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Democracy is not failing us, it is we who fail democracy when we fail to actively engage with it. Democracy, as we practice it today, has lost its essential direction and has been usurped by divisive, vitriolic, jingoistic spin. Democracy today is no longer government of, by and for the people. It is government of the most influential, the loudest shock jock, the focus group, the public relations consultant and whoever is able to exercise their lust for power. This dysfunctional gathering ignores concern for national unity and prosperity. The voice of the special interest group has come to dominate the present model. Debate, divide and conquer is the aim and its tactic is to fragment the collective energy of the nation, split it down the middle, weaken its resolve and make it easier for vested interests to have their way. Unity is strength. Disunity is a recipe for failure.
The system we call democracy, the one devised by ourselves for ourselves, has been compromised by the wealthy for the benefit of the wealthy. The collective interest of the masses has been relegated to second place and has become a by-product.
How do we reinvent democracy? How do we wind it back to the way it was practiced in ancient Greece, its original birth place? When we engage in collective discussion we are more intelligent than we think. When we argue for special interest over collective interest we weaken the whole. Discussion panels need to replace focus groups. Councils for public interest should replace career politicians.
Taxi Driver, Julian Knowles takes a distraught early morning passenger home only to begin a day that will change his life forever. His thoughtful, caring commitment to an intellectually disabled client gradually exposes him to the members of the dysfunctional Stewart family. Their bizarre behaviour following the death of their sister leads to lies, deception, blackmail and extortion on an unprecedented scale. Set against the background of a family tragedy and a deceased estate this intriguing drama demonstrates the destructive heights sibling rivalry can climb when ambition meets desperation on a level playing field.
Right now, there’s a battle royal going on between believers in climate change and climate change sceptics. Most of the sceptics don’t believe humans cause climate change. It’s a position somewhat reminiscent of the Flat Earth Society; but even if it’s not, they still believe human activity doesn’t cause the Earth to warm. Well, that’s okay. I understand their position entirely. For over fifty years I believed in miracles, I believed in the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, I believed Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. I believed in Saints and Guardian Angels. I believed all that. So, why I ask, is it so strange that there are people who still believe they can defy science and cling ever so tenaciously to a myth that corresponds to a god belief and the mistaken premise that we are here for a reason and therefore we could not cause such damage as would threaten that belief? If pressed hard enough, I suspect most of our politicians would acknowledge Christianity as their faith, whether they believed in God or not. Of course, not too many would have the balls to say they did not, even if it were true. They are after all, politicians. So, it is likely that they would also profess to believe in most of the above mentioned Christian fundamentals I once believed. They accord science its due of course but only in the areas where it is undeniable. When science dares to theorize, it must go through the most stringent of tests before it is accepted as fact. There’s something odd about all this, isn’t there? Sceptics won’t accept scientific theory until it is proven fact, but will happily profess belief in the great unprovable of all time: that God exists. They say we get what we pay for in world leadership, but in reality we don’t even get that. For the quality of governance we enjoy today, our politicians are woefully overpaid. What is hard about engaging a team of consultants to give us advice on what we should do? What is clever about receiving that advice and then ignoring it? Political parties the world over never look too far into the future. They govern for today. Let someone else worry about tomorrow. The future of the planet is on the line, the quality of future generations is threatened and all our leaders are concerned with is their re-election. Why do I care, you ask? Because I have grandchildren. Because I don’t believe in God and I care what we do as tenants on Earth. I don’t believe that we are here for a reason or that some divine solution will save us in the nick of time. That is fantasy. There are others who will follow us for centuries to come, and I care about the inheritance we leave them. We know we are polluting the Earth. That fact alone should jolt us into action.