August 27, 2010
Business As Usual
Oh, what the hell, while I'm here, here's Rundle again, extracted at Larvatus Prodeo:
The 2010 election result has offered that rarest and most blessed of things, a rupture and a discontinuity in the process. It’s one that makes it impossible to sell the line that the parliamentary electoral system we are ruled by has some deep-seated pole of wisdom that somehow expresses rather than imposes a political form. What the result is making clear to people is the inherent arbitrariness of the system, its closed nature, and the way in which that is obscured when a party is elected with an unchallengeable majority.
The difficulty for the business as usual crowd, is that they spend so much time celebrating the virtues of the single member electorate system, that when it throws up a number of actual single members, they can’t damn it out of hand.
And when such members begin to suggest that the process by which they were chosen could be reflexively acted on by both MPs and the public, the business-as-usual crowd panic about stability. Weird, isn’t it? Post-election Iraq has been without a government for several months, with no working coalition in sight, and this is an example of democracy at work. Australia has a few days or weeks with no majority party but a process of rational and open negotiation, and it’s a disaster.