Bill Anderson – Is democracy dead?

I’m not saying it is, but just asking the question. 

Winston Churchill had a lot to say about the democratic process in a world which was very different from the world we inhabit today. “A five-minute conversation with the average voter would make you question the very principle of democracy”, he said. A harsh statement if there ever was one. The Greek roots of the word indicate ‘the rule or power of the people’. Again, I ask the question, ‘Do the ‘people’ feel in charge of the country they live in?’ I think not.

There is no single system of democratic process. In the UK they still use a ‘first past the post’ election system which does allow voters to select the person they want to represent them and allows individuals to stand independently. Many in the UK have advocated for proportional representation which they claim will be fairer and more representative of the will of the people. However, even proportional representation is not a unified concept and there are many forms of the beast.

The starting question is, how do we ensure that the best people are put into the political jobs which best match their skillset? Frankly we don’t. Having survived 6 years in the Spanish political world, I am very clear that the lists presented have little or nothing to do with what candidates have to offer, and everything to do with how many votes those in charge feel that candidates can draw from their own community. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there are no skilled people on these lists or holding positions of responsibility that they are completely capable of doing. There are some very good people, but you didn’t get the opportunity to decide who went on that list. It’s like going into a restaurant and being told what they are going to serve you: like it or lump it.

In a perfect world, people presenting for office should have altruistic motives, but how many hairdressers or plumbers do you know that can command the salary levels of a politician? Once they are in, they want to stay there. No one wants to see their lifestyle deteriorate.

The next question I ask is ‘Who actually runs the country?’: the people we elect, or the unelected, shadowy bodies that pull the strings? The European Commission, the World Economic Forum, The World Health Organisation. Unelected and non-removeable. The more influence and power they have, the further we drift from the democratic process. To what extent are these unelected overlords dictating and determining what our future will look like? We can only guess and speculate.

Giving Churchill the last word, “Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others we have tried.” Like it or lump it.

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Written by

Bill Anderson

Originally from Scotland, Bill has been a permanent resident in Spain for over 20 years many of which were spent in teaching. He has published 5 novels. He lives in Mijas Costa, and is editor of EWN.