Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Trouble With "Party Democracy"

It looks like the Volpe and Ignatieff camps have been signing up the undead as Liberals. It's not good for a party that has to improve its ethical image.

Truth is that every party has contested leadership campaigns of the kind you would expect if LBJ and Mayor Daley were running for President of a central African country. The electorate is elastic, there are no real referees and intra-party quarrels are always the nastiest.

Even if they were squeaky clean, though, we would still face the normatively-unacceptable reality that our choices for high office are limited to those chosen by self-selected partisans. Further, once selected, there is rarely a legitimized way of deposing the leader, although deposition is often warranted.

Frankly, the whole system seems unconstitutional to me. Her Majesty's government should be led by the person with the confidence of a majority of the House, not the person selected by the bizarre rituals of a political party. Only the government caucus has the legitimacy to select their leader (and the continuing existence necessary for the inevitable regicide).

Sadly, the misguided "democratic" notion that a bigger electorate is always a better one will just lead us to direct election by party members, which is more boring and no more legitimate than the kind of brokered convention we will see for the Libs.