Posted in Politics Social Justice

Where is Democracy?

Where is Democracy? Posted on 9 April 20111 Comment

A picture of a whistling thorn tree

Over the last few weeks, I have seen the voices of hundreds of thousands ignored. I have seen education slip through the margins of accessibility. I have seen debate crushed by dogma and spin. I have heard lies and deceit by those who govern us. And I have seen the might of the centralised state increase, without the opportunity of local input. I am reminded again and again, I am not in a free country.

Democracy was born in Athens – its aim to give the people (demos) the power to decide. Like now, who counts as ‘people’ is limited to the elite, and mostly men. We believe that we have changed from the times of the Ancient Greeks; that we have moulded ourselves into people of ethics and values that gives everyone a fair chance.

But where are we now? On 26th March, half a million people marched through the streets of London saying that there was another way. Osborne, Clegg and Cameron ignored them; they ignored the economists who have fought against these cuts and they have now ignored the people.

Is that what democracy and good governance is about?

We did not vote for these cuts. The Conservatives promised the cuts would not affect the frontline services, and that the cuts would be much smaller. The Liberal Democrats promised that they would wait a year after the election, and that they would rid students of tuitions fees. We voted on lies, yet we cannot legally challenge them.

Is that what democracy and good governance is about?

Experts have spoken out against these cuts. Even the Institute of Fiscal Studies has told us before these cuts will impact the poorest, the most vulnerable and the young. The Office of Budgetary Responsibility has agreed, saying that conditions will only worsen until 2014/15. With increased poverty, high unemployment, lack of basic health services and the privatisation of education and local services, how are we going to get through the next few years until things to do get better?

Is that what democracy and good governance is about?

We are told to stop blaming the banks for the recession, yet it was their lack of regulation and financial behaviour that put us in this position. It was their bailouts that we paid for so we could save the economy. And now, inflation is high because their investments are in commodity speculation. Yet, our government has ignored this – telling us that we are foolish for understanding what happened in 2008. They have silenced our criticisms of their lack of action. And they have made it easier for those in these industries to have high salaries, while the public sector that lives to serve is culled.

By now, you know my question. Our government has lied to us, ignored us and treated us like we are their toys, their chess pieces in the game of international politics.

I am tired of this. I will not remain silent. Democracy does not come from what the media says, what the government says and what the opposition says. It comes from us – and no matter what laws are passed on wearing black, on balaclavas, on being unable to protest in Parliament Square – I will stand up against that repression.

True democracy is about devolution of power, not concentrated power in hands of the richest.

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