A report by the Hansard Society, the UK’s leading source of independent research and advice on Parliament and parliamentary affairs, should give everyone pause.

Interviews conducted with a representative sample of 1000 British citizens found 63% agreed that “Britain’s system of government is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful” and in response to the statement “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules”, 54% agreed and just 23% said no.

Only 25% of the public had any confidence in MPs’ handling of Brexit,  (see my post ‘Let’s Discuss Nationalism’) Fifty-six per cent of respondents said they believed Britain was in decline, while  47% felt they had no influence at all over the national direction.   The public feels strongly that the system of governing favours the rich and powerful and that political parties don’t care about the average person.

People are not confident that politicians act in the public interest.

When, in 2016, it was suggested a referendum concerning severance from the EU should be held, 77% of the population surveyed were in favour.  The current figure in favour of referenda has slumped to 55%.

Although many have chosen to do so, it is unfair to blame the Brexit issue for ‘breaking Democracy’ when all it has really done is shine a spotlight upon flaws that were already there.  Democracy, inasmuch as it is a recipe for governing which ‘carries out the will of the majority while having regard for the needs of the minority’ probably never existed at all.  Our much-vaunted ‘world’s oldest democracy’ was a sham from the start – Members of Parliament only started receiving an income for their services in 1912.  Prior to that, right back to 1721, the time of Sir Robert Walpole, only those of significant means could afford the honour of representing a constituency, being bought and paid for by the local landowners.

Twentieth and twenty-first century political history has no place here, although I am happy to trade blows with anyone who would vie with my observation that the Conservative and Unionist Party, or a close imitation of it, holds and has held the Golden Ticket in the UK for the best part of the last hundred years, at least.  That is too long – at least, that is too long.

Does the freedom of information the internet provides spell the death of Democracy?  The lies no longer convince – the truth is harder to hide.  Understandably, there are many who will see the proposition “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules” supported by 54% of a representative sample as dangerous. They will hold up the spectre of intervention by right-wing extremists, Marxists, anarchists, and any other ‘ists’ you care to name.  They will warn of the breakdown of law and order – little realising, perhaps, that it is their law and order, no longer the law of the people.

A strong ruler.  Maybe it is time; maybe Democracy has failed to withstand the test of truth, and maybe even dictatorship is better?  Does Churchill’s quote ‘Democracy seems a very bad system until you examine the alternatives’ hold good in 2019?  Personally, I cannot see myself casting another vote until radical changes have been made.  We are already stabbing each other in the streets; if we take no action now, when does the shooting start?

9 Comments

  1. Speaking from the other side of the pond here, a desire to “have a politician who will break the rules” is how we got Trump. These feel like truly shaky times, my friend.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The world is full of frightened people desperately trying to preserve a status quo that is crumbling around them. All I’m trying to say is eventually the bottle will be shaken — it would be wise to be in a position to control the process.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘Shaking the bottle’ is a great ‘Fred’ term. I feel we need a clearer idea on what we actually need, because as our friend from over The Pond pointed out; change for change sake, without a clear idea, has caused a lot of trouble over there too. Hugs my buddy, as always. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think there is an idea, Jane – there is – and can be – only an increasingly Bruegel-esque brew of our surroundings until some defining force steps in to sort it out. That requires power to override some who will inevitably feel persecuted thereby, but we have not evolved beyond a stage where some must win and some lose. My contention is that ‘Democracy’ can no longer produce that power. The majority no longer has worth. And hugs back, of course xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Does the freedom of information the internet provides spell the death of Democracy? The lies no longer convince – the truth is harder to hide. ”

    Aren’t we seeing the opposite? That everything appears to be true on the internet (to those who aren’t careful enough to investigate for themselves) and thus it is easier to lie? That is certainly what is happening in the US.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel there will always be those ready to believe everything they see – the foot-soldiers of honesty, shall we say? But the world must seem very confusing to those who do not question everything; ergo, everything is a lie, and every proof can be disproved. The net result, I fear, seems to be an intellectualised version of a very primitive mechanism: if you lose the vote, refuse to accept the decision, claim the voters were deluded, the ballot was rigged, and do everything you can to obstruct the outcome. In the best traditions of ‘democracy’ as practised in an African republic, the next step should involve genocide. Is that not dangerous for us all?
      nb. I’m not firing arrows at any particular democracy outside my own. The EU issue is the context here, but it applies almost universally, I would say…

      Liked by 1 person

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