corrupt and they only work for themselves. They say anything and do anything to get the vote and keep the votes. Take for example the guy who some call president here in the states. He said anything and everything to get the votes and since then he has helped to run our country right into the ground. Politics is a complete joke in this country, they are out for themselves and those with big money, they could careless how many of the general population they need to step on and screw over to get their votes.

cmoneyspinner wrote on May 14, 2015, 11:10 AM

Here's the thing MegL . People who have money sometimes get confused and need to be sent a reality check. They fancy themselves some sort of demi-god and get these cockamamie ideas into their heads that they are only ones who know how to make the best and the right decisions for the country and the world at large. They mistakenly mislead themselves into believing that MONEY gives them the POWER to do these things. Nobody can fight against them because they got money!

It's not the democratic process that's ever in question. You think ordinary poor folks don't know how a democracy works? Try to break that form of government - a system which is tantamount to people governing themselves. “We the people” will show the “loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires” who is really in charge of their life, their liberty and their pursuit of happiness! That's what democracy is. That's what democracy always will be. It has happened over and over again. Just be glad your elections didn't result in an Emperor / God-King becoming your leader! :)

AliCanary wrote on May 14, 2015, 3:20 PM

I am particularly disgusted that they want to repeal the ban on foxhunting. Barbaric, cruel, stupid, pointless.

Carmelanirel wrote on May 14, 2015, 4:27 PM

Like Kristen said, I have no faith in the government, though I find it surprising that you knew about the law in Vermont that passed. Last state I heard that was trying to get GMO labels was California and I was shocked it didn't pass. Maybe Vermont will be the leader in getting our food labeled.

MegL wrote on May 14, 2015, 4:57 PM

It has been spread widely on social action sites, asking people to contribute money to back the legislature so they can go to court.

Carmelanirel wrote on May 14, 2015, 6:10 PM

I must have missed it.

MelissaE wrote on May 14, 2015, 9:06 PM

I have become completely disheartened by the negative turns in politics.

MegL wrote on May 15, 2015, 2:51 AM

Yes. A few of the social action sites, when I have looked into SOME of their campaigns have not been exactly what they seem to be. On the other hand, government always puts their own spin on things too. It pays to look at all sides of a question and evaluate what both sides are saying before taking a stand on something.

seren3 wrote on May 15, 2015, 11:04 AM

MegL I am pretty cynical at this point. In the US (and probably in Canada too) all agendas are in place beforehand and money makes sure that the peeps who will go along are elected. Easy-peasy!!

WordChazer wrote on May 15, 2015, 2:59 PM

Too much cosying with politicians by those with the money, IMHO. You would have thought that a leading University city where many of the members of all parties received their education would have benefited lately. Nope. Not a jot. In fact, as it ended up we voted OUT a Lib Dem and IN a Labour guy.

Also, politicians are getting younger. Boris' brother, the new Higher Education secretary Jo Johnson, is two years YOUNGER than me. Silver spoons, anyone?

I went to University with Tim Farron, who has always been a Liberal Democrat, and whose stated aim even at the age of 19 was that he would become leader of the party one day. I hope he does, because rarely has someone been so driven to a single goal.

rosepetal wrote on May 20, 2015, 12:51 PM

Since I am from the US, I can only say, that I wish they would get something done for the people. It seems that some, maybe not all, forget about who elected them once they hit the steps of Congress.

xstitcher wrote on May 21, 2015, 7:12 PM

Like AbbySays, I find politics pretty confusing. ;p

AliCanary wrote on May 23, 2015, 9:58 AM

Wow, this sounds EXACTLY like the way it works in the United States. And here I thought we were supposed to have come up with something new, lol emoticon :winking:

alexdg1 wrote on May 24, 2015, 1:38 PM

As Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."

CoralLevang wrote on May 24, 2015, 6:19 PM

I have to agree with &AbbyG ... politics is more confusing than algebra. But I'd like to add, humans are more confusing than politics.

CoralLevang wrote on May 24, 2015, 6:21 PM

Too weird. I was just remarking to a friend in a discussion on that very quote yesterday.

alexdg1 wrote on May 24, 2015, 7:18 PM

It's true, though. I'd rather put up with our dysfunctional, often obfuscating form of government than live in a theocracy, under anarchy, or any dictatorship of either the right- or left-wing persuasion.

CoralLevang wrote on May 25, 2015, 3:36 AM

You are preaching to the choir, my friend. emoticon :winking:

Ruby3881 wrote on May 26, 2015, 7:46 PM

Like some others here, I'm neither American nor British. And like at least one other, I do feel rather discouraged with our politicians. None really seems to have the spark or the devotion to public service that he (or she) ought to.....

scheng1 wrote on June 21, 2015, 4:03 AM

Those lobbyists better make sure they have a solid bank account before they start making noise, else they are just wasting their breath and time.

MarshaMusselman wrote on July 20, 2015, 7:38 PM

Sounds quote plausible, Meg.

MarshaMusselman wrote on July 20, 2015, 7:50 PM

I don't know how that comment ended up on this post, Meg. I wrote it on your story related to the lorry guy that was texting. I don't know how it ended up here. I'll have to look later to see if its on the other one too. Funny thing is I didn't open this one until after reading that one.

MegL wrote on July 21, 2015, 3:09 AM

Lol, I think I could say here, "I just don't understand computers!" And add a big sigh.