Blindland (5) Democracy: A Delusion

We are, we are told, living in a representative democracy. We have the right to vote inthBWNZL3F9 elections at national and local level to elect our representatives. The question is how represented the ordinary person feels or actually is represented. Are we the subject of just another delusion?

So who rules, the people or THEM? ‘Them’ is a hazy word because democracy is a concept shrouded in haze. There are so many mouths jabbering at us that sometimes we get confused by the confetti of ideas and promises that rain on us. Politicians may promise much but they deliver little. They are brothers in arms with just a hint of a different colour of tie. It doesn’t seem to matter who’s in power the working class get stuffed either because it’s our fault or we brought it on ourselves.

The true masters of the universe are the Overlords as they have the means to bewitch their underlings, politicians and the Gibbers – money, status and a gleam of power. You will not find many ordinary working class people in the halls of power unless one is highly regarded in one’s club, assuming one is allowed to join.

In America you will need a gold mine to be elected and of course the backing of one’s club. Hundreds of $millions are spent by opposing parties to have their man elected. The vast majority of people can’t even afford the club fees never mind the suits you would have to wear. Nor can Joe Bloggs afford the time off work to fly to every state to flaunt his stuff.

Elections in America are all about money; it’s a game by the rich for the rich to stay rich. It’s the same no matter which democratic country you live in. The Overlords don’t have the time to oversee the day to day business so they have managers: we call these guys politicians.

All political parties are formed in a pyramidal system, as is society. At the top is a cabal of leaders who dictate policy. The leadership (UK) can and do impose candidates on constituencies and all female shortlists. Leaders can break the rules – grassroots can’t. Their preoccupation is spelled out clearly by H.L. Mencken, “Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right”.

thKGW4YVRMThe hypocrisy of democracy is evidenced by the scale of lobbying. Note this example of Australia, “Over the past twenty years lobbying in Australia has grown from a small industry of a few hundred employees to a multi-billion dollar per year industry”. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying Lobbying circumvents the very essence of democracy as industry seeks to gain an advantage their vote could not bring. The businesses that use Lobby companies would not spend the money if it didn’t pay dividends. Lobbying is thus anathema to democracy and should be banned!

The superior position of the Overlords is more glaringly obvious today with the continued growth of multi-national companies. These big boys can dictate government policy by deciding where they will locate a segment of their empire. Such a development has lead Bryan Gould (ex-Labour) to say, “The uncomfortable truth is that democracy and the free markets are incompatible.” Guardian Nov: 26 2008.

History tends to support the view expressed by Gould which therefore suggests that most attempts to reform the system will be negligible. Excited left-wingers can howl at the moon as long as they like. They can bark furiously at the Overlords but no decision on reform will manifest itself without the nod from above. Therein lies the paradox which gives credence to Gould’s assertion.

Can capitalism meet the needs of all? The short answer is no! We cannot all be rich under a capitalist umbrella. Research will show that in any war or recession the cost will be borne by the poor – without exception. It would prove impossible to share the world’s goods equitably. The 20% at the bottom are the scaffold that holds the edifice upright. This is true of individual nations and of the world as a whole.

We can give charity but that approach is a double negative because you can never solve the problem of poverty. For over 60+ years we have poured money into Africa, possibly $2 trillion into the Horn of Africa alone and the problems still persist. Even if Africa could be lifted out of poverty another black spot will emerge elsewhere. We give to charities believing we are making a difference but nothing seems to get better. Unfortunately charity is not a solution; we are being duped (twice) but it does take our mind off the problem temporarily. Charity organisations are now big business like any other business employing thousands. The guys at the top of the charities earn more in one year than ordinary Joe will over 15/20 years.

“Democracy cannot flourish half rich and half poor, any more than it can flourish half free and half slave”. Felix G. Rohatyn, investment banker. www.izquotes.com

The Human Rights Act 1948 (HR) is paraded as the panacea for the future of all. HR thO9KC4HY2was conceived to promote democracy and for the purpose of uplifting the social and economic lives of the general populace. Unfortunately, in the present political climate it seems to have abandoned its raison d’etre. As with earlier Christian, communist and socialist thinkers’ their attempts to create a better world failed because the message was corrupted by man. HR is now viewed as a political tool supporting outlandish individuals, criminals and lawyers pockets, because of this scenario the general public no longer support it and many want it gone.

We cannot all be equal in a system that by its very nature breeds inequality. Capitalism is the perfect fit for the selfish gene.

pissing

pissing

Gibbers, jabber at considerable length telling us what we should know and what we should think. As human beings we can only rationalize with what knowledge we have. Imagination may take us a step forward but it needs to be empirically tested. Media outlets cater for different layers in society; some have generated and then feed a passion for celebrity. Thus they are market oriented, without their niche market and reliance on advertisements from big business they would not survive. They are the Overlords bladder rats!

It is extremely difficult to find any objectivity in any of their presentations. Bias runs through their work like a drip-feed on a patient: we are the patient. “…the public must be barred from managing their own affairs and the means of information must be kept narrow and rigidly controlled”. Noam Chomsky

Can capitalism be ameliorated? Yes, but it cannot give everyone an equitable standard of living. The UK has proven over the past 60+ years with a welfare and health system that all can benefit, though education lags well behind. Ethics are the only bulwark against “…the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism”. Ted Heath Conservative P.M. 1970s

A set of ethics are an essential for any society that aspires to do good. Ethics are the measure of society. Of course ethics are subjective and over time they may need to be amended but ethical guidelines separate us from the Neanderthal. The authors of the Human Rights Act probably thought they had cracked it, alas they did not envisage the selfish gene.

Is there an alternative to capitalism? Not that can be seen on the distant horizon. All attempts to create a better society have proved disastrous: religion and communism stagnated under the sheer weight of their respective dogma. They were far too restrictive to allow expression and became corrupted by the army of self.

If we cannot rely on democracy then we are heading toward a new Dark Age. To forestall such an outcome politicians, the judiciary and those working in the plethora of service organisations have a responsibility beyond the confines of their job. They must ensure objectivity, transparency and honesty to help generate trust so the people can engage with the system.

Is there a way forward? There is always a way forward that is the beauty and the genius of people. No road has a dead end while we share that road with Objectivity and Reason.

Meanwhile we can take inspiration from John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. Every thinking person should have the statement framed and placed on their mantelpiece.

Take heart: “Reason is immortal all else is mortal”. Pythagoras

Bias – Management at the BBC

Over the last week or so (Nov: 2012) there has been an avalanche of criticism levelled at the BBC management and in particular on the structure of that management. Yet, no one seems to know who is in charge or who is making the relevant decisions. In an organisation so large that is mind boggling to get your head around. It makes me think of bubble wrap, a series of small pouches held together; you can pop one bubble and it doesn’t affect the others. Incredulous! The other hammer blow has come on the Corporation’s propensity for political bias.

Not only has the BBC been criticised by outsiders but internal attacks by presenters, past & present has brought a fanfare of astute observations:
• Jeremy Paxman – “timeserving and biddable managers”. I bet Paxman caused a stampede, and a few spilled cups of tea, in a dive for the dictionary to find out what ‘biddable’ meant.
• David Dimbleby – “bonkers at management level”.
• Libby Purves – “bloated and ineffectual upper layers”.
Jon Snow, interviewed on Sky News found it difficult to describe the management structure. It came across almost like a management ‘maze’. Obviously it’s a maze in need of some serious trimming, so that people can get an idea where they’re going. Others, John Simpson, Peter Sissons and John Tusa added their weight to the clamour for change at the top. These are all stalwarts of the Corporation, well respected journalists and known celebrities, therefore their voices get heard and people pay heed.
Q. Where have they been till now?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a ……….

A few more questions come to mind:
• How much does this ‘ineffectual’ management structure cost?
• Should that money not be spent on better programming?
Observation:
Was the management structure created to satisfy a – jobs for the boys/girls culture?      Or more candidly, a conscious disregard for all outside the honeycomb?

Sir John Tusa interviewed on Sky News, hinted strongly that internal candidates and those already considered for the job as Director General (DG) should not be added to any new shortlist. This suggestion should be adopted by the Government and the BBC Trust as a no-brainer!

“No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. We need to see the world anew”. Albert Einstein.

John Tusa raised another interesting point during his TV interview, when he argued that 99% of journalists at the BBC go about their work in a professional way. I would have to take that with a large pinch of salt. It seems to me that many, too many at the BBC suffer from a mindset.

It can get too much

Mindset creates a neurosis of thought that leads to blind spots in critical thinking. It stems from an idea that has gained some momentum and gradually pervades the minds of those who have no alternative vision; and so becomes the prevailing thought process of the group/organisation. This in turn allows the actors to go about their roles without any sense of guilt or reference to their critical faculties. Within that mindset a new parameter is formed and within that parameter certain practices that might otherwise have been deemed questionable, untoward or irresponsible become accepted norm. Some will then attempt to add to the new norm for self gratification (innate selfishness) to gain promotion. What Paxman would describe as biddable. What us common folk would describe as lickarses!
Mindset grows inconspicuously into a paralysis of the thought processes, hence the blind spots. People may appear perfectly sound in other aspects of their lives and rational in most instances. However, when they walk through the door to their workplace, where mindset is a contagion they adapt to the new environment. They may experience a niggle at the back of the conscious mind but that is quickly dismissed as their reality is their job. They go with the flow! Being trapped in a mindset denudes you as a person. It deprives you of your essence, your thought processes.

In all probability it was the ‘maze’ of the management structure that led to the Newsnight fiasco that later had a leading Tory castigated as a paedophile. Of course, political bias played a serpent’s role in the haste to poison the Tories. Yet such devilish behaviour is not new:

“It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.
In following him, I follow but myself.
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end;
Othello, Act 1 – S1 – Iago

Without the bias and the haste that that engendered, integrity may have broke through and prevented what followed – a sham of journalism. And thus the pack of crass hacks would not have pounced like laughing hyenas. Twits indeed!

We must expect the highest of standards from a publicly funded institution such as the BBC. Many depend on the Corporation to keep them informed. They watch the news, Newsnight, Question Time etc:. If the information or sentiment of any of those programmes is tinged with a degree of bias then subliminally it helps to form the thinking of those watching. The latter is especially true if those viewers are not regularly provided with an alternative viewpoint.
Under the Society of Professional Journalists – Code of Ethics, it reads:
• Test the accuracy of information
• Seek out subjects….to give them the opportunity to respond.
In a blog by Rob Edwards, he posted a talk he gave to the NUJ Edinburgh Branch; in his list of priorities he highlighted:
• Honesty = No 1 – Check and re check the facts= No 3
It would seem that some BBC journalists have lost their little red book of ethics.

“Information is the currency of democracy”.           

Thomas Jefferson, 1743 – 1826

If we can accept Jefferson’s statement as a foundation stone then we must build upon it. We could consider adding: honest and guarantee the integrity. You may have your own idea. Press play. There is no prize for the winner.
Every educated person must know that bias stalks you like a dark shadow. It engages you in sword play at every turn; you are duty bound to defend against it. However, that is only possible if one is not flying through the imaginary air with your secret mask on.

‘Political correctness and a pervasive Left – of – Centre mindset have infected much of its news agenda, writing and reporting’. Peter Sissons. Daily Mail Nov. 12, 2012.

Sissons, does not stand alone. We know of Mark Thomson, ex. DG at the BBC who admitted to a ‘massive’ left bias. Other instances are too numerous to mention. Surely, it must end this sadomasochism at Auntie Beeb’s? The BBC cannot be allowed to treat; its profession, the viewer, the electorate, democracy, with such contempt.

“…and the manner in which Lord McAlpine has been pursued by the Corporation bears the hallmarks of political bias that must threaten its independence”.                                         Peter Sissons, ibid.

So many great shows, so many voices remembered on rugby, cricket and football. So many belly laughs – “Don’t tell him your name Pike”. So many, so manies endangered by a gang of political hacks!