The Nature of Modern Democracy
The concept of political power crystalised as a left/right divide is in its death throws. UK Political Parties constantly confirm this by this by the politicians’ constant playground squabbles over the political “centre- ground”. Beppe Grillo’s recent success in the Italian elections also suggests that perhaps electors are looking for something concerned more with themselves rather than belonging to one of the “ancient” political herds.
In the UK, the search for a distinction between the two main parties, has returned us to the Class War which we all thought had burned itself out in Margaret Thatcher’s and John Major’s day. It certainly wasn’t apparent during Tony Blair’s tenure at No 10 Downing Street.
In the current “model”, it is usual for two major political herds to constantly battle whilst the smaller factions watch with puny impotence.
So where do the “little ones” glean their support? In the UK, smaller parties such as the Liberal Democrats can do no more than feed off the scraps of those at either end of the rapidly- shrinking political spectrum.
The Left- Right nonsense continues to have ‘legs’ primarily as a result of the efforts of the media ‘opinion-formers’ . Their prejudices and fixed views ensure that the Class War continues to simmer.
Instead of a contrast between the Working Classes and the Upper Classes, the modern argument is between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ – which nowadays is a subtly different distinction. Nowadays you cannot really spot a ‘have not’ because they may be wearing the uniform and displaying the behaviour of a ‘have’.
We need to find a new set of values……and quickly!
Let’s forget flat-caps, whippets, bowler hats and black rolled umbrellas but at the same time, let’s accept that there are several components which we would ALL like to be included in our new thinking.
Our current political ‘values’ have their roots in past tradition.
We need political values to be in accordance with the one thing which tends to be the MAJOR STUMBLING BLOCK in any political system.
HUMAN NATURE ……married to our basic instinct – not of ‘Community’ but of selfishness. We do it for OURSELVES and NOT our neighbours. That’s why Communism failed.
These are three components which are non- negotiable:
1. FREEDOM 2.SOCIAL JUSTICE 3. EGALITARIANISM.
These basic components do NOT need to be overlaid by a PARTY POLITICAL system because these are ABSOLUTES.
In order to achieve the three components above we need to include an element of both Personal and National WEALTH CREATION.
We therefore also need to promote the dynamic of the BUSINESS ETHOS.
Unfortunately, the word ‘BUSINESS’ has become a bit of an emotive topic BECAUSE of the old (present) LEFT- RIGHT Political system and Feudal thinking.
Business is all about trade, vocation, craft, employment, industry, enterprise, commerce, bank transaction, negotiation, merchandising, making and most important of all – work and employment.
Unfortunately, because of the L-R divide, business has come to mean bosses, workers, management, greed, oppression and profit.
We need to generate a pretty major adjustment in perception and from that, a new ideology.
Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Democracy etc are not concepts which have been around for ever. However, they do appear to be running out of steam.
Currently we assume that these labels are the only ones which work or have worked. Unfortunately, human experience tells us otherwise.
Imagine existing Political Parties in say 100 years time. They will still be confronting each other in that theatrical way we have come to love. Left and Right hacks will still be stoking the fires of discontent because that’s their job. The Left- wingers will continue to highlight the Politics of envy whilst the Right will continue to be disrespectful to everyone.
Here in the UK, we have a change of administration every 5 years but all that happens is that The Elected Ones merely continue the ‘blame game’ and the playground bickering.
There are visionless “little” people who ALL suffer from politically-induced Tunnel-Myopia. In the grand scheme of things, they are insignificant.
Meanwhile, whilst the puny jousts and rhetoric continue, the interests of the ordinary voter are sacrificed on the twin altars of blind political and corporate interest.
As the politicians become more and more irrelevant to the irreversible arrow of ‘progress’, democracy is being diminished daily.
Unfortunately the politicians’ self- serving vanity and an over- developed sense of belonging (to a Party) continues to cloud their already flaky judgement.
New thinking is needed. It needs a new METHODOLOGY – one based on expertise plus knowledge and NOT in the combative ‘here today- gone tomorrow’ nonsense of partisan politics.
Rhetoric must give way to implementation of scientifically and rationally-derived policies which are untainted by political dogma.
It is most definitely NOT about economics. Economics, as the main divider of political thinking does not, for instance, have anything to say about human nature or morality or human values – which are the factors which destroy every Economic Theory.
The mathematical formulae and conjectures of the economists are no longer enough.
We do need Capitalism. We need a form of Welfare Capitalism but we need it with a healthy dose of Sociology and Anthropology but with its roots embedded firmly in pragmatism rather than the economics-derived abstract thought and conjecture.
The New Thinking needs to start now- especially since five years ago, when capitalism was effectively destroyed by the Rentier Capitalism Kleptocracy of the United States – which is now becoming increasingly apparent in Europe. Spain is the last economy to fall to Rentier Capitalism.
What we considered to be a benign form of Capitalism has been infected by its malign cousin and currently no-one has a cure. The cause remains while politicians and bankers continue to attempt to cure some of the symptoms with what appears to be the wrong medicine in ever-increasing volumes. For example, the latest craze of Quantitative Earning.
Quack economic cures will soon have to give way to nothing less than major surgery, followed by a totally uncompromising cure.
An example of the “compromises” which highlight the schizophrenia of the current Party-based political and economic system is clearly demonstrated by the double-think of Thatcherism.
The Thatcher years are remembered for two apparently opposing concepts: The dismantling of many State controls running alongside increased State control.
Nationalised organisations were privatised, thus removing them from State control. State aid was removed from dying industries. Prices and incomes as well as Financial Services Regulation were no longer State controlled and many State organisations were encouraged (forced) to ‘contract out’ many of their functions to the Private Sector, (NHS, Education etc).
At the same time State control was tightened in other areas. Education and Local Government became more centrally controlled, as did the Police. State power was used to control the Unions and State power was used to prevent price- fixing in private industry and commerce.
This sort of Political Schizophrenia continues to this day and clearly demonstrates a lack of ideological coherence.
In fact, it also highlights the traditional view of the two main parties. The intellectual social dogmatism of Labour versus the Conservative avoidance of any real systematic political theory.
Hence the Conservatives’ preference of viewing themselves as the ‘party of common sense’- a phrase one often hears from its leadership.
‘Freedom’ is another often-quoted concept. But is it a REAL concept or maybe just empty rhetoric?
America is (some may argue) the MOST Capitalistic country in the world. It has awarded itself the sobriquet ‘The land of the free’. In fact, there is little understanding of the word.
People do NOT feel ‘free’ because they are told that they are free.
Therefore any new political theory need to examine questions of Social Ethics as well as peoples’ psychological needs.
TRUE democracy HAS to be DIRECT. Modern democracy has dissipated the individuals voice in favour of its citizens handing their voice to someone they may or may NOT have elected.
The Eurozone Crisis has clearly demonstrated that you can have too much Democracy – especially if it generates intransigence because Left and Right views plus upcoming Elections cloud economic judgment.
The changes we need are NOT economic – they need to be a root and branch rethink of the Nature of Democracy and what really underpins it.