"British democracy in terminal decline"

#3
Personally I think the cameras and microphones are an absolute necessity.

God knows what corruption the ******* would get up to if they weren't being filmed or recorded....
 
#4
Personally I think the cameras and microphones are an absolute necessity.

God knows what corruption the ******* would get up to if they weren't being filmed or recorded....
The courts have done perfectly well without them.

There would still be a public gallery and Hansard would still be published daily.

I think cameras and microphones have had a bad influence and have reduced the whole thing to a farce.

The last genuinely good Parliamentary debate I saw was when Blair tried to pass indefinite detention without trial and began making policy announcements about the issue to the press whilst the debate was still taking place in the Commons. Michael Howard looked like he was going to plug him.
 
#5
It's the good old Law of Unintended Consequences in action. The cameras were introduced because nobody really believed they did anything of any use. Instead of juldiing them into effectiveness through the immediacy of public supervision, all the cameras have chieved is to show up what an utterly contemptible bunch of schoolchildren they really are.
 
#8
Democracy is on the decline world wide.

The reasons are many and varied but a lot of it can be sheeted home to the fact that people have come to realise that you don't need to be a politician to be able to influence events and that politicians have been gradually removing themselves from having any real control. For example, look at the growth of QANGOs', statutory authorities, regulatory bodies, all of which have developed so that politicians can say that they were not responsible for whatever public disaster has occurred.

Once, politicians of whatever ilk, had some spine. They took the issue of parliamentary responsibility seriously. They took ministerial responsibility seriously and were prepared to walk if they transgressed. Not now. All I see nowdays are ministers saying that they were not responsible and usually blaming their public servants whose only job these days seems to be the prevention of any mud sticking to their respective minister.

A remedy? Lets reduce parliamentary salaries. The argument that you have to pay to get people of quality is obviously not working. You may then get someone who can afford to perform what is essentially a public service and who is motivated by that rather than some grim search for power without responsibility.
 
#9
There's no difference between the parties once they are in office; as the public becomes discontented with its lot, the monied power-brokers and the influence-pedlars simply stop paying one party and buy up the other one, which then governs in their interests with a few PR stunts designed to produce the illusion of actually giving a shit.

Individual MPs get to ride their private hobby-horses - ban drink, hang em and flog 'em, anti-hunting, pro-forces, whatever, but only on the strict understanding that nothing will change that negatively effects the 'Meritocracy' of crooks, gluttons and swindlers who are really in charge.
 
#10
Democracy is on the decline world wide.

The reasons are many and varied but a lot of it can be sheeted home to the fact that people have come to realise that you don't need to be a politician to be able to influence events and that politicians have been gradually removing themselves from having any real control. For example, look at the growth of QANGOs', statutory authorities, regulatory bodies, all of which have developed so that politicians can say that they were not responsible for whatever public disaster has occurred.

Once, politicians of whatever ilk, had some spine. They took the issue of parliamentary responsibility seriously. They took ministerial responsibility seriously and were prepared to walk if they transgressed. Not now. All I see nowdays are ministers saying that they were not responsible and usually blaming their public servants whose only job these days seems to be the prevention of any mud sticking to their respective minister.

A remedy? Lets reduce parliamentary salaries. The argument that you have to pay to get people of quality is obviously not working. You may then get someone who can afford to perform what is essentially a public service and who is motivated by that rather than some grim search for power without responsibility.
I wouldn't pay them at all, let them be supported by whoever already own's them, or themseves if they have already made a pile. It would go a long way to exposing their motivations, genuine public service or otherwise.
 
#13
Personally I would introduce a law that barred anyone from seeking election as a member of parliament who hadn't worked in some form of employment outside of politics for at least 10 years. This might reduce the number of professional politicos and increase the number of members with proper life skill and an understanding of real life.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
Personally I would introduce a law that barred anyone from seeking election as a member of parliament who hadn't worked in some form of employment outside of politics for at least 10 years. This might reduce the number of professional politicos and increase the number of members with proper life skill and an understanding of real life.
I couldn't agree more - one of the reason that our economy is in such a shit state is that most of the politicians running it have no experience of running a large organisation. They've gone into politics at an early age so are good at networking and giving sound bites. They have NO skills or experience of managing in a large organisation, controlling costs, etc. Here is the sum of George Osborne's experience in the real world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Osborne

Osborne's first job was entering the names of people who had died in London into a National Health Service computer. He also briefly worked for Selfridges, re-folding towels. He originally intended to pursue a career in journalism, but instead got a job at Conservative Central Office
I like military history - there are hundreds of books on it in my house. Go to the military history threads and you'll see some quite detailed explanations as to how Nelson won at Trafalgar, or what tactics Wellington used as Salamanca. Yet I would be a disaster commanding a division in the field. I have not gone through Sandhurst then successively commanded a platoon, company, regiment, etc. I can talk the talk, but I cannot walk the walk.

And that is the exact problem with far too many of our politicians - they can sound off impressively about how X or Y will help the economy, but their practical experience of doing X or Y in a large business is zero. And without that experience, how can you:

-- Tell if what your advisers are proposing is sound.
-- Know from experience that although the plan sounds good on paper, there are factors that have not been considered.
-- Know how to best manage your time to get results.

Only when we get politicians who have a demonstrable track record of success outside of politics will we get good government in this country.

Wordsmith
 
#17
I couldn't agree more - one of the reason that our economy is in such a shit state is that most of the politicians running it have no experience of running a large organisation. They've gone into politics at an early age so are good at networking and giving sound bites. They have NO skills or experience of managing in a large organisation, controlling costs, etc. Here is the sum of George Osborne's experience in the real world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Osborne



I like military history - there are hundreds of books on it in my house. Go to the military history threads and you'll see some quite detailed explanations as to how Nelson won at Trafalgar, or what tactics Wellington used as Salamanca. Yet I would be a disaster commanding a division in the field. I have not gone through Sandhurst then successively commanded a platoon, company, regiment, etc. I can talk the talk, but I cannot walk the walk.

And that is the exact problem with far too many of our politicians - they can sound off impressively about how X or Y will help the economy, but their practical experience of doing X or Y in a large business is zero. And without that experience, how can you:

-- Tell if what your advisers are proposing is sound.
-- Know from experience that although the plan sounds good on paper, there are factors that have not been considered.
-- Know how to best manage your time to get results.

Only when we get politicians who have a demonstrable track record of success outside of politics will we get good government in this country.

Wordsmith
yes, but Carniegie didnt know a lot about steel. However, he knew how to pick men who DID. He could see through Bullshit, and people liked him (How to make freinds and influence people).
 
#18
Hang on, there's been rather a lot of moaning on here about the dastardly common folk occasionally voting in their own interest for things like pensions and the NHS rather than the joys of austerity and anally retentive supply side economics so is a decline in representative democracy actually such a bad thing?

Let's face it in the UK it's only the elderly who have enough faith in the system to vote reliably and they are a rapidly growing demographic who have over the past few decades regularly opted for policies that benefit them and screw the younger cohorts.

Anyway how exactly do you sustain a democracy together with jittery 21st century creditor capitalism if, as in Ireland, a great deal of economic energy is devoted to rescuing large, sometimes foreign, lenders largely at the expense of the lower deciles? The answer is you don't really and "technocrats" increasing rule the roost. In Ireland we call these people "The Germans".
 
#19
The chief problem is that all aspects of public life, from business to politics, the media and finance, are overwhelmingly in the hands of people with neither honour nor integrity. Everything they do is to an extent self-serving, and the only justification they can muster for their conduct is, 'It's not actually illegal." Even when caught in illegality, the usual response is whining and self-pity (plus of course phantom medical conditions, miraculously reversed by the magic incantations 'probation', 'suspended sentence' and 'proceedings discontinued on grounds of the defendant's ill-health.'

Until there are people in charge who are capable of earning respect rather than shrilly demanding it, things will continue to get worse.
 
#20
Quoting myself from here: http://www.arrse.co.uk/science-forum/179628-cybernetics.html

Growing up, I used to think the word cybernetics was something to do with robots. According to Businessballs (a website that I throughly recoomend) the definition goes like:

Cybernetics is the science of control and communications in animals, including humankind, and machines. The study of cybernetics has been used in various ways since ancient times to attempt to explain and understand and manage the effective workings of all manner of systems - social, organisational, animal, mechanical, electronic and others. As such, the cybernetics concept (notably 'the first law of cybernetics') is immensely relevant to the modern development of management, and one's own role and potential within systems of all kinds.

From: www.businessballs.com/cybernetics.htm

My background is in Electronic (Communications to be more precise) Engineering, and as such I am familiar with issues and concepts such as noise, filters, signal/noise ratio, feedback (positive and negative), and so on.

This old USAF training film also discusses some of these concepts: MAN AND SAFETY - COMMUNICATIONS - YouTube

As does this Wikipedia (I know, but it seems ok): Communication - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Barriers to successful communication include message overload (when a person receives too many messages at the same time), and message complexity.

Physical barriers: Physical barriers are often due to the nature of the environment. Thus, for example, the natural barrier which exists, if staff are located in different buildings or on different sites. Likewise, poor or outdated equipment, particularly the failure of management to introduce new technology, may also cause problems. Staff shortages are another factor which frequently causes communication difficulties for an organization. Whilst distractions like background noise, poor lighting or an environment which is too hot or cold can all affect people's morale and concentration, which in turn interfere with effective communication.

System design:
System design faults refer to problems with the structures or systems in place in an organization. Examples might include an organizational structure which is unclear and therefore makes it confusing to know who to communicate with. Other examples could be inefficient or inappropriate information systems, a lack of supervision or training, and a lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities which can lead to staff being uncertain about what is expected of them.

Attitudinal barriers:
Attitudinal barriers come about as a result of problems with staff in an organization. These may be brought about, for example, by such factors as poor management, lack of consultation with employees, personality conflicts which can result in people delaying or refusing to communicate, the personal attitudes of individual employees which may be due to lack of motivation or dissatisfaction at work, brought about by insufficient training to enable them to carry out particular tasks, or just resistance to change due to entrenched attitudes and ideas.

Ambiguity of Words/Phrases:
Words sounding the same but having different meaning can convey a different meaning altogether. Hence the communicator must ensure that the receiver receives the same meaning. It would be better if such words can be avoided by using alternatives.

Individual linguistic ability
is also important. The use of difficult or inappropriate words in communication can prevent people from understanding the message. Poorly explained or misunderstood messages can also result in confusion. We can all think of situations where we have listened to something explained which we just could not grasp. Interestingly, however, research in communication has shown that confusion can lend legitimacy to research when persuasion fails.

Physiological barriers: may result from individuals' personal discomfort, caused—for example—by ill health, poor eyesight or hearing difficulties.

Presentation of information:
is also important to aid understanding. Simply put, the communicator must consider the audience before making the presentation itself and in cases where it is not possible the presenter can at least try to simplify his/her vocabulary so that majority can understand.

With respect to noise:

In any communication model, noise is interference with the decoding of messages sent over a channel by an encoder. There are many examples of noise:

Environmental Noise:
Noise that physically disrupts communication, such as standing next to loud speakers at a party, or the noise from a construction site next to a classroom making it difficult to hear the professor.

Physiological-Impairment Noise:
Physical maladies that prevent effective communication, such as actual deafness or blindness preventing messages from being received as they were intended.

Semantic Noise:
Different interpretations of the meanings of certain words. For example, the word "weed" can be interpreted as an undesirable plant in your yard, or as a euphemism for marijuana.

Syntactical Noise:
Mistakes in grammar can disrupt communication, such as abrupt changes in verb tense during a sentence.

Organizational Noise:
Poorly structured communication can prevent the receiver from accurate interpretation. For example, unclear and badly stated directions can make the receiver even more lost.

Cultural Noise:
Stereotypical assumptions can cause misunderstandings, such as unintentionally offending a non-Christian person by wishing them a "Merry Christmas".

Psychological Noise:
Certain attitudes can also make communication difficult. For instance, great anger or sadness may cause someone to lose focus on the present moment. Disorders such as Autism may also severely hamper effective communication.

Given that the First Law of Cybernetics states that The unit within the system with the most behavioural responses availible to it controls the system, does it mean that anyone with an impaired ability to understand others' responses and to control their own is disabled?

Also since everything comes down to perceptions, does this explain why bullshiters and ar$e kissers always seem to win promotions and get their ideas accepted? Their message is what the recipient wants to hear, therefore it appears to have a better S/N ratio than others, particularly when the message is what the recipient wants to hear (yes, it's a brilliant idea)?

How useful is this in understanding behaviour, either as an individual or as part of a group?

See also Groupthink

A few characteristics of Groupthink

Not expressing your true thoughts and feelings
Conciously maintaining an illusion of unamity
Investigating only a limited number of alternative solutions to a problem
Being extremely selective in looking for and applying external information
Speaking negatively about people outside the group
Rationalising decisions that were not particularly good
Not developing emergency scenarios