Democracy? What democracy?

There’s a move afoot on Twitter to get people to email their MPs, demanding a no-confidence vote against the government.

Fact is, though, such votes don’t work like that, they’re normally issue-based, not simply “This House believes that Dave and Co. are a shower of shit, and should go, RT – sorry – vote Yes if you agree!”.

Emailing MPs like that assumes that we live in a democracy, and that MPs care about us** and will take notice. We don’t. We never have. The people have their say once every 5 years (and it takes more than that to make a democracy), barring anything untoward, at general elections, and occasionally at by-elections. Between elections most in Parliament, in government or opposition,  really don’t give a bugger what we think.

**Some genuinely do, most not so much, if at all.

True democracy is largely a myth. On a national level, government of the people, by the people and for the people, as democracy is usually defined, simply hasn’t happened. What we got, in reality, has always been government of the people by a ruling elite, and it’s the government of the people bit that counts, not for the people. Elected these days, though it hasn’t always been the case, but an elite even so.

There was a time, in my memory, when working-class people could be elected to Parliament, and that’s as close to true democracy as we’ve come. These days those people, excellent though many of them were, with a genuine interest in the people who put them there, wouldn’t even get past the selection committee for PPCs — simply because they’re working class, and speak with the wrong accents. (In fairness, in that respect the LibDems have a better track record than the other two main parties).

Sometimes it’s been an intellectual elite that’s ruled, others a military elite, even religious elites from time to time but, always, back into history and showing no sign of changing, an elite.

America fondly believes that its constitution protects its democratic process, but it is not democratic at all. At Gettysburg, Lincoln proclaimed “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

That rumbling noise? That’s Lincoln, rotating in his grave, for the US ruling (and would-be-ruling), elite is, and has been for a long time, one of money, influence, and power. The American dream is green. National democracy in the US – if it every really existed – was long ago sacrificed on the altar of Mammon – money buys influence and power. Hell, it can even buy the country, just ask the Republicans.

Real democracy, if it exists anywhere in the US, exists in small-town politics. In Britain, in town and city councils.

The US has one major advantage over us though (as, indeed, do France and others), in that their national politicians are professionals, starting in local politics and working their way up, if they have the cash, influence, and sometimes even the skill, to Capitol Hill.

In Britain, by contrast, any bugger with a little money and enough friends can stand for Parliament, as an independent if the big three don’t like the cut of your jib, and we’re run by rank amateurs. In the case of the current bunch, extremely rank.

If we’re lucky we’ll get, in Parliament, a leavening of career politicians who have served their time in the lower ranks, but all too often it goes tits up, and we get people like Blair who, not content with having accomplished the seemingly impossible and made Labour electable again, went off on a deranged power trip. He’s still on it.

And let’s not forget the current shower of dimbulbs. They might well be extremely wealthy, with expensive educations, and a sackfull of degrees between them, but fuckwits they most certainly are, with (almost?) none of the cabinet ever having done a real day’s work in their lives, and having absolutely no conception of how real people live their lives. Especially when those people happen to be poor, or chronically sick and disabled. They have the helm of the good ship Great Britain, with not the slightest idea of how it works, or how to navigate.  Christ, the numbnuts running the country (into the ground), hasn’t even the wit to count his own kids. His idea of democracy is running the country for the benefit of the wealthy and corrupt, while fucking over the rest of us.

What we have is not a democracy but, currently, rule by a vastly wealthy elite who view this country as a plaything, with the lower orders there to be manipulated, moved around like living chess pieces and/or disposed of at a whim. Disposing of us  seems to be quite popular right now.

Cameron, Osborne, IDS, Grayling, Lansley, Hunt, and their assorted camp followers and arse-lickers, all have something in common – they have the moral compass of a usurer, the ethics of a crack-addled pimp and the conscience of a white shark.

And we do not have a democracy.


Abolitionist minister Theodore Parker, of Massachusetts, inspired Lincoln, who adapted something that Parker wrote for his Gettysburg address – it was this:

“Democracy is direct self-government, over all the people, for all the people, by all the people.”

A succinct and accurate summation of what democracy should be, but so rarely, if ever, is.

2 thoughts on “Democracy? What democracy?

  1. Pingback: Reposts, and changing my style | a Path Through the Valley

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