On this, the 95th anniversary of one more wishy-washy unfulfilled political promise, it is time to stop dodging, stop delaying and stop equivocating. Either we live in a democracy or we do not.
Although we are in the privileged position of being able to make the token gesture of electing into the executive the crÃƒÂ¨me de la crÃƒÂ¨me of the nation’s obsequious, oleaginous and devious psychological oddballs, this simply isn’t enough.
We have an entire chamber of parliament, one that, when its members can be bothered to turn up to do more than claim expenses, actually has more than an iota of influence on the country’s legislation, that is mostly-hand-picked by a prime minister who has shown significant signs of being utterly mad. There are still 92 dear old fellows in there by virtue of their ancestors knowing how to wield a claymore, or how to order a minion to fire a cannon into some dastardly foreigners to bloody effect.
Taken as a whole, the members of the House of Lords are expensively-educated, well-spoken, courteous and have (token political appointments aside) achieved something tangible in their short spell on this planet. They’re thus the most unrepresentative group of people in the whole country. What right, therefore, do they have to tell us, or tell our directly elected government what we should be doing?
They are revered, mainly among Daily Mail readers and other such types, for their rectitude, wisdom, and fancy garb, which the reverers one day hope to don themselves.
These people know nothing. Wisdom doesn’t reside in so-called ‘experts’ and underneath strange off-white wigs. Wisdom resides in crowds, not in cliques of people that operate in a polite little world that hardly ever changes, save for the odd dip into a dinner suit, listening to classical music, reading books with ubiquitous black spines and talking about class as if it is something to be cherished. I have nothing against these folk, of course, but this is politics: you need street-smarts, not Cicero.
You also need passion. Anger. Envy. Rivalry. Virtues decried and denounced by our dear unelected Lords as inhibiting and unnecessary. Nothing’s ever going to be done ‘right’, so why waste time trying? Much easier and more expedient to concentrate the effort on emasculating the enemy, the people that would make things even worse.
Champions of an anti-democratic chamber are also always going on about ‘experts': smart people, unleashing their intellectual power on us in the name of the Greater Good. An expert, by definition, is something of a specialist. You want a chamber of parliament full of specialists? Don’t be daft. Not only would that cost a tremendous amount of cash, as they’d be so bloody many of the bastards, but we’d have people with a super-specialised knowledge of one thing voting on all sorts of other shit. Which is asking for trouble; some ‘experts’ are like those autistic kids that can multiply together 7 figure numbers in their heads, but can’t work out how to bowl a cricket ball. What does an engineering genius who’s lived his life guided by a physics book know about child-care?
Some anti-democracy people are smarter than that of course Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they say a big fat ‘no’ to these experts. Instead, they clamour for indistinct lovers of knowledge, philosophers, astonishingly insightful apolitical animals. However, if they were that clever, they’d be lying on a beach somewhere and we’d be left with the pretenders. And nothing’s worse than a pretend smart-arse.
No. There is only one sensible, sane option. We have to elect the Lords.
Detractors will object that hardly anyone will bother voting, that the whole thing will be another party-political farce. So what if hardly anyone can be arsed voting? Ignore them. There were about 350 people in my college at university, all living within 10 minutes of each other. Did I know them all? Did I bollocks. Half of them were working all the time, and were thus rightly ignored. One of the joys of democracy is that it gives people the choice to stay away and in doing so weights the thoughts of those with an unusual attachment to political affairs more heavily than those with better things to do.
It is refreshing that after so many policies seemingly designed to take power away from the people, and legislation away from anything resembling sensible, there finally appears to be a chance to set something straight, a chance to take an obviously faulty area and reform it for the better.
If anything, this penchant for real democracy hasn’t gone nearly far enough. Too many important jobs and positions of influence are allocated in a manner at odds with the people that provide the custom.
The Nobel Prize committee is shamelessly elitist. It, like, totally removes any legitimacy any of its winners think they might have. Being judged worthy by other worthies is all sweet and lovely, but what does it mean for the rest of us? It’s almost like the mass of mankind isn’t capable of knowing about such things, which is both mean and nasty.
It’s the same everywhere. Senior doctors and consultants are appointed by a small group of men and women that claim to know what they’re talking about. Didn’t stop Shipman, though, did it? Put to the vote, a man with such a manky beard would never have got a job outside Lib Dem HQ.
The best men and women for the job are always those the most careerist of politicians deem worthy enough to put up for the job, and those that the 20% with most time to kill in each appropriate region can be made to agree with. Entrusting our ‘betters’ to do the appointing for us is a relic of a foolish and naÃƒÂ¯ve age.
No. When it comes down to it: You can never have too much democracy.