Sunday 4 August 2013

Democracy Is For The Birds

It appears that to the Foreign Office, our Secretary of State for Foreign Affaires, along with others, that the elections in Zimbabwe do not meet with their approval.  There have been things going on which we think are wrong and are demanding should be corrected.

Apart from the fact that in the second decade of the 21st Century, the relevance of the UK to the internal affairs of Zimbabwe is about as much as that of the ancient Dukes of Burgundy, there is also the slight world influence technical problem that China is now installed.

The Chinese do not need Governors or High Commissioners, District Commissioners and Magistrates and all that.  All they need is good hard money and a few men to make the arrangements in mining the primary resources available for trade and investment.

Who gets their cut in Zimbabwe and how they maintain their authority are secondary considerations.  If these people like to make sure they stay in power then they are at one with most of the regimes in the world today.  As are the way they move their money around.  Much of it through the City of London.

Apart from this hypocrisy there are some minor weaknesses in the fulminations of William Hague.  One is that we have a Head of State chosen by genealogy and succession as opposed to election.  Our present Queen may well have a runaway victory over Harriet Harman in any poll and even Prince Charles over Michael Gove but the succession is not democratic.

Then there is the House of Lords.  This is largely chosen by appointment by the three major parties.  If you are "in" with them and meet their not too demanding requirements, be and stay one of us, then you might get lucky with the expenses and working conditions.  

Such requirements as they are seem to be limited often to the immediate financial needs of the party concerned or to the particular needs of political influence that are more paramount in their minds at that moment in time.  This is far from being a democratic process and the House of Lords is not a representative body.  They are alleged to be expert or what in only Zeus knows.

Then there is the House of Commons.  The common people in common trades are largely absent from  this body which is restricted now to intakes from a limited occupational base in the Law and media, certain educational establishments and from an even more limited political class.  Quite how this works is confidential, mum's the word in more ways than one.

Over recent decades the electoral system has become progressively more distorted.  So our votes are not equal.  Live in one place and your vote value can be two to three more than in another.  Not only that but the old constituency basis no longer matches up with voter patterns.  Then there is how the actual candidates are selected.

This is all becoming further and further removed from any real definition of what democracy is and might be.  It is almost becoming a lottery and with a declining voter participation in any case.  The voters are losing interest.  Moreover the actual membership of parties has declined substantially.  They are no longer representative of their wider community.  This impacts badly on local government as well.

An election campaign as a result is effort directly largely at minority interests in certain areas and targeted at persuading minor and unrepresentative groupings to win the few marginal constituencies. 

To this end, the Conservatives have recruited Lynton Crosby, a media hit man with a record of success in politics.  To work with him they had added Jim Messina, who assisted President Obama to swing the votes in the USA. 

They will be concerned with winning and not with the wider philosophy of the nature of representative government.

All the Prime Minister, David Cameron, needs now is a little technical help from one of President Mugabe's aides in Zimbabwe.

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