Sunday, 5 August 2007

The Device of Direct Democracy

Has anyone else come to the conclusion that democracy is not democracy if we do not have genuine political choice? What is the point of being allowed to vote when the 3 mainstream parties conspire to only to relieve us of more of our property and income while increasing the regulations we are subject to?

True political choice means Direct Democracy in the Athenian mould, where taxpaying citizens would be allowed to vote on laws, policy and courses of action.

There ought to be no representation without taxation and greater taxation ought to entitle the taxpayer to greater representation, just as if he were a shareholder voting at a company meeting.

Imagine yourself a diner in the only 3 restaurants in town.

Are you tired of being fobbed off with the same old set menu and repeatedly told that the dishes you want are off?

Are you tired of dishes promised by the fringe parties who will never cook anything up because they haven't even got a frying pan, much less any culinary skills to speak of?

Now here is a beautifully simple solution to this lack of choice.

Fringe parties co-operatively compile a Grand Amalgmated Manifesto of all their policies. This becomes the one-stop policy shop. These policies are presented in the form of promises to conduct referenda on them should they be elected into office.

Would this approach not put the lid under all political agreements?

By agreeing to ask the question, for example, "Should the UK withdraw from the EU?" you get the attention of both pros and antis.

Well, this is Direct Democracy as a campaigning weapon against the mainstream that requires ineffectual fringe parties to join together and become an effective Big Party that could overtake the Lib Dems. This is an idea that could run and revolutonise the way we think about politics.

Tired of the set menu? Dine a la carte!

Suicide Bombing and Disillusioned Youth

I have just finished THE TIPPING POINT by Malcom Gladwell.

It mentions a spate of copy-cat male adolescent suicides in Micronesa after an adolescent took his own life, rather similar to the spate of group suicides recently in Northern Ireland.

Suicide bombers are mainly young men. Suicide bombing actually began in Sri Lanka before it became widely adopted. It was not an Islamic invention, as so many believe.

I suppose it is "one up" from throwing yourself in front of a tube train during the rush hour to express your dissatisfaction at the way life is treating you.

What could be more satisfying than to express yourself in this way (should you be suicidally-inclined young man, particularly if you were brought up as a Muslim)?

It is exciting and emotionally satisfying to give up your life for a supposedly noble cause when you have no wish to live it anyway.

Blame this on their religion if you like, but I think this sort of angst takes the form of either suicide bombing or running amuck (a Malay word for axe-murderer) with a gun, like that Korean who used his fellow students as target practice on a Virginia campus in the US. It affects all races, religions and cultures but the form it takes depends on the weapons available to the suicide. Imitation is also a significant factor.

Unpleasant emotions of adolescent alienation are as old as the hills even if the destruction wrought in their name takes new and frightening forms.

There really is nothing new under the sun.