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Is Democracy Faultering?

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I'm not a believer in anarchy,nor dictatorships, however wonder given recent electoral outcomes in the UK and possibly Australia (who do have preference voting) where hung parliaments have resulted whether or not modern democracy is going the way of "pure" Communism as an outdated mode of governing a country.The old joke is Democracy gives everyone what everyone doesn't want,given recent election results it's proven true...weak government dependent upon huge policy compromises to an equally unpopular party in order to grasp power.If democracy as we know it were to fail what are the alternatives?..China recently became the second largest world economy with their mix of Commi/capitolism,Dubai and Saudi have royal family led business enterprises...non would sit well with Western opinions I feel,that said will the Western world be left behind in the century to come?throughout the ages of civilisation, beliefs,fiscal policies and indeed empires have risen and fallen through a rigid incapacity to change...will the sun set upon democracy this forthcoming century?,has it ran its course?

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I'm not a believer in anarchy,nor dictatorships, however wonder given recent electoral outcomes in the UK and possibly Australia (who do have preference voting) where hung parliaments have resulted whether or not modern democracy is going the way of "pure" Communism as an outdated mode of governing a country.The old joke is Democracy gives everyone what everyone doesn't want,given recent election results it's proven true...weak government dependent upon huge policy compromises to an equally unpopular party in order to grasp power.If democracy as we know it were to fail what are the alternatives?..China recently became the second largest world economy with their mix of Commi/capitolism,Dubai and Saudi have royal family led business enterprises...non would sit well with Western opinions I feel,that said will the Western world be left behind in the century to come?throughout the ages of civilisation, beliefs,fiscal policies and indeed empires have risen and fallen through a rigid incapacity to change...will the sun set upon democracy this forthcoming century?,has it ran its course?

Part of the problem in this country at least, is that since Tony Blair came to office the two main parties have become indivisible from one another. There is this rush to the centre ground, political parties especially those of the left are terrified of getting a bad press, nobody wants to put themselves on the line and state that maybe we could do things differently for fear of being branded loony left or rabid right. So what we end up with is the politics of mediocrity, sound bites and no substance.

The buzz idea of the last few years has been let people decide what kind of society they want, consult them on what they think needs fixing, help them set up things in their own communities etc. Unfortunately the public are often either too busy or only interested in certain facets of their communities, and often just not interested, that leaves a vacuum for people with agendas to step in. For instance, I suspect the David Cameron’s plans to help people who want to set up schools, will be exploited by religious groups, faith schools will no doubt do very well. Fact is, what the people think needs fixing changes on a week to week, month to month basis, and its often influenced by the medias latest fixation. The railways springs to mind, when T. Blair came to office there was no real plan for the rail industry, because the rail network had never really featured in the focus groups that Labour had run before the election. All of a sudden we get a couple of crashes, and people start complaining about overcrowding, delays etc, now the railway situation needs answers, but nobody has them. Never mind consensus politics I want political parties to have a plan that I can either reject or approve.

Years ago many people came into politics because they wanted to change society, because they thought they could change things for the better, as they saw it, or they came to improve the lives of those they considered themselves to represent, working, middle or even upper classes. Now it a career move, grammar or public school, university, Westminster and if they are really lucky and do really well, a part time job in the financial sector paying loads of dosh, when they retire from the commons. No wonder such a large proportion of the electorate are cynical about politics and politicians.

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Part of the problem in this country at least, is that since Tony Blair came to office the two main parties have become indivisible from one another. There is this rush to the centre ground, political parties especially those of the left are terrified of getting a bad press, nobody wants to put themselves on the line and state that maybe we could do things differently for fear of being branded loony left or rabid right. So what we end up with is the politics of mediocrity, sound bites and no substance.

The buzz idea of the last few years has been let people decide what kind of society they want, consult them on what they think needs fixing, help them set up things in their own communities etc. Unfortunately the public are often either too busy or only interested in certain facets of their communities, and often just not interested, that leaves a vacuum for people with agendas to step in. For instance, I suspect the David Cameron’s plans to help people who want to set up schools, will be exploited by religious groups, faith schools will no doubt do very well. Fact is, what the people think needs fixing changes on a week to week, month to month basis, and its often influenced by the medias latest fixation. The railways springs to mind, when T. Blair came to office there was no real plan for the rail industry, because the rail network had never really featured in the focus groups that Labour had run before the election. All of a sudden we get a couple of crashes, and people start complaining about overcrowding, delays etc, now the railway situation needs answers, but nobody has them. Never mind consensus politics I want political parties to have a plan that I can either reject or approve.

Years ago many people came into politics because they wanted to change society, because they thought they could change things for the better, as they saw it, or they came to improve the lives of those they considered themselves to represent, working, middle or even upper classes. Now it a career move, grammar or public school, university, Westminster and if they are really lucky and do really well, a part time job in the financial sector paying loads of dosh, when they retire from the commons. No wonder such a large proportion of the electorate are cynical about politics and politicians.

Alternatively, I believe that Democracy has become an advertising brand name. A politician is akin to an extra in a large advertising campaign. The advertising is designed to give as many as possible a perceivable, desirable product. There are a few different 'products' but essentially they are the same, we pay for them with the currency of power and in return they provide us with a sense of being in control of our society. The recent Australian elections are an example of this. An early debate between the two main party leaders displayed a marked preference by women for Julia Gillard and a marked preference by men for the Liberal (conservative party for UK readers) leader Tony Abbot. The following day television broadcasts depicted Tony Abbot surrounded by women and introducing childcare policies and Julia Gillard surrounded by men introducing business policies. Sexist? Yes, but effective as it worked and there was a marked turn around in gender opinions. The advertising campaign had been tweaked to entice the public to buy the brand. Political parties now hire professionals to advise them on dress, hair, make up, mannerisms and speech, all with the aim of enticing the public to buy (vote for) their product. Policies are produced to further entice the public and distract from the unhealthier aspects of other policies that will be introduced. Fanfare for tax cuts, a whisper for welfare cuts. McDonalds do this everyday with their advertising that promotes 'fun' burgers but only on their packaging do they reveal the unhealthy content of what you are about to eat, and this is done in miniscule text.

Are we fools for not looking past the advertising? Yes, we allow our television culture of instant gratification to determine not only our spending habits and buying preferences but now we also allow it to determine our society. I find this alarmingly aligned with Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, how long before we all retreat to our soma?

"Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too-all his life long. The mind that judges and desire and decides-made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions... Suggestions from the State."

- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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