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Thursday, 9 April 2009


a conversation overheard at work today got me thinking. it was about some nonsense "get out the vote" type activity soon to be coming to libraries nationwide. the thing that struck me (and you'll just have to take my word for it, i can't remember specifics)was that the staff members in question (who shall, of course , remain nameless) took the idea that a) we live in a democracy and b) that, therefore 'getting the vote out' was a worthy cause, at face value. they were like likkle lambies to the slaughterhouse, so they were.

"but wait a god-darned tunnel-tootin' minute there." i here you say. "what makes you even dare imply that we don't live in a freedom loving, god-fearing democracy? you're not a terrorist are ya?" of course, like any man suddenly attacked by a straw-man i have my answer ready. in the form of a handy thought experiment...

ok let's say (for inkstains) that i live in a (parliamentary) democracy. for arguments sake we'll call this green and pleasant land, i dunno, how about england? and within the borders of this 'england' there is a constituency called 'leyton & wanstead' (for those not up to speed on the ins and outs of english parliamentary 'democracy': sodding google it, you lazy bastard). now lets say this 'harry Cohen' has a majority of 6,857. now your prospective voter has three effective options.

option 1: vote for harry.
option 2: vote for the 1 person who has any chance of beating harry (who, in this case, would be a conservative parliamentary candidate).
option 3: vote for no-one, go to the pub instead.

now how do these three choices effect what happens?

choice 1: harry wins with an improved majority of 6,858.
choice 2: harry wins with a diminished majority of 6,856.
choice 3: harry wins with his majority of 6,857 but with the added advantage of inebriation.

clearly, the wise-man's choice is option 3. so much for democracy in action, ay?

"but wait!" i hear you arks "what if you manage to get a campaign of more than 7,000 like minded people together to oust harry?" good question. if that happened we would have increased the chances of the other party gaining power. unfortunately the other party are just as bad as this lot (in fact they're arguably worse, but this is no place for politicking). they do though (and this is unarguable) have the pretty much the same idea of how to run tings: the power of the market and the lure of profit.

this is great if you think that the power of the market and the lure of profit are a good thing. but that's not a democracy. a democracy is supposed to be a place where people get a say in how their lives are run (at least i think that's what a democracy is supposed to be, having never actually seen one in action i'm making this up as much as the next guy).

however to be certain on the one point of this article i am sure of: we do not live in a democracy, never have done, probably never will. we live in a two-party state (like a one-party state but with a whole 'nother party!) trust me people, we all gonna see just how much of a sham this is when the pennies start to pinch, the shit hits the fan and we run out of oil.

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