(This article was also printed in the latest edition of De Andere Krant Leef. Due to the corona measures, many collection points were forced to close.)
Where would we be if the Netherlands were a democracy? Were there so many citizens who vote SP, PVV, FvD out of discontent, or who did not come to the polls at all for a long time?
Why do yellow vests, farmers, teachers, health workers, construction workers and activists regularly stir? But, I hear you think: "Aren't we a democracy?" If this is pushed into us often enough by the press, fed by (party) elites, many wear it out as truth. Churchill once said something like, "Democracy is the least bad state." He couldn't think of a better alternative. But there is. A truly democratic, competent and fully transparent state system that can be introduced without constitutional obstacles.
First, let's go through some existing 'democratic' strongholds:
Has our head of state been appointed democratically by citizens?
Have citizens ever been allowed to vote on the constitution?
The senate - indirectly 'elected' - is appointed party politically.
Municipal councils and provincial councils are usually established in 'Hague'. Hardly anyone knows the programs and / or the candidates.
Cabinets are created in backrooms, thanks to voter-cheating coalition talks. Minority positions are regularly elevated to government policy by giving each other something as participating parties. For example, in the current situation, leaders of respectively the CDA, D66 and the CU will continuously implement VVD policy to reassure their own voters that they have been able to secure promised minority positions. A strangling fraction discipline then guarantees that dissidents are muzzled.
Then another attempt: surely the House of Representatives will be established democratically? Unfortunately, the only democratic thing about it is to do a round of red once every four years. After that, 150 career politicians are given a mandate for up to 4 years to run, placate, and screw and turn voters. The aforementioned exchange of all sorts of minority views creates an election mutilation, with which at least 76 MPs are deemed to agree without criticism through the fraction discipline imposed by the party elites. Where a group for the election unanimously ?? before, can during the coalition talks completely tilt towards an already unanimous ?? against! After 4 years a repeat of moves: only promise a lot again because of power-hungry motives (number of seats) and then sail a different course.
We miss a Constitutional Court; art. 120 of the constitution prohibits judges from testing laws against the constitution. Furthermore, we tumbled into the EU without a plebiscite and got the euro in our wallets without a say.
What is there still democratic if even some constitutional rights such as freedom of expression, privacy and demonstration are under severe pressure? The right of objection with regard to the pension deal has also been unilaterally lifted. We accept this indiscriminately without knowledge of an alternative, but …… there is: The Alternative State System (AS). AS is not just another party, but a new political constitution. It can be embraced by all new but also by existing parties!
AS contains essential principles, including optimal democracy, recognized expertise and full transparency. AS is neither left nor right and has binding referendums built in. All parties who want to apply the AS system do not have to specify any party program point. All positions can remain the stake for the elections alongside AS. After the introduction of this system, party political appointments, exclusions, falling cabinets, strangling fraction discipline, twisting, electoral deception, backrooms, split-offs and seat robberies are over. This is all possible within the constitutional rules and restrictions!
The system concisely in a few sentences:
1-MPs become representatives of the people again, serving parties instead of leading. Candidate MPs conform to a party program, but are given the freedom to deviate on a few points. This creates a unique 'private program' for each candidate. Citizens really have a choice. The 'private programs' of all candidates are processed by 2 to 3 competing polling stations, so that every voter at home behind the PC does not end up with a party, but with a candidate. If he / she meets the electoral threshold, he / she in the House is bound by all promises in the 'private program'. This makes coalitions impossible and unnecessary. New MPs jointly receive an independent course of several weeks in constitutional law and political functioning.
2-The Cabinet is formed by the best, party-independent professional toppers in the Netherlands. From a selection of self-registered or requested candidates, the MPs always choose the best, for eight years. Every whopper is the boss of (top) officials in terms of knowledge, skills and experience. He / she receives a number of specialists as State Secretary for three days a week who sharpen and complement each other. The secretaries of state continue to function with their original employer for two days. Within five years, a State Secretary is replaced annually (or awarded a 2eterm). One or two new ministers are appointed or reappointed every year in an eight-year cycle. After their appointment, the ministers will accompany the predecessor for at least a month to ensure a smooth transfer.
Cabinet members cannot fall for party-political reasons, but they can if they ignore the wishes of the House. Then only the relevant minister and / or state secretary will be replaced, so that the rest can continue. This ensures a long-term vision, continuity and consistent policy. Ministers have no election obligations, resignation periods are taboo.
Example: the Ministry of Education is led by an all-round education topper with administrative experience and six state secretaries. A primary education topper, a secondary education skater, one as a representative of university education and a fourth for special and / or adult education. Culture and science are each also represented by a State Secretary. This construction can be applied to any department.
3-The Senate should go back to what it was once intended for. Instead of rewarding former politicians for party loyalty, with various supervisory directorships and often acting as lobbyists, various law experts from different disciplines should only assess laws for correctness, feasibility and whether they conflict with existing laws. They are also able to prevent possible criminal-friendly loopholes. If the senate is to consist of at least ten law specialists from different disciplines, who are also entitled to consult other scholars, the Council of State (also appointed undemocratic party politics) can be dissolved. Then the Constitutional Court is built into the Senate and Art. 120 of the constitution are repealed. The new-style senators can largely keep their old profession. The remuneration of ministers and senators could (should?) Be in line with the market, possibly supplemented with a job guarantee.
4-House of Representatives being elected for four years is sacred and the linchpin of our democracy. It cannot be dissolved. Elections are held on a fixed day every four years. Each MP can belong to a coalition per item or to the opposition, in accordance with the electoral promises. Perhaps the other way around for the next item. Always in accordance with your own 'private program'. So there is no fraction discipline, but program discipline. Positions are no longer exchanged with interests in other policy areas. Only within the subject could something be moved to still achieve some result. (Example: leaving 6% VAT on healthy food as it is, to 9% or abolishing it, could partly yield a result if the proponents of 6% and those of 0% arrive at 3% and thus create a majority). Now, hypothetically, the SGP can demand shop closings or even full Sunday rest if they are numerically necessary for a coalition that will forge policy with a multitude of other minority views along with some majority views.
Ministers can scrutinize the 150 private programs for new policy proposals to see whether they can count on a majority. But also members of parliament who want to introduce a bill can assess in advance by scrutinizing all 150 programs, whether a majority can be expected. Then the minister concerned will be instructed to work out and submit the wish of a majority. If a minister himself comes up with something completely new that does not appear in the programs (example: abolition of dividend tax for foreign investors), all MPs who do not have this in their 'private program' will consult their own via a kind of DigiD system. rank and file. All pros and cons, approved by all political groups, are offered to voters via DigiD lines. This in the form of a mini-referendum, through which the citizens determine what their representative in the Chamber must vote. (Perhaps every citizen should be able to be connected with his / her political representative free of charge, whereby all members of the MPs together determine the level of the state subsidy for each political party. Optimal democracy must be free for the citizen. But this is determined by the MPs. !)
5-The AS system. Everything is completely transparent; voters are regularly involved in decision-making and citizens determine. Is more than 1/3 for the monarchy, it stays that way. Would you like to get rid of 2/3 of it, this is possible. This also applies to a Nexit, or return to the guilder, a different national anthem, a different national flag, or an extension from 150 to 300 MPs.
When we say goodbye to party-political appointments, B&W will also be appointed on the basis of knowledge and skills as described above 'nationally'. In this system, judges and top officials of government and semi-governmental bodies can no longer count on party support as a thank you for loyal behavior.
Whether provincial administrations can be dissolved and merge into a Ministry of the 12 United Provinces, with one minister and twelve secretaries of state, is decided by the citizens.
No more party elites who know what is good for the people. Never again a situation in which wealthy people, who do not vote, are better represented than citizens with lower incomes who do color circles in red en masse. People are really not stupid, but they often have no sense, no time or no possibilities to master all the files. For this they choose a representative according to their own wishes. Citizens need not be bothered for all sorts of details that can be distilled from the context of the 'private program'. Via a DigiD-like system, every citizen can see how their 'own' Member of Parliament has voted daily. Turning is not possible; everything is transparent. Lobbyists who only had to harass the prime minister (dividend tax exemption for foreign shareholders) will have little or no influence. After all, getting 76 MPs willing to turn against the wishes of their own constituencies will be difficult.
Systems can be structurally adapted, improved. Over time, people can be influenced from 'above' to turn around and thus fall into unreliable apostates. The current system is suitable (inviting?) For the latter. Nothing and no one is perfect. Nor is this alternative polity. Considering everything, however, and contrasting the new possibilities with all the anti-democratic strongholds and their excesses of the current particratic system, some imperfections and obstacles may be remedied or accepted. Ask MPs this question of conscience: "Are you a representative or career politician for your own and / or party interests?"
Pieter Omtzigt would be extremely suitable for the AS system. Once chosen as a 'renegade' in an ineligible place with preferential votes, only to be submerged again like a tamed tiger in a silencing fraction discipline. Ari Slob as a former teacher seemed like a relief from Education. Only he, as an expert by experience, is decisive, but the own party top, edited and massaged during the coalition (submission) discussions, together with the top civil servants. The rumor, confirmed in the corridors, has been going on for decades that top civil servants are partly determining, sometimes even fully determining, thanks to the lack of professional knowledge and skills of ministers. However, a professional topper within the current system is no guarantee for a good professional policy, certainly not in the long term! That is why the AS offers ultimate possibilities.
Citizens are entitled to maximum participation, the best possible administrators and complete transparency. Binding referendums are built in and cannot be taken away from the people. All this is guaranteed by the AS system. Introducing a 5% electoral threshold is an emergency leap towards an even more limited democracy. This makes it almost impossible for new parties to make their voices heard, let alone be able to have an influence. It could be ideal that 150 loners would fill the Chamber. Parties cannot be prohibited; could fulfill a serving function. Common positions (if not, then the candidate was a member of another party), logistical possibilities and neutral support can have essential added value for candidates. Wanting an electoral threshold is a wish out of fear. Fear that the political elite and regent parties will lose influence.
At the moment 'WilNu' (WilNu.nu) is a newcomer who has included the AS as the most prominent spearhead in its program for the parliamentary elections of 17 March 2021. The Free Electoral List is in the process of connecting various parties, including a number of local parties, with AS as the binding factor, while all participating parties remain fully loyal to all their respective positions.
More information and the possibility to ask questions: alternativestaatsbestel.nl with 10 objectives and a little under point 10 a reference to a Rough Framework: The Pluchen Revolution.
It can be better, it must be better. It is possible (for how long?) Without a clash of guns. But then wanting to think differently is a requirement!