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Are we seeing the slow death of Democracy?

Democracy

by Richard Bartlam

Rule by the people

From the Encyclopaedia Britannia Democracy, literally, rule by the people. The term is derived from the Greek dēmokratia, which was coined from dēmos (“people”) and kratos (“rule”)

The world seems to me to be changing, slowly and surely, to a one that is less Democratic and more Authoritarian. In the last twenty years China has once again receded to the complete one person one party state, with Party App Xi Jinping on phones now tracking, teaching, spying on its people. Gone are the days of the “Little Red Book” when you can have an app for that! We see democracy in Hong Kong slowly being squeezed to death by the State and it operates an estimated 1,200 concentration camps in Xinjiang. Also gone are the days when China was content to be the world’s cheap manufacture, it now also has an aggressive foreign policy.

Likewise Russian, since Putin became acting President on 31st December 1999 when Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly “resigned” he become the de facto “head” of Russia. He first served two 4 year terms, but was barred from a third by the then constitution. So he handed over the “power” but was immediately made “Prime Minister of Russia” Since regaining the “Precedency” for two more terms he has eliminated all candidates in the opposing parties and suggest major constitutional amendments that will keep him in power past 2024. During his term Russia has moved in an autocratic direction

Both of the above are countries where one man has used that party to become omnipotent. However what I find equally disturbing is what is happening right now in Texas USA where one party is now trying to secure the next election by changing the voting rules. Thus eliminating a large proportion of the the population from voting with the Republicans introducing 389 bills with restrictive provisions in 48 states. Is American, the “land of the free”, the next country to be the land of the single party?

Only around half the worlds population live in a “democracy” but some like India should now now be downgraded as an “Electoral autocracy” Other countries like Saudi Arabia although having implemented some modest reforms for women still allow no political parties or national elections. An International Aline was “hijacked” by state security to arrest an opposition blogger but despite much protest, little real actions has been take by the EU. Likewise, little has happened to Myanmar since the the government was overthrown and disappeared.

Governments of the world should re-read the poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller. A poem I have always found emotional to read. The words may need to change, but the sentiment of the poem remains true today. And if our governments truly believe in democracy, maybe it’s time to speak out?

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

If you are interested in the above, perhaps you might like to read “Democracy under Siege” by Freedom House.

4 Comments

  • It’s not just Texas, Richard. The most recent Queen’s speech included plans to make photo-id mandatory for voting in the UK. Even though there’s no evidence of voter fraud on any significant scale.
    I always liked H.L. Mencken’s definition of democracy: The idea that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it, good and hard”.

  • Hi John, thanks for the comment. What’s happening in Texas I think is slightly different as it’s one Political Party setting out to actively obstruct voters of a different party from voting. Th e Voter ID here see https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9187/ is supposed to stop people from stealing votes. It was brought into Norther Ireland in 1983 and the thinking is that it should be UK wide. I am personally not in agreement with this myself as, like you, I see no evidence of voter Fraud in the UK. The UK Parliaments own briefing states “As of August 2020, one conviction and one caution had been secured for personation offences at elections held in 2019. There had been 20 allegations and the majority of cases led to no action.” 1 conviction against 30M? votes to me does NOT justify the change.

  • Thanks, Richard. While I agree that’s it’s not exactly the same, the probability is that the party pushing through the changes will stand to benefit, as it will be mainly the younger or less well off who won’t have passports or driving licences, and both these categories tend towards the left.

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