This week’s blog was initiated after a chance discussion at a symphony concert recently. A person sitting next to me, whom I had never met before, engaged me in conversation.
As someone that clearly observed world news he managed to cover Donald Trump, Brexit, Venezuela, Iran and various other political governments in the space of a fifteen-minute interval. Clearly I did not wholeheartedly support many of the views he had picked up through foreign and UK media.
But two things where I really would have liked to challenge him more thoroughly were when he criticised some leaders for not being intellectuals, and where he pinned so much faith in the western democratic model.
As far as the issue of lack of intellect in some leaders is concerned, it strikes me that too much time is spent by politicians intellectualising and far too little time is spent actually delivering.
While the intellectuals may be alarmed at some election results or riots in various countries, they fail to see that the populace are voting for people that do what they say. However much people may disagree with Donald Trump’s wall, it should be noted that he is only doing what he said he would do when he was elected.
If people that keep their promises replaced the intellectuals, this would certainly improve the democracies that we are supposedly proud of. It might also stop oppositions opposing the will of the people and get them looking for positive things that they could do.
But I think that the idea of democracy has rapidly become one of the greatest myths of our time. I cannot conceive that having two minutes in a voting booth once every four or five years is true democracy. Even less so when the election manifesto is clearly ignored once the intellectuals are in power.
Even worse, once they gain power, then the lottery of top jobs in cabinets begins. If I were going for relatively junior jobs, then past experience would definitely be a major consideration.
However, when it comes to governments we happily give ministerial positions to elected representatives with no previous practical knowledge of the field. I will take just one example of the sort of thing I mean.
Whilst I am sure that Jeremy Hunt of the British Parliament is a jolly good chap, I suspect his experience in speaking Japanese and publishing educational books is not the sort of previous experience I would look for if appointing people over whole sectors!
And yet in the last twelve years this man has been responsible for the following departments for the whole of the United Kingdom; disable persons, culture, media and sport, health, social care and foreign and commonwealth affairs.
The lack of relevant qualifications of the army of civil servants and MPs supporting him do not help the problem!!Is in any wonder that government contracts go over budget, overseas aid is wasted and bureaucratic procedures stifle real advancement in organisations.
If this is democracy then give me a benevolent dictatorship any time. What we need today is an entrepreneurial approach to delivering real democracy.
What we really need for true democracy is for the people to be able to elect people that really represent them, have practical knowledge of the area in which they work and have reputations in that sector that would be damaged if they fail. In other words, they have some skin in the problems.
Clearly that cannot be achieved under the existing system, but just suppose if the UK had an elected president that could appoint their cabinet from outside of the members of parliament with the sort of relevant experience that other top jobs would demand.
There would still be a need for MPs as a check and balance and as the ultimate law makers, and the Royal Family ceremonial role would be maintained. MPs would also be selected to work in departments on the basis of relevant experience.
One wonders what a health service or education system would look like if professionals from those sectors ran the show and surely big business must be tearing their hair out at the ham-fisted attempt at negotiation over Brexit.
Whether this or some other entrepreneurial idea comes forward soon, I suspect that this present manifestation of democracy may well have a limited shelf life.