DEMOCRACY or FREEDOM? THAT IS YOUR CHOICE
[Daily Mail-June 27,2008]
DEMOCRACY and freedom. It is a fine sounding phrase-rarely off the lips of President Bush as he blunders around the Middle East.
Why do we readily accept that democracy and freedom are natural partners? There is scant historical evidence for it. Often it is a case of
DEMOCRACY or FREEDOM: even DEMOCRACY versus FREEDOM.
Consider two examples. the United States is the only country to have banned alcohol by public demand. Contrast this with Hong Kong. Until shortly before being handed back by
BRITAIN to BEIJING
at all: It was ruled by a colonial governor. Yet enjoyed enviable freedom with one of the least intrusive governments -and flourished wonderfully.
Our own experience also has much to tell us.
BEING A DEMOCRACY HAS NOT PROMOTED PERSONAL LIBERTY.
QUITE THE OPPOSITE.
have been created since 1997, and officialdom revels in nearly
300 POWERS OF ENTRY.
Much of this is due to the
are rarely scrutinised, let alone debated , by our supposedly democratic representatives.
WHAT we may SAY, WRITE or DO, or whom WE EMPLOY has been increasingly limited. The Government has passed legislation which can make assisting your son's football team
Another side of our
demonstrates painfully how the public will is constantly flouted. Take the brazen example of voters being
resulting from the
The unscrupulous machinery of government has been deployed to
FRUSTRATE THE PUBLIC WILL.
I am not making a party point.
FOR OVER 40 YEARS, GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH PARTIES HAVE BEEN RESISTING AN OVERWHELMING PUBLIC DEMAND FOR CURBS ON
especially from the
While successive governments have made a show of meeting public demand, they have, quite consciously
REFUSED TO ADDRESS IT
throwing occasional tit-bits to the voters in the hope
THAT THIS WILL KEEP THEM QUIET.
Consider, also, the strong public demand for
CRIMINALS TO BE PROPERLY PUNISHED.
Successive governments, including Mrs Thatcher's have come under the sway of the
people -with the result that
CRIMINALS RECEIVE VERY MODEST SENTENCES.
What is more, if they serve a sentence at all, it is in the softest conditions.
IF LYING ON YOUR BED AND WATCHING TV FOR A FEW MONTHS IS THE WORST THAT T^HE LAW WILL INFLICT
(and that's if you are even caught)
CRIME IS WORTH THE RISK
PUBLIC OUTRAGE IS IGNORED.
The explanation is quite logical. Politicians are typically driven by
THE FIRST is the PURSUIT OF POWER
the most exciting thing in the world, or even some say, the first. If this urge is not there when they start their political careers
THEN IT SOON TAKES OVER.
THEIR SECOND MOTIVATION -to give our politicians their due - is the DESIRE FOR REFORM, IMPROVE the condition of the PEOPLE.
But the catch here is that most politicians
THINK THEY KNOW WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE FAR BETTER THAN THEMSELVES.
THEY FORM AN ELITE
WHICH LISTENS TO
Or perhaps, since the word elite sounds flattering, we should say
THEY FORM A CASTE.
Politicians do not wake each morning wondering whether they are meeting the public will. They turn to the media to learn what is said about them in newspapers and on the radio by other members of the
- the selectorate, the clattering classes, the scribblers, the intellectually fashionable, call them what you will.
For elites to be out of touch is not unusual, even inevitable. The desire to be 'in' with the 'right' people is common with politicians; their weakness is for approval (and fame).
Of course, there is one moment when public opinion cannot be ignored -and that is at an
As Rousseau observed, voters are truly free
But , by then, all the issues are jumbled up, and the voter finds himself choosing between
TWO COMPLEX and CONFUSING MENUS.
And while it is clearly advantageous for a party to offer the public
WHAT IT WANTS, the fact that both main parties say MUCH THE SAME THING..
-and make similar insincere
makes a mockery of any claim to be driven by
BUT the ALTERNATIVE to our PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM politicians say in horror, would be GOVERNMENT by REFERENDUMS. With 'horror' because it would take power from THEM and give it to THE PEOPLE.
BUT WHY NOT?
The Swiss have made a suburb success of it. Referendums are required on national and local issues if enough voters petition for them and they often do. As a result, the Federal Government, like the local CANTON administrations, proceeds with CAUTION in case its plans are overturned by a PUBLIC VOTE. . .
To acknowledge that our PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, which has developed over the centuries, NO LONGER WORKS -MAY BE PAINFUL. But if you put that to a REFERENDUM,
MOST VOTERS WOULD HEARTILY AGREE.
[Font Altered-Bolding & Underlining Used-Comment in Brackets]
[brought forward from June-2008