Contempt for parliamentary deliberative procedures Negation of parliament
Parliamentary deliberation is the central process of democracy. Political speeches there can only be heard by a small number even though portions are increasingly broadcast. Considerable resources are expended on making such speeches available in written form form wider study. However very few people read such documents, even when their institutions can afford to subscribe to them. The high proportion of speeches which are repetitious and therefore predictable, lacking in significance, and hence uninteresting, contributes to lack of interest in the process. The situation is exacerbated by the tendency of members of parliament to prefer the use of press releases and interviews to make a point.
In the UK there has been a marked decline in news coverage of parliamentary debates over past decades. In 1993 it was estimated that two of the quality papers had deliberately reduced their coverage by as much as 75% compared with the mid-1980s.
Lack of public exposure to parliamentary debate has a destructive effect upon the public understanding of the democratic process and discriminates against backbenchers who have few other means of getting their views to public notice.
Unless parliament can update its rituals and its language, improve its behaviour during its widely publicized (and televised) sessions, and strive for a level of debate worth listening to (as opposed to the rather childish level of charge and counter-charge typical of many debates), then it is inappropriate to expect wide public interest in its processes.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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