Monday, 13 April 2015

On democracy

Enthusiastic warmonger Winston Churchill famously said that "...democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried from time to time." I assume he meant parliamentary democracy because elsewhere he blathers on about little men with little pencils making little crosses in little ballot boxes at which point he starts to sound like a Pete Seeger record. Sometimes he doesn't seem to keen on democracy at all: like when he said "the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter" or when he authorised the gassing of the Kurds way before Saddam Hussein thought of it. What a Statesman.

There is a general election taking place in the UK at the beginning of next month. I am a bit of an election junky. I wish that the Chartists had got their way and we had them every year. That way, anyone who broke their promises would be out on their ear. And I would get to stay up all night on a Thursday eating crisps and shouting at the telly.

My school held a Mock Election in 1997 - I didn't stand because I was a communist at the time and had no truck with parliamentary democracy. But I still went to all the debates because my mate Rollett was standing for the Labour party. A joke party who called themselves the Rebbel Alliance (sic) won by a landslide. I think of that whenever there is a call for suffrage to be extended to sixteen-year-olds.  

Obviously, I wish I lived in an anarcho-syndicalist utopia where people organised their own affairs. Or failing that, I wish I lived somewhere with a marginally functional democracy, a place where the people get together and tell their politicians what they expect to be done for them and replace them if they break their promises. Unfortunately, that would mean moving to Scotland. 

A selfie I took by the shores of Loch Ness on a democracy research trip