We live in a world where communication means have never been better. We have the internet, mobile phones, cheap air flights. We live in a society of instant gratification, where you can get all information you want instantly and you need to make no effort to think.
You need not impose any constraints on your thoughts and may believe in whatever rubbish you wish to believe.
The World is full of unpleasantness and you can choose to see only what you want to see.
Communication means have never been better, yet people have never been worse at communicating between each other. You can simply switch on the TV or surf on the internet, so why bother, particularly if this avoids an unpleasant argument?
As a result of this, our western democracies are slowly eroding. Actually, to be fair, a democracy erodes once it has got established. People become quite content with their situation in all circumstances. The difference now is there is less indignation and protest when something is wrong. An injustice or unfairness is more easily accepted than in the past. People are looking more and more like the machines they are using, free of feelings and emotions. Worse than that: their feelings and emotions are finely set and tuned through official channels. There is a loss of all objectivity. People are unable to think for themselves.
This is a pity. How a democracy erodes is through pressure groups. A small minority interest has disproportionate influence. This is called lobbying. Big businesses and the very wealthy will pressurise governments to write rules that suit them. We have seen this recently with tax dodging scandals by large multinationals. Yet, most of these companies have followed the rules, which have been written for them. Wealthy people pay a higher percentage of tax than the less well off, which is fair enough. However, the extremely rich pay a lower percentage. They get themselves called ‘non domiciled residents’. Large multinationals and the very wealthy are finding ways of paying as little tax as possible and getting governments to write rules that suit them. Yet, they are benefiting most from a highly skilled workforce whose education has been paid mostly by other tax payers. If rules are written so people can cheat, people will cheat. It is almost futile complaining about it afterwards.
It is not only multinationals and the very wealthy that are culprits. Lots of people are taking advantage of the NHS and the benefit system often with complete impunity. We live in a help yourself system, without too much consideration on actual needs, which means those really in need are often left out.
At elections, people worry about tax and benefits. They should worry about how their tax is being spent and whether it provides good value for money. They should be concerned about good governance and whether all decisions being made by a government are sound and objective and benefit the country as a whole.
Frankly, the political institutions in this country date back mostly to Victorian times or before. The World has evolved, and there are better ways of making decisions.
We are always jealous of the Germans, but do not realize that their success is largely due to their very efficient political system and government.
We had the possibility of improving our system. In 2011, there was a referendum for alternative vote in the UK. In truth, had the ‘yes’ won, it would have improved decision making in this country, but not made a huge difference. The ‘No’ won by a landslide. The only constituencies in which the ‘yes’ won were in Cambridge, Oxford, several areas of central London (Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth and Southwark), Glasgow Kelvin (central Glasgow) and Edinburgh Central. In other words, that is the more educated and better informed parts of the country. This is conclusive evidence that people are delighted to be manipulated and are unwilling to think for themselves.
In fact, this unwillingness of people to think for themselves extends to even dislike those that do. These are called ‘clever clogs’ and are resented. Were it not for clever people, we would still be living in caves. Were it not for the Japanese, South Koreans, Germans, Chinese and Americans who provide us with all our goods in consumer electronics and cars, we would be living in relative poverty and would certainly have different attitudes towards intelligence. There was a time when that was admired and respected.
But here, I digress. Let us go back to what is good governance.
Some people will say a good government is one that does not procrastinate and that can make quick decisions. For this reason, they are in favour of strong majority governments. I would like to point out that governments that make fast decisions are usually dictatorships like for instance North Korea. Government by consensus and coalitions is actually a more effective form of ruling a country. Decisions may take longer, but better decisions are made. This does not mean fragmented politics as is the case in Italy, where there are so many political parties that an effective coalition is near impossible. Coalitions work well in Germany and many other European countries, which have enjoyed better average GDP growth than the UK over a long period. Germany has been particularly impressive as it has absorbed badly managed, communist East Germany.
People in this country are often against ‘federalism’, without really understanding the meaning of the word. The UK is de facto a crude federation of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is a federation in which no one is happy: the Scots who are talking of independence, the English because Scottish MPs take part in votes that concern laws in England and Wales, while Scotland has its own jurisdiction and parliamentary assembly in which laws inside Scottish are made. Scotland is also over represented at Westminster.
In fact, institutions in this country have been patched up and re-patched up again and again. Would it not be better to start again from scratch, building on everything we know about good governance?
Since 1945 and up until Margaret Thatcher came along, the UK was enjoying lower growth rate than in most other European countries. Then, of course we started receiving very substantial amounts of money from North Sea oil. This gave the illusion that things were back to normal, but they were not. Over 4 million barrels a day makes a difference, a big difference in state budgets. Even making allowance for greater expenses in extracting oil from North Sea than for instance Persian Gulf, it has still helped a lot. For many years, the UK was a net exporter of oil. That has massively helped trade balance.
Now the oil is running out. Even with this oil, the UK had a budget deficit of over 11% of GDP in 2010-2011. It can hardly be said that this country is well administered and governed.
Supposing we started a new political party whose sole aim was to improve decision making and stood for the very best form of governance possible. The decisions would be made on what was good for society as a whole, and did not serve any particular interests.
This is what Rational Democracy is about. Many, many things would need to be changed.
That is a mammoth task. I have put forward suggestions in this website. I have tried my best, but I acknowledge some of it may be rubbish. Accepting one makes mistakes should not be seen as a weakness, but a strength. What we need is a more egalitarian, but also more meritocratic society. Rich or poor, we must work together for a fairer, more just World. We must construct a society in which people feel fulfilled and are reasonably satisfied with themselves. We need a society in which people live within reasonable comfort and in which good work pays. We should aim at turning this country into one which enjoys good GDP growth and has a low unemployment rate, while at the same time protecting as much as possible of our surroundings and the environment.
Rational Democracy is not the third way, but the WAY.
No doubt rational democracy could be construed as subversive. The term ‘subversive’ itself has a really bad name. ‘Subversive’ is seen as a synonym of destructive. Ask people, look up on online dictionaries: everywhere it says it means destructive. Communism or anything that goes against an established order is subversive. Yet, an ideology and thoughts that are subversive are not ones that advocate violence such as planting bombs or killing people. Subversive is more deconstructing and rebuilding. Before you rebuild, you need to demolish. Sometimes it is for the better. Our democracies were initially built by people with subversive ideas. Sometimes it is for the worse, as with communism. Often of course, it ends with violence. I do not and could not advocate violence, and that is not the meaning of the word ‘subversive’. The true meaning of ‘subversive’ I have in my paper dictionary.
Finally, you may wish to join the Rational Democracy party, but please beware it is a very exclusive party, so exclusive that at this time there is only one member.