Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lobbying is only one of the many threats to our Democracy

We pride ourselves, often in an overly self-congratulatory way, about our Democrcay. The truth is, however, than even in the most important areas, that major decisions are taken by people who nobody elected. By "taken" I include "Strongly influenced". Nominally a choice may be made by a Minister of the Crown. But in reality he or she is all too often a rubber stamp machine.

Cast your minds back to Tony Blair's first administration. That Government had introduced a perfectly credible policy on road fuel tax and duty. Then a group of unelected and repugnant commercial transport operators decided to try and change this. They blockaded roads and oil depots and took the law into their own hands. The country was paralysed . The Government caved in. This was the antithesis of Democracy and an elected government was powerless to combat it. Roll forward to 2003 and millions took to the streets to protest against the upcoming Iraq war. On this occasion public order was not threatened (as it had been with the Fuel Tax protests). So Blair and Co ploughed on regardless - as countless bereaved Military families can remind you today as they watch Iraq still burning ten years on.

So lets get extra-political protest and lobbying in context. Politicians have always ignored the public when they choose to. They have always bowed to the Establishment, or the imperatives of unelected civil servants if these people are powerful enough. Or rich enough. Blair bowed to Ecclestone. Cameron to the parasites of Wonga. Callaghan to the Trades Unions.Thatcher to Reagan. Choose your PM - but  they always bend to somebody's bidding. 


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