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26.5.09

A crisis of representation / A need for change

Burke's representative relation, by which one individual rules in the place of many and in the name of their interests is now so contorted that three million children in one of the world's richest democracies live in poverty; so corrupted that elected officials clean their moats with public money while over two million people look for work; so subverted that one hundred billion pounds has been pumped into banks saddling the British people with debt while bankers' wages resume their precipitous rise.

Taken from an OurKingdom article by George Gabriel.

It describes the situation perfectly and is wholly appropriate to describe the situation in the Duchy with both the establishment and political classes. What went through Julia's mind when she used tax payers money to buy that rocking chair? The disenchanted public whose ever increasing cynicism her greed and irresponsibility has only added to, is she aware who some will vote for now?

But what next? Is it enough to punish the thoughtless and the greedy and leave it at that? What a wasted opportunity for change that would be. The economic crisis plus this latest MPs expenses scandal gives us all, more than ever, the right to demand change.

Unlock Democracy offers some helpful suggestions with -We need real reform not another man in tights- and -Accountability not apologies . Of equal potential interest is this publication -The Liberal Republic- from Demos a think tank and former darling of New labour. They say:

The good society is messy and unpredictable because it vets power in the people. Power should be held at the lowest level possible. Instead of 'devolving' power, our assumption should be that power is vested in people. Only when there is good reason should power be consolidated upwards to communities, local agencies, national government or international bodies. The 'good society' is not a perfect shape to be carved by the elite out of the crooked timber of humanity. It is created by independent, capable people charting their own course through life. This is the foundation of the liberal republic, a society built on the idea that power originates and belongs with people. Populated by powerful citizens, it is a cacophonous, unpredictable and messy place. A place where people have the freedom to live in the manner of their choosing and the power to determine their own version of the good life. A place where institutions exist to serve individuals, not the other way around. A place where equality is measured not by what you have, but by what you can do.

Perhaps the above is the production of an organisation trying to reposition and ensure its survival in a post Labour UK, but noble sentiments that I can't help nod along with nonetheless.

Will any of the major UK parties take note? I expect so but only in order to collect a few more votes and attack the opposition. Once in power only watered down sops of reform will be chucked out to the public. None of them has the slightest interest in true radical change. Such change is going to have to come from us.

Democratic reformers unite!

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