The Netherlands has the best political system in the world© 9 February 2018 Marthijn Uittenbogaard
In our neighbor country Germany, there exists a five percent barrier in the national elections. So when a political party gets 4,9 percent of all the votes, then that party will get no seats at all in the German parliament: the Bundestag. When three parties almost get 5% each, then almost 15% of the votes is lost. Also, many people are reluctant to vote for a small party because then your vote can be lost. A small party can not grow easily because the media will ignore the party. Even if they have no seats in parliament, they can still express their opinions but why should a journalist write them down?
In The Netherlands we have 150 seats in parliament. (And 75 in the Senate.) When you get 1/150 of all the votes, then you will get one seat in parliament. The next elections such a party can grow more easily than when you get 1/150 of all the votes in Germany. When people are not happy about the politicians, new parties will see the light. In Germany the dissatisfaction about the politics will be shown at a later stage. A political earthquake will take place and a new balance will be formed. Until the next earthquake, many years later. In The Netherlands we would lose parties in parliament if we also had a five percent rule. The Party for the Animals for instance. I voted for them the last elections. Also two small religious parties, the Christian Union and the SGP, would have a hard time staying in parliament. And the new party Forum for Democracy would not have the two seats they are holding today. In the polls they grow to 20 or so seats. But would they if they wouldn't had the two seats in the first place? Would they get much media attention if they were at 1% of the votes in the polls. No, they would not.
In the UK the situation is even worse than in Germany. The UK has a sort of two or three party system. The party with the most votes in a district will get the seat in parliament. Coming second or third all over the United Kingdom will result in no seats.
In the USA you have a two party system. Voting for a third party candidate is almost a waste of time. So two parties, where the top dictates the direction, and where most politicians have to follow the top, then how can you say that the parliament is doing the right thing for the people? Especially when politicians (parties) are bought indirectly by big companies.
Our system is much better than that of Germany and much much better than that of the United Kingdom. And the US system can't even be called a democracy in my opinion. People have to fight for democracy in that country. Don't accept the current status quo.
But is the Dutch system perfect? No, far from it. The problem is that in The Netherlands the 150 politicians are not free to express their opinions. If they have an opinion that is against the party line then they are exit. This due to the system where the top of the parties decide who will be on the election lists. The members can approve this list and only a few changes will take place at a party meeting: some politicians end up a few places higher or lower, that's about it.
If five percent of the Dutch populations would be in favor of lowering the age of consent, then it does not mean that seven or eight politicians would express the same opinion. No, most people voting for all the parties are against lowering the age of consent so one politician in favor of lowering this age would mean that the party as a whole would lose votes. In this way all politician have the same views. Political correctness is the norm. I gave the example of the age of consent in our sex laws. But that's just one topic. The same goes for many other topics as well.
Do I believe that the parliament should be a realistic representation of the public? No. When one percent of the people would have the syndrome of down, I don't believe a person with the syndrome of down should be in parliament. I also believe that basic human rights should always prefer above the opinion of the majority of the people. When more than fifty percent of the people want to abolish a pedophile organization: the Association Martijn, then a judge should never abolish such an organization. When I start a political party, I should have this right. Many Dutch political parties in the Netherlands deny me this right. In the non-democratic USA however, NAMBLA was never abolished by a court. People tried to do so but they did not succeed. The freedom of speech and the freedom of association are protected more in the USA. The USA should copy our political system and we must copy the freedom of speech rights in the USA. Not the US Justice system though. That system is barbaric and for a great deal comparable with Hitler-Germany.
In Switzerland, referenda are very popular. I'm against such referenda as in Switzerland. You can poll the views of the people, but the outcome must not automatically become rule. We need politicians that handle in the best interest of the public. Politicians must inform themselves about all the points of view, about the facts and then vote in what they believe is in the best interest of all. Many new political parties, like Forum for Democracy and even the Pirate Party (no seats in parliament due to less than 1/150 of the votes) are in favor of referenda: the majority of the people voting in such a referendum decide what the law should be. Politicians in Switzerland can't change that outcome after the public has spoken. One angry farmer should always have the possibility to go to Den Haag (The Hague) and explain politicians why a new potential law would be a bad thing for him (or her). If his arguments makes sense, the politician must vote accordingly to the best interest of the public, that is including the farmer's arguments. This is not always the same as the opinion of the majority of the public. You can write a politician but you can not inform every citizen in your country. Even if you get media attention - not everybody wants to go public though - for your situation, you will never reach all the voting people. And mostly, the media attention will be by far insufficient to explain the situation in a nuanced way.
When liberal Johan Rudolph Thorbecke (1798-1872) designed our political system - it has not chanced much over the years - there were no political parties. Only individual candidates. Our party structure makes our political system a bit comparable with that of the United Kingdom and that of the USA. We have to find a way to break the influence of the parties. The solution to this problem will not be referenda. They make things even worse I'm afraid.
A bit off topic, but I think the biggest problem in the Western World is not in the first place our politicians, but our mass media. Our politicians are just an effect of this 'journalism'. Solution: try to be an independent journalist and opinion maker yourself.