The Sham called Democracy
In systems of governance around the world, the people flock to the polls to vote. For what, exactly? Do our representatives fulfil our wishes?
Right or wrong, good or bad, the political system which has taken hold around the world is the one termed "democracy", in which citizens vote for representatives of political parties which express their program in a manifesto, or electoral program. In some countries, the use of the referendum is more widely used, where the citizens vote directly for or against a proposed law; in others, which adopt some forms of proportional representation, citizens vote for a party, which then chooses the representatives for each electoral circle or Constituency, there being no direct accountability between the representative and the voter. In other systems, Government can be formed by a political party or coalition with fewer votes than the "loser".
Whatever the system, it is called Democracy because there is a plurality of political factions and the citizen makes a choice and whatever the system, the citizen expects, on voting day, that at the very least the promises made in the manifesto will be respected. So very often, they are not.
And it is a question of respect. Respect for the promise, respect for the electorate, respect for the job.
While some countries have a better record than others, and any objective observer would register that under Putin's United Russia, the lot of the average Russian ciziten has improved greatly through decades of challenges, the aim here is not to compare countries or to take broadsides at the Democratic System, rather to examine whether the fault lines are fatal. And if so, examine an alternative.
At the very least, every member of the electorate, and those not yet old enough to vote or who are incapacitated to vote in some way, would expect quality healthcare from day one, meaning also affordable dental treatment, an education which prepares them and their children for the workplace and the work-market, affordable housing, a job, a safe environment and a life which is generally carefree as far as job security, housing security, food security and safety on the street are concerned.
Now that is not asking too much, is it? And those who put themselves up for public service, as they call it, being paid a fortune to create the conditions they claim to represent, should be expected to deliver every single day of every year and make sure these basic requirements are met. And kept.
What is the reality? Well speaking broadly and generally, can you tick these boxes with sincerity?
My government provides me with free and excellent healthcare;
My government provides me with affordable dental care;
My government provides me with free and excellent education which tailors my skills for the workplace and work-market;
My government provides me with affordable housing;
My government provides me with a job;
I have housing security, meaning I do not live from month to month wondering whether I will be on the street if I miss a payment;
I have job security, meaning I have a reasonable seven-to-eight-hour timetable with a proper job description so that I know my rights and I leave the office on time, otherwise I am paid overtime for every minute I work over the limit stipulated in the contract;
I have food security, meaning I can afford to feed my family nutritious, safe and interesting meals and I am aware of the effects of the ingredients in the food which I buy;
I feel safe when venturing out at night or during the daytime meaning I do not fear being attacked by marauding gangs of drunks or drug addicts, meaning my railway stations and bus stops are clean, meaning the buildings around me are not vandalized.
Is your government providing these basic rights? If NO, then ask them what the Hell they are doing to justify their pay and after all these years of the wonderful wizzy political model, how the hell do you explain that people feel things are getting worse and that forty years ago things were better?
And if the Government in particular and political class in general are unable to deliver, then they should remember the expression "Can't take the heat? Get out of the kitchen!"
Or let us put it another way. Let us imagine we got our governments/political class to sign a document, stating:
"What we promise in our manifestos is basically bullshit for idiots because let's be honest, the public doesn't know what the hell it is voting for anyway, does it? Ask any man in the street what he thinks of his political party's public finance policy and he won't have a clue what you're talking about. Ask him if for instance he thinks the United Kingdom (for instance) should be spending eighteen point one billion pounds a year on "defence". Ask him whether the USA should be spending 611 billion on "defense", the largest public spending category far outweighting education, and he'll say either you must do whatever it takes to keep us safe (from Saturn, the Moon, Papua New Guinea or Burkina Faso or any ogre we invent to create an external threat where none exists) or else no, I want a better healthcare service.
"Now let's be honest here, a healthcare service costs money to reduce the number of stiffs temporarily, I mean they're going to die anyway, aren't they? And defense means jobs. And money. Why do you think NATO members collectively spend one point two trillion dollars each and every year on defense? Ask the man in the street and he'll say "Well, a fraction of that money would solve all our problems at one single stroke". So the secret is to do politics by stealth and don't ask Jack about shit.
"So basically, if we distributed money evenly, taxed financial transactions one per cent, spent more on education and development, we would have to spend less on defense and then we could provide proper policing instead of cutting costs allowing crime to proliferate, and we would not have to ask the public to pay more and more then ask them to do the job themselves, reporting crimes and looking at a tired, bored, uninterested police woman who turns up on a bicycle twelve hours after the crime, taking notes and saying she does understand, no really.
"The same goes for education, healthcare and everything else. Basically as regards jobs and housing, there is nothing we can do because that is in the private sector and we cannot be expected to regulate it".
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, would at least be an honest answer to a simple question. And the even more honest answer would be, if we look at public finance reports, nobody under the present system can afford to provide the services they pretend to provide, because expenditure under this model by far exceeds income. This is nothing new, it is called sovereign debt and it began centirues ago when countries borrowed money to finance wars.
Now not only countries, but regions, provinces, cities, municipalities, institutions all borrow money because they cannot afford to pay for the costs of the services they claim to provide.
Conclusion: In plain English, the system is shit. I am not now going to repeat the merits of the Social Welfare System practised by countries which adopted this in preference to a social terrorist system. But any system which cannot afford to provide public services is endemically flawed and sooner or later the bubble is going to burst.
Economists spend three or four years at University doing what exactly? Then why have we seen a handful, if that, producing valid ideas since Marx and why have all these ideas, since Marx, led to the collective shithole that governments around the world have created?
Name me ONE government which can provide the basic requirements I set out above. I am speaking of today since 1991, not yesterday because plenty of countries adopted a system which indeed provided these basic needs.
I rest my case.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
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Photo By Cracksinthestreet - My own work, I took the picture myself, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9768372