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Democracy - Why Do We Want To Protect It When It's Led To The Current Terrifying Mess We're In?

12/10/2017 11:48

It was Winston Churchill who said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

At the recent Labour Party Conference in his keynote speech, Jeremy Corbyn stated his belief that democracy is under threat from both authoritarianism and the political elite, because governments ignore their voters. He said democracy must mean "listening to people outside of election time". He also said that Labour wants more workplace democracy, where employees are: "...given their voice at work, with unions able to represent them properly, freed of undemocratic fetters on their right to organise".

So we've got Jezza wanting more democracy, Theresa May switching it on or off as it suits her, elections around Europe heralding the rise of right wing parties and the Catalan independence vote descending into chaos. And of course, we have Donald Trump.

After the events of the last few days, weeks, months and even years, 'democracy' has become conspicuous by its fragility, by its absurdity and by the constant undermining of it. It has become a paradox, a victim of its own promise. We covet it, yet we blame it. We want to protect it, yet we question its uselessness.

As for us, the man and woman on the street? We just want our basic democratic right for our voices to be heard, our opinions counted and our decisions to make a difference to our households, communities, our Country and our World.

Recent research conducted by YouGov and commissioned by the company I work for however, shows that, no matter how hard the politicians try to manipulate the concept of democracy in their favour it is alive and kicking around the kitchen tables and sofas of UK families.

We found that UK families, as a way of making decisions, creating household harmony and ultimately as an approach to growing responsible decision makers for tomorrow, are refusing the give up on the idea of democracy and are instead embracing a more democratic approach to parenting than ever before.

The research discovered that one third of UK families, who were identified as 'Conscious Nurturers', see it as vitally important to teach their children the importance of making decisions.

However big or small the decision, these families regard the active involvement of their children in making these decisions as an important life lesson. They see it as a way to ensure they nurture confident, responsible decision makers.

The YouGov research also discovered another group where 'democracy' in the household takes on a slightly different role. These families, who make up one quarter of UK families, were identified as 'Practical Planners'.

In their living rooms, it's decided who is best equipped to offer an opinion when it comes to decisions that affect the whole family. Choosing which family member is not based on age, or the role in the family, but based purely on their experience of and knowledge on the subject. So Dad will turn to his 15-year old son to ask advice about tech purchases, but might turn to his 13-year old daughter about the best way to improve their home's carbon footprint.

The hope that these two family types offer? In the wake of political upheaval and social turmoil, perhaps we have learned a lesson: that we have to do all we can to nurture a society of responsible adults who will make better democratic decisions for tomorrow. If the YouGov research tells us anything, it's that democracy will be in safer hands in the future. It certainly gets my vote...

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