The United Kingdom appears indubitably wedded to the democratic process irrespective of any valid arguments to the contrary. It is a value judgement that never vacillates, nevermind wavers. Nevertheless, I wish to use a series of short blog posts to lay out some charges against democracy of the parliamentary sort that ought to merit further examination if one is serious about national success and honour.
As the title of this post suggests, the most glaringly apparent pitfall of democracy is the characters it attracts to the sphere of governance. This point is made sharper by the political and social trends of the age which have relegated aristocracy in favour of an unscrupulous merchant caste whose moral grounding is already dubious without the added toxins of public life.
It is beyond question that the two most successful Prime Ministers of the last century were Margaret Thatcher, Conservative Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, and Tony Blair, Labour Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007. Both won three successive General Elections with handsome majorities, and, without pronouncing on the substance of their policies, did more than any others to change the day-to-day operating style of the United Kingdom. And how did both of their political careers come to an abrupt end? Were they defeated by public opinion at the ballot box, which one might expect from a democracy? Absolutely not! Both were deposed by ignoble colleagues harbouring a toxic mixture of petty resentment and personal ambition, who stabbed one in the back and one, frankly, in the face.
Do we really want a government commanded by those who demonstrate such fragile loyalties? It should not be forgotten that in the case of both Thatcher and Blair, the assassins unquestionably owed their political careers to the victims of their disreputable actions. Who really has confidence in the leadership of people who, for the sake of personal ambition, bite off the hand which feeds them?
That is not to say we don’t seek ambitious men for high office. But we cannot permit a system which places personal ambition, ego, pride, the self, before a common sense of national duty and accountability to the people it claims to serve. Equally, that is not to say we wish for a political class subservient to an omnipotent leader. But there are ways and means of challenging the wisdom of policy decisions and leadership trends without resorting to the ugly habits of conspiring under dimmed lights with hushed voices.
It also speaks to the hubris of political actors that they often exercise their acts of betrayal in spite of public opinion, not because of it. In this way, they have already stunted the democratic process by changing the course of the ship by other means. Is it not proper that representatives of the popular will represent the people’s faith and confidence in the elected leader?
I for one doubt, even in our age of the inversion of values, that betrayal and political thievery are uppermost in the people’s minds when choosing which political candidates to support.