So you think you live in a democracy. You don’t. You think you get to choose the person who represents you in your government. You don’t. Here’s the reasons why.
you don’t choose, you vote
Your choice of the eventually elected person was from a bunch of candidates that were preselected for you – by somebody else. So, in reality, you don’t get to choose from the candidates, you get to vote for one of the pre-chosen. Ah, you say, but I voted for an independent. Okay, so well you might have, but did he win? How many successful independents are currently serving in your parliamentary body today? Very few. So let’s deal with the distraction of independent candidates.
so-called political independents
Like lottery winners, they do exist. They have a common trait, both are almost as rare as pink unicorns with three legs. In any partisan government, they’re more often than not an interesting oddity. Only in the times of a hung parliament do they occasionally feature. And even then, they are bought and sold for favours and allegiance to others. Hung parliaments make for very strange bedfellows and fidelity is never the name of the game.
we’re having a party
To be elected to any national governing body costs time, effort and a lot of backing – not to mention money for promotion on the pre-election campaign. This is why groups of potential politicians get together to form political parties. Those of similar views can then pool resources, infrastructure and affiliates. Unfortunately, they also have to share common policies as well.
And these views are more often than not thrust upon them by their party machine. Candidates for any party have to be ‘selected’ by their local party committee who adhere very closely to the requirements of central party headquarters. If you don’t strongly uphold the views and policies of the party you don’t get selected. And if you don’t get selected it’s unlikely you’ll get elected – as an independent. Back to three-legged unicorns again.
bring out the whips
Regretfully, it gets worse. A party candidate with severely blinkered views gets elected to a parliamentary seat. When he takes that seat in hallowed halls of parliament he meets some guys called the party whips. Their job is to keep their party members on the ‘straight and narrow’ path of party policy. Who dictates that policy? Certainly not the new boys just elected.
Oh no, that pleasure is reserved for the party leader and his mates. This small cabal of battle-hardened politicians sold their souls for power and profit many moons ago. They lay out the way it’s going to be, and all the other party members are there to make up the numbers when it comes to a vote.
how to join the club
Oh sure, you can get your views listened to but be sure such a high favour will require a quid pro quo in the not too distant future. Mutual back-scratching is the name of the game. So how does a newly elected member get up the slippery ladder of influence in order to get a shout on these lofty levels? By years of faithful service to the party, of course. Following the party line, supporting the whips, favours and obsequious obedience to those running the party. That way you not only get promoted, your local party committee keeps selecting you, and you keep getting elected.
Simple! That’s the way it works. But where are the views, needs and representation of the voters in all this? The guy they got to vote for was pre-selected for them. When he got elected he had to vote as he was told and before he ever got to follow his own ideas and principles he had been fully converted into a professional politician serving his own ends.
now try and deny it
Go on, tell me it’s not true. So much for your democracy. Do stop fooling yourself – you know it’s a put-up job. Voting every four or five years does not make you safe and secure in your soft, seductive nest of western democracy. It’s a scam. Do nothing and it will go on for another century or so. Never was it more true, than today – a democracy always gets the government it deserves. Do little and you get little in return. Don’t pay attention to what goes on and you’ll get little attention to your own needs.
two steps to utopia
It can be improved. It can be made fair and representative. The first big step would be to take money out of the election equation closely followed by taking it out of lobbying post-election. Just those two would make an enormous difference.