UK Democracy – The Bludgeoning of the People by the People for the People.
Oscar Wilde once said – “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people”. How right he was.
But Aristotle said – “In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme”. How right we wish he was, but clearly wasn’t.
A new poll in the UK shows its democracy is faltering to deliver since as many as two-thirds of Britons believe they have barely any or no power at all over government laws, taxes and spending.
According to the ‘People and Power’ survey published by The Independent on Sunday, most citizens feel they have too little say in a country that is too centralized. They think the UK voting system is unfair, its House of Lords is undemocratic and people struggle to see the benefits of Britain’s membership in the European Union.
The “People and Power” survey carried out this month by Opinium finds that two-thirds of people (67 percent) feel they have hardly any influence or no influence at all over decisions on laws, taxes, public spending and planning.
In addition, the survey shows the scale of people’s disillusionment with the voting system after the general election, in which the Conservatives won a majority in the House of Commons on just 37 per cent of the UK vote.
Public confidence in MPs fell steeply after 2008, research by the UK’s standards watchdog has suggested. The percentage of people in England who think MPs are dedicated to working well for the public plummeted to a quarter.. The Committee on Standards in Public Life said its survey indicated concerns “with self-serving behaviour” by MPs overshadowed other issues.
Only 13% of people trust politicians to tell the truth, while 82% think they do not tell the truth. It doesn’t get any better – as Government ministers fared just as badly. So much to all three party leaders’ determination (so they said) to restore public faith in Westminster’s elected representatives.
There were several key factors that politicians failed to understand in their general demise; honesty, integrity and morality. Today’s politicians seem bereft of such qualities and characteristics that voters annoyingly feel are generally quite important.
The February 15, 2003 anti-war protest was a coordinated day of protests across the world in which people in more than 600 cities expressed opposition to the imminent Iraq War. It was part of a series of protests and political events that had begun in 2002 and continued as the war took place. Social movement researchers have described the 15 February protest as “the largest protest event in human history.
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According to BBC News, between six and eleven million people took part in protests in up to sixty countries over the weekend of the 15th and 16th; other estimates range from eight million to thirty million. In Britain, the Stop the War Coalition held a protest in London which it claimed was the largest political demonstration in the city’s history. The BBC estimated that around a million attended. At the finish rally in Hyde Park, the organisers announced 3 million attended. It remains the largest protest march in UK history. But our political leaders and media barons supported military action that led to an unabated bloodbath.
Six years later the MP’s expenses scandal erupted. There were many failed attempts by parliament to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information legislation. The scandal aroused widespread anger among the UK public against MPs and a huge loss of confidence in politics. It resulted in a few resignations, sackings, de-selections and retirement announcements, together with public apologies and the repayment of expenses. Nearly 60% were caught red-handed, less than half of one percent were prosecuted.
This episode all ending in what was then termed “The Rotten Parliament”.
Despite this historical event in British politics it did not stop politicians continuing with their criminal thieving. Just last year, MPs were still under fire over their expenses after it emerged they claimed more last year than at the peak of the expenses scandal, while a quarter employed family members with public money.
Public anger turned to frustration and disbelief when the coalition was elected (or not, depending on your view) and manifestos turned into booklets of fiction and fantasy. There were nearly fifty complete U-Turns on promises and pledges made to the public. From Dissolution of Parliament rules, rape anonymity, the Military Covenant, selling forests, secret courts and caravan tax to pasty taxes.
Before the 2010 general election David Cameron promised “no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS”, then within months of coming to power his Health secretary Andrew Lansley launched the biggest top-down reorganisation in the history of the NHS (the Health and Social Care Act). Cameron also made the pre-election promise that the Tories would “cut the deficit, not the NHS”, before launching £20 billion worth of NHS cuts.
In 2011 the former Tory leadership candidate Michael Portillo admitted that David Cameron and the Tories had lied to the public about their intentions towards the NHS before the 2010 General Election: “They did not believe they could win an election if they told you what they were going to do because people are so wedded to the NHS.”
As if to rub salt into public confidence wounds, two years ago the Prime Minister lied again. In August 2013, MPs rejected possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. They did so because of public opinion. David Cameron said he would respect the defeat of a government motion by 285-272, ruling out joining US-led strikes. After all, this is the will of the people and how democracy works. Right? Wrong again.
Revealed only following a Freedom of Information request by the pressure group Reprieve, it emerged that David Cameron had authorised British pilots to carry our air strikes in Syria a year earlier. The PM failed to reveal this to the Commons despite MPs voting specifically against the UK taking part in military missions in the country.
Last month, Global Research headlined an article “British SAS Special Forces “Dressed Up as ISIS Rebels” Fighting Assad in Syria“. Here we learn that “the elite regiment are currently in the war-torn country covertly dressed in black and flying ISIS flags,” engaged in what’s called Operation Shader – attacking Syrian targets on the pretext of combatting ISIS”. This should be a point of public outrage. One needs to read that again -British troops were “dressed in black and flying ISIS flags attacking Syrian targets”.
If you or I were to lie in court it would be illegal and jail could be our next accommodation if prosecuted for perjury. MP’s, including the Prime Minister enjoy full immunity for lying, being in contempt of court, breaching the official Secrets Act, using slanderous or libellous statements as they enjoy what is known as Parliamentary Privilege.
Of course, there is another assault on British democracy that has really rattled the public more recently. This time it is leaked documents published by the BBC showing that our NHS hasn’t been taken out of TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership. Unless our health services are fully excluded from TTIP there will be further privatisation of our health services as US corporations try to profit from our NHS. We have no say in this historic demise of our rights.
There is nothing more shady that causes heightened suspicion, doubt and lack of confidence in politicians than this double-dealing exercise in gross profiteering by the asset stripping of public services. Anyone who has read anything at all about TTIP will have grave doubts about this secretive Tory plan to deconstruct democracy in favour of vested corporate interests.
Lastly, the general public is now becoming more wary of a government that was caught stealing their emails, listening into phone calls, taking images of their families, tracking online activity, collating financial, employment and relationship details to name but just a few. All of which have been found to be illegal not just by our own courts but the EU as well.
Amazingly, we, the general public actually voted (albeit only 37% did) for these people to bludgeon us with their failed ideology and then use public money and government departments to bludgeon us even more when we say enough is enough.
Just to summarise. The British public do not trust their politicians or lawmakers because they feel the voting system is unfair and undemocratic and have no real say in their own country. They feel that democracy is now a cesspool of lying, cheating charlatans who steal money from the public purse, whilst lining their own pockets to asset strip goods in public ownership and dragging us into illegal wars, whilst deploying British troops in ‘false flag’ operations dressed as terrorists and all that might actually be wrong, corrupt and immoral. In the meantime, the government is illegally spying on you because they don’t trust you.
As Mark Twain said “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it” and it rings so true in today’s so-called ‘democracy’.
Graham Vanbergen for TruePublica