A new anti-democratic agenda?
Vincent Browne’s latest article created a bit of a stir online. The headline, “Technocratic, unelected governments are the ideal”, was always bound to attract attention. His core proposal is as follows:
If parliament was where policies were decided and a technocratic executive arm were directed to execute those policies and be held entirely accountable for doing that, then we might have democratic politics and accountable politics.
I would have thought that we already had a substantial technocracy in the form of the full-time employees of each government department: the ones who remain employed regardless of which government reaches power. It seems that this proposal would like to take things a step further so that the Ministers themselves, the chief executives of each department, were also unelected.
Voters would lose control over these appointments; they may be appointed in a similar fashion to the European Commission. Would this reduce corruption and improve accountability? Something tells me that it would not. Those who reached executive power would undoubtedly be friends and allies of politicians, except one stage further removed from voters. Wouldn’t we rather have the messiness of democracy than surrender to even greater bureacratic control? Even better, we could abandon the notion that government can produce a perfect society. Let’s discuss the alternative.