Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Plurality

There are again remarkable and unfortunate similarities between the political scenes of my former and current home...

Of course there are enough scandals around British political elite at the moment, and even the MP's expenses scandal pales in comparison when looking at the problem of the average voter: who would one vote for, when the Labour Government is thoroughly discredited, the opposition is playing a game of so vastly unsubstantiated resounding claims that even Joe & Jane on the street can see through them...

In the meantime, the extreme right is gaining popularity, people are turning away from the major parties and considering voting for 'whoever else'... combine this with the fact that many thought the fascist BNP had made 'good points' during their leader's recent BBC appearance...

There is a deep sense of pointlessness in this, and many on the street feel that this so-called democracy works only in its basic mechanical elements... once they vote for somebody to get into Parliament, or heaven forbid, ends up in Government (or acquires peerage as in the case of recent shocking cases of 'celebrity' business personality twits like Lord Alan Sugar), there is no control over what they do any more.

They can commit fraud on vast scale, cheat, steal and on a milder front, 'just' introduce legislation that would make even Stalin proud (just look at Home Office ministers' activities).

It is quite a tragic state of affairs when e.g. The Sun, a tabloid that has 9 million readers (no wonder, as it pairs 'political analyses' with page-three naked girls) pulled such cheap propaganda stunts against Gordon Brown that even their brainless readership resented it... When the readers of The Sun think of something on those pages as a 'cheap shot', well, that is quite an event in this sorry segment of media...

In Romania, plurality works equally well in its version of democracy.

During the current presidential elections, still ongoing as they need a second round, the main candidates are all ex-communists with either Securitate connections in the dark past or 'just' names from high echelons of the former Communist party.

Also the difference between the two main candidates that stand a chance of winning is marginal, both are mega-Mafiosi with a trail of corruption behind them that is simply mind boggling.

The discussions of the electorate on blogs and comments on national newspapers' web pages is as disillusioning as the British counterparts' are. Many see no point in voting and wonder who they could vote for 'just for the heck of it'.

It is also quite tragicomic how even the BBC gets it wrong... their article on the Romanian elections was fantastic, as they said, for example, that Geoana (the one people just call 'the village idiot') is proposing a vibrant and dynamic package for getting Romania's economy back on track.

Well, that dynamic package comes from a truly idiotic (seriously...) person who, for example, promises vastly increased salaries and pensions at the same time with vastly reduced taxes.

So maybe he could go from illiterate idiot (makes W. look like a genius, seriously) to a Nobel prize winner in economics...

Therefore there is quite little difference between the two political landscapes in terms of just what actual democratic exercise can be performed to elect the country's leaders... just that in the UK there is still some feedback loop and some actions have some consequences, while in Romania, well... anything goes.

People there actually believed and voted for Geoana, which means that, after we recover from the spasms of laughter caused by his electoral programme, we can give brownie points to good old Churchill... who said that the best argument against democracy is a 15-minute chat with the average voter...

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