Re: @Robert Long 1
That's an interesting point of view, and of course I cannot argue against it because I don't like party voting and the whipping system, but I wonder how the democratic movement intended to run the country at the turn of the 20th Century, when there was no mass communication, rapid transport was still fairly basic, and the public at large were largely uneducated?
Elections or referendums took weeks to organise and count, and at the time, only selected people had the vote anyway (remember the suffragettes).
If you are arguing that the political party system is an issue, then I guess there is some mileage in that, but even if you disbanded the party system, and had each MP stand for what their constituency believed, you would still get them banding together in voting blocks, not dissimilar to a party in order to get anything done.
You could also argue that the method of electing MPs is flawed, but I don't like the idea of party lists being used in a PR system, which is what seems to be touted as an alternative. I want to vote for a person, not a list.
Nowadays, in theory, it would be possible to have technology led referendums of the entire voting population (as long as you can fix the voter identity issue - machine readable ID cards anyone?), but how long do you think your average couch potato would give to looking at today's issues and voting on them? Enough time to actually understand the issues?
My guess is that if you had an hour a day to present all issues and take a vote, only a small fraction, probably <10% of the electorate would actually take the time to sit in front of their computer/television to watch any arguments. Of that <10%, probably a significant number would not understand enough of the background to make sensible decisions.
And you also have the problem of who presents the arguments. Without sufficient background, it would be entirely possible to present a totally biased view of any issue to get a particular result.
No, for the majority of issues that are debated day-to-day, a two house system, with the two houses selected in a different manner to each other is about the best I can see at this time. The real problem is that the minutia of day-to-day decision making is just not interesting enough to the general population to make any general referendum system workable for anything except really important issues, so representative democracy is here to stay. Maybe one issue a week could be handled by a technology run referendum.
I would like some more democratic control of my elected representative, especially on certain important issues, and I think that steps toward this may slowly be happening. The powers that be have been discussing the possibility of a constituency sacking an MP. That may make them more respectful of those they represent.
When Winston Churchill said that quote, he was probably actually paraphrasing someone else. Looking into it, the statement was preceded with "It has been said...".
In his life, he was a statesman, a soldier with extensive foreign service, an historian and a writer, and was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature. This makes him more qualified than many of his generation, and most of us now, to make this type of statement with some authority.