(I nearly posted a 2300 word behemoth of ranting here. Instead I put it in its rightful place, over here. I hope that you will read it anyway. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on how we came to be in the place we are. Some of these thoughts have tongue firmly in cheek, but not all of them.)
We live in a democracy. You spotted that, I hope. The fact that so few take part in our democracy is rather a shame and perhaps things might be more acceptable if people rolled their sleeves up a bit more, even if only to turn up at their village hall/local library once every five years to partake of the taxing task of putting a single X on a small piece of paper, preferably with some thought and consideration. But don’t get me started on that.
To quote Churchill, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” He said that shortly after being voted out of office after leading the country to victory in the Second World War. It wasn’t entirely sour grapes – he was making a more nuanced point (as you might expect from him).
I think what he may have been alluding to (and this is my point, which I’ll big up by associating it with Churchill) is this: all the while we live in a democracy with elections every five years, painful decisions will not be taken for fear of losing power. Equally, long-term decisions will not be taken as the horizon extends only as far as the next election.
For example, if I form a political party that will aim to balance the books by cutting spending on the three biggest costs to the state (NHS, welfare, defence) and at the same time increase taxes (Corporation Tax, VAT, Income Tax and NI), I reckon I would garner about three votes at the next election. I have no realistic hope of gaining power in order to be able to implement my policies.
Consequently, politicians will only devise policies which are populist and serve objectives that are within the timeframe of the next election, at most the election after that. They won’t take painful decisions for the same reason.
Of course, the system is designed so that the Commons reflects the will of the people. This is a fine ideal if you assume that the people desire policies and decisions that are painful or long term (and that they use thought and consideration before placing their X – oh, oh dear.). Sadly, most people are not, in my experience, willing or prepared to even contemplate such things, let alone vote for them.
Therefore, I bring forward what I believe should be the first guiding policy of the Blogging Uborka Revolutionary Party (BURP). Namely, upon being elected, to dissolve the existing democratic parliamentary structures (and, with it, the monarchy) and replace them with a benevolent dictatorship. That would get round the short termism and populism.
Naturally, we’d have to keep that policy under our hats until elected – it’s too long termist and painful for anyone to actually vote for it.
Of course, a benevolent dictator will know when to pass the baton to his/her successor. I am prepared to take on this difficult role first. And I can promise that power will not corrupt. Absolute power will not corrupt absolutely. Honest.
H G Wells was an advocate for a single global governance. He felt that competition between nations was wasteful, warfare particularly so, and that global problems require global answers that are best achieved by people of all nations working together. (Of course, we now how effective the League of Nations and, later, the United Nations have proven to be, but bear with me on this). For example, if you have one global nation, you no longer need to spend vast sums on armaments and armed forces.
In our 24/7 world that is constantly, instantly and effectively linked for information via the interwebnet, this global governance idea starts to look more sensible again, particularly when global resources are being stretched thinly and need to be used at maximum efficiency if we’re not going to starve/die of thirst/burn the planet to a cinder/run out of iPads.
So, I propose that I should not only be benevolent dictator of the United Kingdom, but of the world. This would solve a few awkward current problems, such as North Korea, Afghanistan, Syria and Bognor Regis.
Naturally, I’ll need an effective set of bodyguards. I hear that Muammar Gaddafi’s lot are looking for work.
Mwahahaha. I am not mad, etc.