Saying no to 225 is a famous slogan these days. At the same time, Peratugami front says “power should be out of the parliament”. They also say that the people should rule the country instead of the politicians.
I have many friends on the Peratugami front. They are honest, dedicated, and good people. But not all these 225, saying that the people should rule the country is not only an impractical thing that can never be done but also a dangerous idea that can end in a very destructive end.
There is a great description of this in political science. But they are not necessary. It is very simple to say that the people cannot rule the country. First of all, it’s not something that can be done anyway. It is not possible to bring 20 million people together and discuss and make decisions. Instead, even if a Soviet-style council like the people’s councils were divided into geographically small parts and decided things affecting that area, if you want to make a decision on national level issues beyond that, you have to select and send a representative from there. This is the first reason why representation is needed. 225 is one such representation.
That representative can be appointed in one way or another. In a monarchy system, it is from father to son. In a military government, the positions are divided. In another monopolistic party system, names are selected from the top. But according to the modern democratic model developed in England after the seventeenth century, representatives should be elected by the will of the people. That’s what voting is for. There are many drawbacks to this system. But as Churchill said, this is the best system in history. Churchill said this in a different way. (“Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”).
Those who were appointed in that way are now in the parliament. We all know that many of them are bad and corrupt. It is possible to analyze a lot about why this has happened. It has structural problems in Sri Lanka’s constitution as well as problems in what we identify as “political culture”. But we all have to accept that governance cannot be done practically except through the representatives who are appointed in some way.
But representative democracy should be implemented instead of direct democracy not only because direct democracy is practically impossible. Actually, we say that those people are intelligent, but they are not so. Socrates was executed by the people through direct democracy. That is why that democracy was bitter for his student Plato. In a direct democracy, people are mesmerized by the impassioned speeches of champion orators. People are oversensitive and impulsive and make stupid decisions quickly. What is done in a representative democracy is to set up a system that reduces this quality of the people in direct democracy. There is a separate team with professional experience to make decisions according to a method. They are called Politicians. Due to the experiences of the world so far, the parliamentary process has been prepared with a decision-making model in such a way that such prejudices and weaknesses are reduced as much as possible. As said before, it has its own problems. But it is the best decision-making model available.
Therefore, no matter how much we argue, it is best for a country to be governed by a parliament. It doesn’t mean that you don’t want all 225, but you need a good 225. A government without 225 is either a dictatorship, a single party or a military regime. For the anger, although people think that even one such system would be better than this 225, we think that because we have never been under such governance. The day such a thing comes, we will remember what Churchill said.