This article first appeared in The Wolfian issue 7 before Brexit where I was questioning democracy. In light of the recent events within the Labour Party and indeed within the Cons the questions are still relevant. Especially in light of the ‘leaked’ email that claimed Bojo wasn’t trusted by the media moguls and then he stood down the next day.
You put your left arm in
Your left arm out
In out, in out,
You shake it all about
You do the Okey-Cokey
And you turn around
That’s what it’s all about
And that is what I think of the great EU debate. I’ve not made my mind up yet and don’t feel I ought to comment. I WILL be voting in the referendum however, as that is my democratic right as we live in a democratic country. Or is our ‘democracy’ just an illusion of democracy?
Simple Definition of democracy
: a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting
: a country ruled by democracy
: an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights
Full Definition of democracy
1a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
What percentage again did the Tories scrape into power in 2015? Well according to Wikipedia (yes I know I’m being lazy) it appears the Cons had 36% of the vote, Labour 30%
The link is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2015 and I think that in the light of certain recent revelations this point is particularly of interest.
‘Ministers increased the amount of money that parties and candidates were allowed to spend on the election by 23%, a move decided against Electoral Commission advice. The election saw the first cap on spending by parties in individual constituencies during the 100 days before Parliament’s dissolution on 30 March: £30,700, plus a per-voter allowance of 9p in county constituencies and 6p in borough seats. An additional voter allowance of more than £8,700 is available after the dissolution of Parliament. UK political parties spent £31.1m in the 2010 general election, of which Conservatives spent 53%, the Labour Party spent 25% and the Liberal Democrats 15%’
It appears the Con’s ‘forgot’ to declare some election and by election expenditure according to channel 4 news. Not only this, but future election constituency boundaries are looking to change with the Labour Party losing out. Of the 50 seats likely to go Labour 35 are labour safe seats while other labour seats will become more marginal. This despite a cross party select committee
Changes to the trade union bill means that as Labours main source of income their ability to be an effective opposition and win future elections is reduced, especially as funding for opposition parties has also been drastically reduced.
If you also add in the changes to the electoral roll meaning thousands have dropped off and are now not eligible to vote, thousands made homeless due to benefit sanctions, no address, no vote.
Personally I do not see that this is a democratic system if one party has more funds than the rest, if they cheat on election expenses, and if they change the rules (by the back door) when in power so nobody else will win. Oh and use the main stream media as their personal propaganda tool by ignoring news stories that would show them for what they are, headlining trivial matters (or even inventing stories) to deflect from what they are up to and try to divide the population by setting one social sector against another.
2: a political unit that has a democratic government
You see to me democracy means they LISTEN to what others have to say, as a now regular listener to PMQ’s I am usually saddened and furious in equal measures by the total lack of respect from David Cameron towards Mr Corbyn as he very rarely answers a question, all he does is spout meaningless figures which are not representative of the true situation and put all the blame on the last Labour Government. Combine that with the personal insults to Mr Corbyn and the animal farm noises from the rest of the Tory Mob whenever JC tries to speak it’s just absolutely appalling.
Filliblustering*– oh yes the Tories are great at that anti democratic tactic. When an MP wants to amend a bill like – free hospital parking for carers or teaching primary school kids basic first aid the egotistical Tories who like nothing more than the sound of their own voice, talk and talk about something that could be summed up in five minutes. But no they continue talking until time runs out for the bill to be heard then it’s effectively shelved.
The speaker – who should be the referee or playground monitor in the house of commons seems to be deaf and blind to all of these ‘unfair’ actions.
Democracy – I think not, more like Autocracy.
3: the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
So when does the ‘common’ person ie you and I get to make decisions or have a say in changing the laws? Certainly not during elections if the playing field is biased and the goalposts are pushed further away at half time. Consulting with our local member of parliament in order to sort out an issue? Not if they’re only part time, or hold totally opposite views to you and only speak for themselves and not for the good of the community.
Major issues such as ‘fracking’ should be put to a public referendum. Fracking is about our countryside, our health and safety, the health and safety of our children and grandchildren. Reports have shown it to be hazardous yet because the investors think they can make money from it they push it through. My local MP voted for Fracking. As so many people now have internet access at home, on their mobile phones or can go to a library why don’t MP’s ASK their constituents how they feel on certain subjects, have a mini poll and then REPRESENT the constituents instead of the bankers. (Should start with a W but I’m being polite.)
4: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges
Not in this country matey. How many of the Tory cabinet and MP’s attended Eton and other expensive education facilities? How many are related to the Royal Family? How quick are they to jump at pay rises and claim expenses? Not only is there a definite class distinction and privilege in this country it is getting more and more pronounced.
Perhaps David Cameron thinks that he is a member of the French 17th Century nobility, and on being told that the people are so poor they can’t afford bread suggests that they should eat cake. Or in modern day times suggest offering budgeting assistance to poor and underprivileged families who are living hand to mouth so they can ‘save for a rainy day’ I guess he can’t tell it’s already pouring down from his comfortable private jet that WE the taxpayer bought.
The fact that we can ‘vote’ in elections does not mean we are democratic if the ‘facts’ we are given or led to believe are false. If the reason we are being given to vote a certain way is based on fear of the alternative it is not democratic, it is terrorism. It is just an illusion of democracy, like the EU referendum, the outcome of which, I believe, will be who shouts loudest and pays the most in advertising and bribes.
Knees bend, arms stretch
* Filibustering with bluster