The EU tries to foster the development of democracy around the world through election observation missions, by encouraging institution building and supporting human rights defenders but “double standards and inconsistencies” undermine the EU’s credibility, according to Belgian Socialist Véronique De Keyser, who is drafting a report on EU tools in favour of democratisation. “Thus far the EU has failed to promote democracy”, concluding alliances with many kinds of regimes, including dictatorships like Libya, she said. Eventually “the paradigm of stability must give way to the paradigm of democracy”
Well, I read the title of this news article, “Strengthening emerging democracies: concrete EU action”, and the leader that followed it, and started to laugh.
“They can’t be serious!”, I thought.
There were obviously sentences that I might agree with:- “With elections at the core of democratic systems, the EU Election observation missions are of crucial importance.”, for example. But this was immediately followed by “MEPs and EU officials are sent to third countries to check that the voting process respects democratic standards – that there is pluralism, no intimidation, no fraud and that everyone has access to polling stations – and authenticate the results.”
This implies that election observation missions are sent to countries that are not considered able to conduct an election in an orderly manner themselves, and I presume that such a mission has to be invited to participate; I would not expect them to just turn up and start work unannounced.
However, there are some glaring omissions here, I fear. What about countries that consider that they can conduct elections in an orderly manner, but don’t? Things like hanging chads, caging lists, identity challenges, lost postal votes, and intimidation spring to mind, especially when coupled with ethnic origin, and we don’t have far to look if we want to know where they occur. Just ask Greg Palast – our one-man observation mission – who is unfortunately never invited to the event itself, but always has to play catch-up when it is all over.
Besides, even where there is no direct intimidation, there are always the mind games, and they are at least as effective. Since Edward Bernays started using psychiatric tricks, the electorate has been steadily bombarded with unconscious persuaders from ever more Public Relations onslaughts. These, coupled with the sheer cost of running an election campaign, ensure that only the “right” people will ever get elected.
The article continues:- They have Joint parliamentary assemblies, the EP’s Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy (OPPD), Association Agreements and Commercial Agreements to develop fertile ground for the emergence of democracy, and they support human rights defenders.
Admittedly, not all of these work so well. The results of Joint parliamentary assemblies often don’t “filter through” to the respective parliaments, (lost in translation perhaps?), and supporting human rights defenders can only work while they are still alive, and haven’t yet been incarcerated. As the survival rate for such persons seems to be on a par with journalists at the moment, I would not rate this activity as particularly successful either. Besides which, their own record on human rights is not so hot – as any Roma could tell you.
So far, so good, but there was a question from someone in the back row! “What was the question again, please?”
“What exactly is Democracy?”
Well, there is no great mystery here – its just a set of rules. The trick is to ensure that everybody knows what the rules are, which is why we want to democratise everyone. Its much easier to get along together if everybody is playing to the same rules, don’t you think? And if you are going for ‘Full-Spectrum Dominance – Worldwide’, which of course they are, you can’t have different people using different sets of rules, now can you. Be reasonable! This is why we need Globalisation. It makes it so much easier to control everybody.
Don’t get me wrong! Any resemblance between the democracy we are talking about and the standard definition – you know – “Of the people, for the people, by the people” – is purely coincidental. But we call it democracy anyway because people feel much happier thinking that they have a say in what they are doing. After all, they do get to vote now and again, don’t they.
Yes, I know its only once every 5 years or so, but its better than nothing. And yes, I know that the Chartists wanted to vote every year, but really, we couldn’t have got anything done in the time before the government would have to be completely renewed. That was just not on! After all, we don’t like kissing your babies that much, to be honest. Once every five years is about the best we can manage.
Ah, another question. Could you repeat that please?
“Why is it possible to have a government elected by less than a majority of the voters?”
This is one of the idiosyncrasies of our voting system, I’m afraid. Its very complicated, and it has to do with constituency size and make-up, which is always changing. We have no control over that at all. There are different voting systems in different places, – ‘first past the post’, ‘proportional representation’, etc., all with their good and bad points. The fundamental problem is that no system is ever perfect. We do the best we can with what we have.
Well, that really is a bit naughty. That is the sort of trick some unscrupulous people might try if they want to get some unfair advantage in an election. It means reorganising the constituency boundaries such that with the same people voting you get a different result. We don’t do that!
“Why doesn’t your MP vote the way you want him to?”
There could be many reasons for this. Just think of how many people one MP has to represent – thousands! If he tried to find out how each of you thought, he would never get any work done. Besides, that’s not his job! He is there to represent the voters in his constituency, yes, but not what they think or want. Being honest, he probably doesn’t even care about it. Lets face it, in most parliamentary systems he doesn’t even get to vote the way he wants to anyway.
You see, its the cabinet that sets policy, (unless the Prime Minister has delusions of grandeur, and insists on doing everything himself), and when it comes to a vote in Parliament, the government wants to make sure it wins. So it tells the MP how it wants him to vote.
The only time an MP can vote as he likes is when there is a “free vote”, but these are only allowed for stupid things, like the colour of the stamp on brown or white eggs, so it doesn’t mean much at all.
There is one other thing, but I hardly like to mention it. Some MP’s tend to be a bit – well, you know – “toffee-nosed”. Not all of them, mind you! It seems to be a question of length of time in the House, and position in the government. I could tell you tales about the Foreign Secretary, and the Prime Minister, but I had better keep quiet about it, I think. But you can see, if you have one of those for an MP, there is no way your wishes will be taken care of, unless they happen to coincide with his by chance.
And don’t think that if you have a female MP that you are better off. Not a bit of it. Just think back to the “Iron Lady”, and you will know what I mean.
Anyhow, this discussion is really rather out-of-date. Your parliament just ain’t what it used to be! We used to think that parliament and the government called the shots, but no more.
“He who pays the piper, calls the tune”.
And thats who our MP’s are now – pipers – and we don’t pay them. Someone else does.
You see, the people with money and power cannot directly control a country with a democracy. They have to use the representatives we elect (pipers) as their agents. Of course, nobody talks about it much. They would not like the general public to realise it is being duped, but exactly that, in fact, is the case.
They use a system of intermediaries called professional lobbyists. The lobbyists pass on the instructions to the MP’s, and the MP’s carry them out in parliament. If your lobbyist is really being helpful, he might even write the laws for you. Now that is what I call service!
Although lobbying has always been available to the individual, and was intended as a function whereby an MP could help a constituent in times of trouble, the process has now been grossly distorted. It is now possible for foreign interests to lobby MP’s in complete secrecy, and thereby totally distort the democracy in a country. Although GMO’s, for example, are not wanted in Europe, period, by dint of constant lobbying the restrictions have been further and further relaxed. Now with each country being able to control its own destiny in this respect, the job of the lobbyist has been made much easier. Until someone comes up with some irrefutable proof that these organisms are safe for human consumption, they should be kept out of Europe completely lest they cause contamination of native seed and stock.
As far as you and I are concerned, we probably don’t notice any big difference most of the time, but now and again we will see that something has been done that is definitely not to our benefit at all. It could be that austerity measures have suddenly been brought into the budget, or we could find ourselves fighting another war that we didn’t really want to get involved in. Getting our kids through school and college is now a real headache, whereas before it used to be mostly free.
The health service is being chopped and changed about – again.
The value of money seems to have suddenly fallen through the floor.
The price of food has gone through the roof.
Of course, there are reasons for all of this, and you can be sure that somebody benefits as a result. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t happen.
The trouble is that it is you and I who end up paying for the problems that are caused. If some enterprising hedge fund manager decides to buy up next years global wheat harvest, (just for example), what do you think will happen to the price of bread? That sort of thing is now being done, for lobbyists succeeded in getting the regulation on foodstuffs removed. Now I consider that a very unfriendly act. And our elected representatives were complicit in it!
Underlying all of this is one single fact.
The government will continue to do what it can get away with, as long as there is no outcry from the electorate!
Some governments, expecting the measures that they bring into law to cause problems, are taking steps to control and minimise the effects of any domestic upheaval. They know that they are running very close to the edge, and it would not take much to swing an electorate into open revolt.
Taking a leaf out of the Romans’ book, there are no gladiator games in the Coliseum nowadays, but a Royal Wedding makes an excellent substitute, as does hosting the Olympics. And just in case the ‘soft’ approach doesn’t do the job, we have the ‘hard’ approach as backup – reduction of civil liberties, (slowly, of course, so nobody will notice), crowd control systems, (non-lethal), Predator drones (normally for observation only, but….), and the data collected from mobile phones. Now, I’m not strictly supposed to tell you this, but mobile phones with GPS are a godsend to the surveillance boys. They have you pinpointed down to a few feet, and your phone sends them a constantly updated stream of data without you having to do a thing. Thats really great, isn’t it!
Of course, there are some problems that require a different approach, but it is really amazing what the boffins can come up with. Is “Boffins” still in current use? Perhaps “TechnoGeeks” would be a better choice.
As you all know, the world is running out of resources. This can’t be a surprise to anyone any more – there are so many of us, all using more and more stuff – it is only natural, after all. The problem then will be that we can’t make anything any more. If we can’t make anything, we will have nothing to sell anyone, and our whole economic system will eventually collapse.
Never fear! The wizards have decreed that anything that we could previously use for free, will now be charged for. And anything that is charged for can be taxed. So all they need to do now if there is a shortage of income, is to increase the tax (on toilet paper, for example). Simple, isn’t it!
And now let me introduce the latest and greatest invention of them all – a true worldbeater – the “Breathometer”. Yes, you guessed it. After January the 1st next year, breathing will not be free, we will have to pay for it! After all, providing clean air costs money. The invention itself, I am told, looks very much like a gas-mask at the moment, but they have their technogeeks working full blast to produce something with a little more aesthetic appeal. And, just for an added bonus, you can order the “Breathometer Deluxe”, which has a built-in Breathalyser. Now that is a touch of true genius!
Not only that, a whole new industry has grown up around the Breathometer, which will provide many new jobs. There is still much research to be done on how these devices need to be calibrated, for people breathe at different rates, depending on what they happen to be doing at the time. Asleep, we need very little air, but running a marathon uses a tremendous amount in comparison. Current thoughts are to couple the device to a pulse measuring system to give a fully automatic response. Universities have already been contacted about making appropriate courses available to students. And like any other measurement device, your Breathometer will require periodic recalibration. Much like the TUV, or MOT for vehicles, a sticker will be prominently displayed on the device to clearly show that it is within its calibration period, and woe betide you if it isn’t!
By the way, I am told by reliable sources that dying without giving prior notice will soon be made an offence. The reason for this is obvious enough, I am sure. We are running out of graveyards! The one viable alternative – cremation – cannot be used because of our on-going energy crisis, and air-burials are completely out of the question. Lets be realistic – where do we find enough vultures to do the job in the middle of Brussels, Paris or London? (And they always leave the bones behind!).
Amidst all this excitement, there really is one thing that I should mention, at least in passing. Its a sort of background problem, and tends to get shoved out of the news by sometimes really trivial matters. I refer to the continuing relevance of climate change, global warming, and rising sea levels, which is still with us, as nobody has found a solution for it, if they are indeed still looking. But you will appreciate the difficulty for the news media to apply the right sort of prominence when we compare the complete loss of Denmark and Bangladesh at some unknown point in the future with the carnage wrought by a suicide bomber yesterday.
Never mind that for now. I am sure it will all come right in the end. We just need to have faith in our elected pipers – sorry, I meant representatives, of course. Once we have the whole world globalised, it will become so simple to organise things.
We only need to have two buttons under normal circumstances. We could label them “Carrot” and “Stick”, but my own preference is for “Goodies” and “Screwed”. Whenever one of our associate countries does something that we want, we can reward them for good behaviour by pressing the “Goodies” button. This would usually mean some form of financial support – not exactly a bribe, you understand – more a consideration for services rendered.
Conversely, of course, we would use the “Screwed” button if there was a difference of opinion between us that they did not seem to want to resolve in our favour quickly enough. This might mean loss of “favoured trading nation” status, or even sanctions.
In special cases, however, a third button is needed. This is where we have a country that has its own resources, sufficient wealth to be able to influence others and implement its plans, and which wishes to play the game by different rules to the ones we want. This is just not on!
The preferred course of action at the moment is the “Humanitarian Intervention”. The more it is used, the easier it is to use again the next time. Of course, we all know it is only a “noble cause” which masks our “hidden wicked agenda”, but what the heck. It gets the job done! It worked pretty well on Saddam Hussein, and its doing fine on Muammar Gaddafi so far. Alright, so we didn’t write “Regime Change” into the UN resolution, but if we had done, it would never have passed. No problem. The actual wording left so many gaping holes that you could legally construe it to mean whatever we want it to mean, given a bit of imagination. And imagination we have aplenty!
The third button is labelled – “Screwed – BigTime”!!!
PS. Curiously enough, the third button is usually used on people we have been friendly with before, and who have been rather useful to us in the past. Unfortunately, something happened to sour the relationship in every case, and it had to be terminated. (There must be a motto in there somewhere!).
* * * * * * * * * *
So now you know what our elected government is doing. They are helping peddle something they don’t believe in and don’t fully understand themselves to the rest of the world, with the intention of controlling it.
Ask yourself one question:- “Is this what we really want?”