Democratic events such as elections and referendums turn the people into a disparate mob of isolated individuals, variously dogmatic, detached, angry, alienated, deceived, deluded, antagonistic and apathetic. All manipulated. Few aware. If the people ever learned how to use democratic events to take collective action, there would be no more democratic events.
Our first priority
One can hardly argue against the kind of improvements to our existing democratic institutions and processes suggested by Joanna Cherry. However, we should acknowledge the potential difficulty this presents in the fight to restore Scotland's independence. "Use the powers you have!" is a well-worn line used by Unionists. On the face of it, Ms Cherry … Continue reading Our first priority
The limits of oppression
One of democracy's imperfections is its fragility combined with its appearance of robustness and resilience. Those whose direct personal experience is confined to a broadly democratic society do not easily imagine anything other. The corollary being a tendency to take democracy for granted. If only they realised how tenuous is our grip on the freedoms we assume to be ours by dint of nature, they would fear for those freedoms.
As tyrants know and totalitarian states demonstrate, control of certain aspects of the life of a nation is equivalent to control of all aspects of the nation's life. Lip service may be paid to democracy by honouring the principle of one person, one vote even as genuine democracy is denied by the differential weighting of those individual votes.
We are many
Rise, like lions after slumber In unvanquishable number! Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you: Ye are many—they are few!
The leaders we deserve
I have it on good authority that he UK and the US are two of the world's greatest democracies. The Greeks may have invented it, but it took the Brits and the Yanks to show them how democracy should be done.
The final option
If Nicola Sturgeon was determined to try everything before moving on to whatever it was she was minded to do having tried everything else, why did she not toss some eye of newt and toe of frog in a cauldron and simmer gently until Scotland’s independence was restored?
The very last people who should rule on what is and isn't democratic ere those who wield the power that is authorised and legitimised by being ruled democratic. That is a recipe for despotism.
Prison, punishment and democracy
Christina McKelvie is quite wrong when she says that "prison is a place people go to be punished". Prison is the punishment. Imprisonment. Incarceration. Immurement. Forfeiture of liberty is the penalty. The law allows for no further punishment beyond this. Prison is a place people are sent as punishment, not to be punished. Prisoners are … Continue reading Prison, punishment and democracy
Votes for prisoners
"Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw the mud, the other saw the stars." Frederick Langbridge (Photo credit: antonychammond)It's not very often I find myself at odds with Nicola Sturgeon, but on the matter of votes for prisoners I simply cannot agree with her hard-line stance. It is, she claims, a position informed … Continue reading Votes for prisoners