Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Not in my name

For various reasons I oppose strikes on Syria. I think any serious operation would likely fail and produce unwelcome results or at the very least disperse ISIS so that Syrians themselves cannot confront and kill them. There is also the point that our commitment in real terms will be so small and so useless that it will be gesture politics of no real value.

To this, I say "not in my name". This prompts James Kirkup to lecture us on the virtues of representative democracy. He has it that: 
"Any binary political choice means one side is disappointed, doesn’t get what it wants. But being disappointing is not the same thing as being undemocratic. Representative democracy exists to aggregate our wishes into the outcome that disappoints the smallest possible number of people.
The measure of whether a decision is democratic and legitimate lies not the decision itself but the process that produces it. You may not like the decision to go to war in Syria, but your views were reflected and given voice in the process that led to it.
But the logic of “Not in my name” is that because you don’t like a decision that reflects the views of your fellow citizens but not your own, you don’t need to accept it. That is either a misunderstanding of how representative democracy works, or a deliberate decision to reject that democracy.
This is the typical pomposity of the establishment media speaking. It assumes that Westminster is an effective aggregator of views. It most certainly isn't. The debates we hear are very often incredibly shallow, omitting critical information, it's lacking depth and detail - and shows that few, if any, have given it time enough for sober reflection.

Moreover, as the Labour Party has a leadership crisis, there is posturing as part of internal power plays that determines how MPs will vote. That is how debased the commons is. A herd mentality takes root so that the end vote is nowhere near representative of public sentiment. We don't even know what the public sentiment is given that the polling is often commissioned by those with agendas of their own.

Moreover, the vote shares that many of our MP's get in on is often far less than half of the local electorate, so they have no majority mandate to speak in any case. This is not just statistical sophistry. It is a point of principle that hardly any MPs are in there with an outright mandate. 

Given how many of our politicians rely almost entirely on our media and parliamentary briefings, along with being subject to party bullying, I don't think that is any basis by which you could produce a legitimate decision to go to war, especially when our media is a festering inbred bubble full of talentless clones. They won't ask the tough questions knowing that their next job depends on sucking up to the right people. 

This evening we saw our media pouring over the debate footage, examining not the far reaching consequences of taking us to war in a theatre where Russia is presently operating - but instead to count the number of times Cameron was asked to apologise and whether Corbyn had the confidence of his party. This is coprophagia in action. 

I genuinely believe that our political establishment is so far removed from the public sentiment that it is not fit to make decisions of this very serious nature. Grown up decisions should not be handed to squabbling children. Only a referendum can produce a legitimate result.

In that respect I will take no lectures from James Kirkup. I utterly reject that "democracy" and I say as loudly as ever "not in my name". When I see a vibrant and healthy media and political structure that does not collude and conspire to freeze out voices that are not their own, and when I see decisions being made by the people themselves then I will accept the democratic will. But please can we dispense with the notion that this archaic and deeply rotten system we live in constitutes a real expression of people power?

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