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Friday, 28 September 2012

Was democracy wasted on us?


A thought I usually try to resist thinking is the possibility that democracy doesn’t work in the UK. What’s more it never will because far too many voters are too idle or too thick to make it work.

I don’t like thoughts like this, because I don’t think they take us anywhere useful. The trouble is, they seem to explain the otherwise inexplicable. For example, why would anyone but a lunatic vote for Dave, Nick or Ed?

Because sometimes I look at our three main political parties, at their dishonesty, ineptness and general unfitness for high office... And I think... 

...We voted for the bastards didn’t we? It's our fault isn't it?

Collectively I mean – we voted for them and will do so again and again and again until it doesn’t matter any longer. Waste, incompetence, routine lying, bungling, expenses thieving and an endless litany of failures make hardly any discernible difference.

I find it impossible to avoid the conclusion that for most folks, this state of affairs is good enough.  Democracy wasn’t worth achieving – we’ve thrown it away almost as soon as we gained a finger hold. A few comforts, some repetitive entertainment, a doctor you don’t have to pay and that seems to be enough. Enough money and enough stuff to buy are enough - are the very definition, limit, boundary and entire meaning of enough.

It doesn’t seem to matter if we hand over the reins to a bunch of unelected EU bureaucrats and build windmills that don’t work because energy policy is controlled by mad people. It doesn’t matter if children are lied to about the climate. To most people it doesn’t seem to matter.

Just order a takeaway and open a bottle of wine.

Leave it to the professionals? We already have. That ship has sailed. For good or ill we made our collective choice and now it seems we'll have to live with it. Possibly for a long time. Possibly for a very long time indeed.

7 comments:

Angus Dei said...

AK-Short answer-yes...

James Higham said...

I don’t like thoughts like this, because I don’t think they take us anywhere useful.

The problem is that though you're right, dispensing with it does not produce the benevolent dictator or the meritocracy - it produces the Camerons, Browns and Cleggs.

Roger said...

Democracy is a very broad church, very er 'flexible' as we will probably find out. The LRB did an article on the flexibility of democracy a while back (I recycled mine).

As Wodehouse said of Aunts 'one gets a glimpse of the cloven hoof beneath the skirt', so it is with democracies.... Personally I don't really have any idea how to proceed except to whine on this blog. Jackboots anyone?

A K Haart said...

Angus - true. Fortunately there are lots of long answers so we can carry on blogging!

James - and if I'm honest, I'll settle for that - in the sense of what else is there?

Roger - I have no idea either. I may post on that though - try a bit of forecasting even if only for fun.

Demetrius said...

On conventionial saying is that democracy is a bad way to run a country but the alternatives are worse. Personally, I don't think we have ever had real democracy in the UK. Although we did begin to approach it when a good deal of power lay with real local authorities and institutions.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I'm a democrat and will put up with what other people vote for, those are the rules.

They are very clever though, the Big Three. Because they are so useless, all new parties get tarred with the same brush, but the Big Three still keep their core voters (half the population? A bit less?) so in a perverse way, by being so useless, they increase their grip on power.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I don't think we have ever had real democracy either. We never took hold of it, never gave it the consideration and effort it required.

Mark - yes, I suppose people become so cynical they don't expect any other party to be better than the big three.