Breaking Democracy

Sunday, 18th March 2007 at 9:00 UTC Leave a comment

With anything you don’t like, there’s always two options: the overt destruction or the tweak-it-till-it-breaks method. Whereas anyone to overthrow democracy with a gun, say, might represent the former for democracy, Blair seems to be managing something towards a decent attempt at the latter. I once wrote a piece where I claimed that entities such as the EU, NATO and World Trade Organisation were the cause of this failure of democracy. Now I think the method is much simpler.

On Wednesday night, Parliament committed Britain, and arguably the whole world with us, to a Nuclear future. Actually, his decision commits us to building and storing weapons on behalf of America, but I shan’t get into the nitty-gritty of that one. What I’m worried about is more simply the method of extracting the desired result from parliament.

Stage 0: Before you even go about destroying democracy, remember not to go for democracy itself, and instead, to go for other issues. Try and look like you support democracy, but at the same time, find issues where you can set precedents to end it.

Stage 1: Give an issue as little time as possible in Parliament. Make it feel like a formality, like normalcy, to hold and continue to hold weapons of mass destruction. Don’t allow people time to think, because thinking of dangerous. Its the driving force of the system you wish to destroy.

Stage 2: Send clear messages to the media that the issue is a non-issue. So little time was given on the issue that the press were hardly given a chance to consider the issue. Both in the house and in the media, the replacement of Trident has been played down and buried. No matter what anti-nuclear campaigners have tried, none of it was allowed to work. Even if Faslane 365 had managed 100 arrests a day, or held the gates of Faslane closed for the last 100+ days, the message from the government was clear: its a non-issue, go away and report something else.

Stage 3: Make it clear that the future of your party depends on getting the vote through. Don’t let MPs even begin to question whether or not the party will ever achieve anything worth sticking around for. Obviously the opposition will destroy the NHS, regardless of whether or not your party will as well.

Stage 4: Congratulate your drones for their principles, and remind them that their talk is valuable (but their votes even more so). Terry Rooney MP is a wonderful example from Bradford. He tells everyone that replacing Trident would be a terrible thing to do, and then votes in favour of replacing it. Principles are for speaking, the party demands you vote correctly.

Stage 5: Don’t do anything to ensure further press coverage or debate. Imply that this is a done deal which people no longer need to worry about. Lid on, file closed, all over. Never mind the fact Parliament still hasn’t allotted public money to the project.

And so, there you have it, a method for continuously eroding democracy. There was a time when parties simply brought those of a similar predisposition together. Now they are becoming the machinations by which the status quo is venerated. Its unclear who is actually in charge: the leadership or The Party? Like The Corporation, as described by Joel Bakan in his book of the same name, The Party is not so much evil, as an overriding of all humanitarian thinking. Its success is down to its ability to alter human reactions away from human-orientated reason and emotion, upon which democracy is supposed to thrive, towards a desire to serve a being.

Its not Blair these people are serving, for Blair himself is also forced to worship at the altar of the party. What’s more, its not even a case of Labour versus Tory: all parties are quickly being consumed into this mess that perpetuates itself. I’m almost left wondering whether the Tory decision to back Blair several times recently isn’t a sign that they are scarred of destroying the established party situation of the moment.

So I guess what we have to conclude is that methods of democracy which draw the focus away from groups of people, and back to the individual; away from the spotlight of ‘big’ politics and onto smaller ways of doing things; such methods of democracy are now the best way forwards.

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Entry filed under: democracy, Participation, Peace, Politics.

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