Archives for posts with tag: participative democracy

meerkata

In an interview on BBC news on 12th June, Conservative MP Alan Mak dribbled out a tawdry series of platitudes and nonsense, including, “Well our job is to make sure that we form a strong and stable government…” At which point he was interrupted by the interviewer, “Are you really still saying strong and stable?” Mak replied, “Our job is to provide certainty,” at which the interviewer laughed, saying, “I am sorry to laugh but we’re in a country where if you talked to anybody at the weekend, people are quite worried. Three words you would not have heard were, strong, stable and certainty. Those three things that we don’t have.”

I’ll leave it there, the link’s below, but Mak continued for several minutes, never once going off message that wouldn’t have even passed the Turing test (for whether a human being would be able to identify an artificial intelligence in a conversation).

Across the nation it seems a sea change is occurring. The right wing media, and much of the middle and left, and, of course, television presenters, see themselves as makers of news, controlling the dialogue, talking heads to a supine nation soaking up the received ‘wisdom’ relentlessly thrown at them by ‘those who know best’ or who are paid to shape the minds of the masses, and this is no longer ok and nor will it be tolerated. It is not ok for politicians to sit and spout gobbledygook. It is not ok for the media to spin lies and distortions and spread hate and division, and nor is it ok that media moguls get away with subverting democracy for their own self serving ends and gain.

It would be easy to put all this at the door of Jeremy Corbyn who has been so successful at energising voters across the nation, encouraging people to engage and get involved. Although he clearly has done this, he’s a plain speaking, straight talking man, emerging like a breath of fresh air in a political arena that is full of smog. But he has not done it alone. Preceding him has been the rise of social media in all its many forms and a determined and growing number of bloggers, vloggers, citizen journalists, independent media sites, entirely independent of corporate money, determined by self motivated dedication, willing to meet their own costs, helped by donations as people see fit, to speak plainly about issues relevant to ordinary people – the great ignored.

In short, what’s happened is democracy. We all know the word, but how many people know what it means? The most commonly held idea of democracy is a system of government of the people, elected by the people. It’s called representative democracy. We go and vote every few years, based on very little understanding of what the different parties are all about apart from what we’re told by the media and whatever bits and pieces are posted through our doors, and then go home, have a nice cup of tea and get on with our lives, till the next time we’re inconvenienced to go and put another X in a box at a polling station. This has quietly been largely accepted for generations, and those in power expect us to go back to sleep and not bother our little heads about them as they go about governing the country and our lives.

But there is another democracy which has traditionally been understood and exercised by a vocal and active few, painted as suspicious and dangerous by both the media and government as neither respectable nor respectful of the status quo. The most obvious example of this participative democracy is workers Unions. You know, those united workers who mess up our lives by making unreasonable demands for better pay and working conditions and don’t care how much they inconvenience the rest of us by having the temerity to go on strike when their demands are either ignored or outright refused. Yes the bloody unions, without whom we’d have no weekends, no paid holidays, no restriction on working hours, no employment laws, no retirement age, no maternity leave, no minimum wage and no restrictions on child labour. Yes, them with their gold plated pensions and earning more than all the rest of us, the bastards, or so the media would have it. I cannot count the number of times I have heard ordinary working people curse the unions. I even got a ten minute lecture from a furious woman at a printers who printed a ‘Save our NHS’ leaflet for me who was clearly triggered into an anti union rant by the democratic activist nature of the leaflet, a lecture which almost word for word came off the pages of the Daily Express (owned by tax avoiding billionaire pornographer Richard Desmond who thinks people are mostly stupid).

All might have been well and the nation might have just got on with business as usual if David Cameron and his coalition government hadn’t got into ‘power’, in the very worst possible sense, in 2010. He quite blithely set about taking the nation apart, selling off everything that stood still for longer than ten minutes and destroying the welfare state and the NHS and the lives of ordinary people and lying about it every inch of the way. The right wing billionaire owned media got right on board sewing division and setting ordinary people against each other and immigrants (swarms and cockroaches) in particular. Ah, those heady days of poverty porn and Iain Duncan Smith killing off disabled people. It seems like a long time ago now, since when they decided they could happily get on with destroying public services, attacking junior doctors, teachers, social care, pensioners, young people, job security, ruin the economy with their great austerity lie, and pour riches into the hands of corporations and the already exceedingly wealthy.

It was slow, but steadily more and more people began to take notice, more and more people were reporting what was really going on, and then Brexit happened. Cameron lost his silly game and reckless gamble and pissed off, and Theresa May took over with a working majority in government. The NHS was driven into crisis by Jeremy Hunt, children were starving, disabled people lost their support, people were sanctioned to death, too many and too much to be ignored any longer.

Then, out of nowhere, to the immeasurable dismay of everyone on the accustomed gravy train of power, came the rise and rise of one Jeremy Corbyn. For ordinary people, a breath of fresh air, to the those who enjoyed all the trappings of wealth and power, horror personified. Jeremy Corbyn who said let’s have a fair and more equal society, let’s do something about these Tories and greed and corruption, Jeremy Corbyn who said let’s build houses for people, let’s feed our children, let’s save our NHS, let’s have social justice and a people’s democracy. Jeremy Corbyn who said, ‘Get involved’.

Those in power didn’t know what had hit them, they had no idea what to do, least of all Prime Minister Theresa May and her party of the privileged. The entire corporate media, including the BBC, like surprised Meerkats, did a collective, “What the fuck!”

It is a measure of how completely taken by surprise and clueless all those with power and influence are to anything remotely resembling a people’s democratic movement, that Theresa May decided, in an act of madness and desperation, in order to secure her position and get shot of the Corbyn threat once and for all, to call a snap election.

She took on the people, with all the power and influence of a vengeful corporate media behind her, and lost, she lost her majority, she lost her mandate and she lost every ounce of credibility. And what is amazing, truly and wonderfully amazing, is that neither she, nor the media nor all the talking heads and so called experts have a single clue what to do or how to get the people to get back in the box of supine political ignorance where they belong and just to do as they are told.

Those who see themselves as the masters of the universe don’t like it, they are utterly lost and clueless and I can’t stop smiling. It is a thing of beauty to behold. Do, let’s, keep it up, for all our sakes.

KOG. 14 June 2017

http://www.fleetstreetfox.com/2011/11/what-have-unions-ever-done-for-us.html

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jun/19/richard-desmond-interview-hate-to-admit-never-hit-anyone

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2000/dec/24/pressandpublishing.dailyexpress

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-33716501

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/apr/24/katie-hopkins-cockroach-migrants-denounced-united-nations-human-rights-commissioner

Advertisements