Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Our Political System: Is it really a Democracy?

The subtitle entertains the implication that we do not actually live in a democracy. Yes, if eligible, British citizens are allowed to vote for whom they want to be in control of our government. Yes, there are different political parties out there, each of them offering us normal citizens what they think is good for the nation. Well, that is the impression one gets when listening to politicians speak and make promises, yet for the better part of their time in office, these promises are seldom delivered. Sir Winston Churchill, when asked what qualities a good politician needs, rightly observed: “the ability to predict what will happen tomorrow, next month and next year. And the ability to explain afterwards why it didn’t happen.” But, as you will see, there’s more to it than a simple ‘democracy.’

A democracy does not quite describe our governmental system and many other ones at that. From 1858 until today, all of our Prime Ministers received a first-class education, attending Eton or Harrow (if not the ‘lower’ public schools) then continuing to Oxford or Cambridge. More often than not, our Prime Ministers were from prominent, well-to-do families with a plethora of connections meaning that their climb to the top was not as strenuous as they would have had us believe. We have even been graced with aristocracy, such as our first Prime Minister, Viscount Palmerston, and more recently, the Marquis of Salisbury and the Earl of Rosebery (1886, 1895 and 1894 respectively). Each time a new Prime Minister comes into office, control and power doesn’t change hands from, say Liberals to Conservatives, but rather from one rich person to another. Power has always been kept in that one group of people; the Elite. Our politicians were and still are aware of this and so they had to employ various methods to keep us normal citizens ‘distracted, so to speak. Enter The Media. Using the media, politicians have managed to keep some of us sated and out of the real System. Look at football for example. The most popular sport in the world, football was actually endorsed, encouraged, supported and funded by politicians in its early days. Its potential as a mass distraction was obscenely obvious, and our statesmen capitalised on that. Observe how millions of people flock to watch 22 men in shorts exhaust themselves kicking a ball back and forth.
I think it prudent to mention at this point that, despite my arguments, I am a keen footballer, having once played for various football clubs, including a brief sojourn with Arsenal’s Junior Gunners. Fortunately, I am one of the few who can enjoy the sport but also see it for what its real purpose is: a distraction.

There is nigh on nothing useful on television; each year, more and more of these ‘reality’ programmes are produced, rendering people addicted to what the Spaniards rightly call La Caja Tonta (The Stupid Box). Personally, I cannot see what shows such as “The Only Way Is Essex” and “Made in Chelsea” are doing on television. What is so fascinating about cretinous youths indulging in their self-importance and revealing their dirty linen to the public?  Yet, it is precisely these shows that are responsible for keeping the majority of the British population out of the political system. And you were calling it a Democracy? Yes, on paper, technically we live in a democracy but the creed of every politician is: Keep people distracted with worthless television and they will not be able to see that what we are really doing is comparing apples with oranges.
Even the News has lost its seriousness. I am sure you will have noticed how news reporters suffer from the ‘And Now In Other News’ syndrome. Let me explain. You may have a serious news broadcast about, say a double murder following violent rape. The news reporter will manage to wear a sombre countenance throughout the report. Then the facade drops as a big smile dawns on her face and she says, “and now in other news, a dog with pink fur and a glass eye has been the first of its kind to swim 100 meters...” or words to that effect. It’s as though the murders never happened. Even the news has become entertainment.

The existence of the various political parties helps to maintain the illusion that we have the option of electing different some extent. Yes, two Conservative leaders will say more or less the same thing, though years apart. Likewise with two Labour leaders and two Liberal Democrat leaders. They do have differing political ideologies, do not get me wrong there. They do want to obtain power in order to apply their policies. I’m not suggesting that there is a great conspiracy between politicians involving trading power between upper-class chums. What I am saying, nay asking, is why does our political system so resembles a plutocracy? To all intents and purposes, we live in an Elitocracy. Yes, I did just coin that. That seems to capture perfectly our political system. Modern politics is simply a platform on which hedonists attempt to deceive the people.

I realise that my points seem to depict me as an anti-citizen and even, forgive my blasphemy, a communist. No, no, no, dear Lord! Although, the idea of a communist system is very, very good. Equality for all? Great!... Communism will never work though. Here’s why. In every society, there will always be at least one person with ambition. This ambition will cause said person to want to do more than just ‘go with the flow.’ Thus, the ambitious person is the most likely to begin something new, with him/her having a prominent, if not leading, role. A communist system cannot accommodate people with ambition for this reason; it goes against the Communist Grain.

On a final note, my idea of the perfect political system would be one that borrows elements from communism and a Pantisocracy. Then, every year, a vote is held where the citizens put forward the name of the person whom they think is the most influential. This person is then exiled.