Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

August 22, 2013

At least athletics is still pretty democratic

May 15, 2012

European Democracy hanging by a thread

It is naive to think that the current situation in Greece is not part of a bigger picture of socio-economic difficulties in the so-called old continent. Spain, France, Italy and Portugal are facing increased pressures to carry the burden of tough austerity measures.

But surrendering your country's finances to the IMF and German-led European Union is proving tough in Greece, which many fear can contaminate other parts of the continent with the same philosophy.

One thing has changed for sure, from a group of equals, Germany has surfaced as the dominant (lost for a better word) player is attempting again to lead Europe out of the crisis by deepening it. Something scarily familiar about this scenario, don't you think?

September 26, 2009

The foundamentals of democracy

I was surprised to see the reaction of people in the UK when they found out that in Greece you get fined and even put in jail if you refuse to vote in the general elections. They thought that it was totalitarian to force someone to vote in a democracy.

The interesting part though here is that without majority representation there is no democracy. The simplest concept of democracy is of majority rule. The majority of people support the government. However how does the government claim power when only supported by 40% of the population?

Democracy, as a way of rule, has rights but also obligations. One of those obligations is participation in the political life, with the only compulsory requirement to vote. In order to vote you would also read and form opinion during a campaign, therefore making sure that your view is also represented by a political party.

Lack of voting means that you lose your most precious democratic right and to avoid that, legislation in the first country to establish democracy enforces the obligation, safeguarding the democratic process of elections.

Pretty fair, don't you think?

August 10, 2009

Streamtime - the wave of change in Iraq

Have been following conversations on Streamtime and have to say that the mood is fast changing in the Middle East. Iraq seems more empowered than ever to make a change but how deep or when exactly is yet to be seen. What is more interesting though is that the guys at Streamtime are starting to preach to their fellow Iranians about freedom. An interesting scenario of comradeship but perhaps also a change in the Middle East political map.
The democracy 'infused' area could develop into a stable market. However the American's cannot yet pull out as there is too much at stake here.
If Iraq for any reasons relapses back to dictatorship the whole campaign would be a failure. Unfortunately for the US, once again, the only solution is to cause more war and bloodshed until the ethnic groups detach and become easier to manage.

And despite the clear and logical voices on Streamtime, more warfare could not be far.

June 02, 2009

Democracy and corruption

The reputable British economy is in tatters and whilst communist economic policies are being forced to a capitalist system, the political system itself is rife with corruption.

The MP expenses story shook the foundations of British politics like the sub-prime rocked the City.
Goes to show that the UK is not so dissimilar as some might think to the rest of the European Union and developing countries in that matter.

Whilst reaction has been very slow do you also feel that someone has picking your pocket and treating you like a fool?

May 15, 2009

UK MPs expenses scandal - how about democracy

We are hearing some really disturbing things in the UK about expense claims from the members of parliament and the problem is large. However few have said that the whole expenses system was invented to boost MPs salaries.

Although the current system needs to be changed immediately, MPs should have a rise in their salaries. Because if they are not paid top dollar, they will be easier to bribe and manipulate.

A healthy democracy needs well paid judges, policemen and politicians to avoid extensive corruption.

January 23, 2009

British Jewish MP condems Israel for Nazi tactics

No comment:

December 25, 2008

Common crime vs state crime

Greece has gone through some difficult times recently. Namely because of the cold blooded murder of an innocent 16 year old boy by a police officer in Athens. The death resulted in 5 days of riots, similar to the street riots in Paris and Los Angeles following similar acts of state violence.

The UK can be proud for its 'subjects' (this is how they call people there) because it is perhaps the single country that did not react to the murder of an innocent tax payer on his way to work.

Going back to the notion of crime I ask you this:
- When someone steals something from a shop he is a thief.
- When they kill someone they are a murderer.

When the state however performs similar acts they are given different names:
- Stealing people's money is called taxation
- When killing innocent (see Charles De Menezes) it is called 'lawful killing'.

The definition of terrorism is: The calculated use of violence or threat of violence to inculcate fear.

So let me ask another question:
Is killing an innocent guy on his way to work an act of terrorism?
Is the false claim that someone has the capability to push a button and launch an attack with weapons of mass destruction an act of terrorism?
Is the invasion of a country (against UN law) and systematic murder of it's people an act of terrorism?

If all this is terrorism and the culprits are the police, the government, the army and the dark forces aka Intelligence Agencies (a contradiction in terms) who is going to catch these terrorists?
Where are they going to take them for interrogation and torture?
Who is going to sent them to prison?

Well certainly not the jury in the trial of Charles De Menezes. Because they have been 'instructed' (another contradiction) that they have two choices:
Open verdict (aka pissing in the wind) or
Lawful killing

So in brief, an innocent man is executed. Instead of a trial, a useless 'inquest' (a trial where no one is convicted) is set-up. To complete the cover-up the judge turns the verdict into a multiple choice, excluding unlawful killing, which is the only fair outcome.

In similar fashion, the murder of a teenager in Eltham, racist capital of the UK and home of the BNP resulted in a failed trial (police decided to help the killers) and ended up as an inquest (suprise, suprise).

Justice prevails?
No, i think that Justice has gone for a walk down the pub and is having a pint or two.

December 17, 2008

Communism is the new capitalism

Funny things happen during crisis. Perhaps some of the most significant changes are the monies invested in banks by governments. One could say that making the banks partly public (state-owned) is communist or at least socialist politics.

What about the free market gents?
How about de-regulation and privatisation?

The funniest of all are the Americans, who are enjoying the peak of their economic socialism days!

Well done!

December 19, 2007

Consumer democracy : Transport for London

Ken Livingstone is a classic example of a "left-wing" politician with right-wing policies. Under his guise as a progressive thinker he has evolved TFL (Transport for London) to a massive ticket collection machine.

To his credit ticket collection has not only increased but the majority of TFL is now working on collecting tickets and issuing fines. This has resulted in great monetary gains for his track record and the organisation.

However you need to ask yourself the following 10 questions to see if his term has had a real effect on the poor business travellers:
  1. Are trains and buses running better?
  2. Have platform services improved?
  3. Are you getting to work faster and safer?
  4. When you need help, do you find staff to help you at stations?
  5. Do you feel like an appreciated customer when your ticket is checked several times on multiple locations on a single journey?
  6. Do you find a seat when you travel?
  7. Is sweating, pushing people and cursing still part of daily routine?
  8. Do you feel you are getting value for money?
  9. Has the price for your ticket decreased?
  10. Do you like using TFL to get to work or would you prefer any other method instead?
If the results are positive then you should consult your doctor... :)
Otherwise please realise that apart from ultra-modern ticket machines, ticket police that treat you like a criminal and more ticket collection offices, there is hardly anything better (if not worse) about transport in London.

Thanks Ken.


December 03, 2007

George Papandreou survives election loss

The leader of the Pan Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in Greece has survived failure to win the elections and continues to remain party president and opposition leader in the Greek parliament. His track record as Foreign Affairs minister was good, however since taking the position of party leader he has lost three national elections. His party reforms have been inconsistent and his new way of making politics incomprehensible to most Greeks.

Despite all that, party delegates as well as the general public (this is a worldwide first, as anyone who registers as a friend or party member can vote) elected him again into PASOK's presidaency.
Many argued that this is due to the old political family's brand name. Other because they think it will pay off in the future.

Many though still feel that he has yet to strike a chord of support with the majority of the Greek electorate.

August 29, 2007

Democracy on fire in Greece

I received an interesting viral email from someone in Greece that claims the forest fires are the people's fault. He is absolutely right. The bi-polar political situation between center PASOK and right-wing New Democracy has done the country no favours over the years.

The fires are a bright example of this. Not much has been done in terms of fire safety and prevention as the two main parties fight a war of words but do little to resolve the situation. The Green Party is non-existent in Greece and with no vote or say in Parliament there is nobody to push for stricter laws, more policing of woodland and modern measures to combat this plague.

So for everyone complaining about the current situation remember that you have a say in the forthcoming elections. Vote for change and things will. Keep to your traditional voting patterns and this situation will go on forever. After all this is what democracy is all about.
Failure to take action will lead to more problems in the future and worst thing is, you have nobody to blame.

March 22, 2007

Is Islam about democracy?

According to Dr Pervaiz Nazir, senior research fellow at the Centre for International Studies at the University of Cambridge, Islam and democracy go hand in hand. He claimed that muslims should not be secular to adopt democratic ways of government.

Dr Nazir, of Pakistani origin also said that instead of forcing western ideals, western countries should embrace and respect Islam.

More here.

September 20, 2006

Thai food for thought

The recent 'troubles' in Thailand have made an impression on the global political scene. The military coup has started peacefully without a single human hurt. How long is this going to last for?
Is Thailand another country that needs the Anglo-American democracy like a monkey needs his cellphone?

DNA from India reports:

In an age when democracy is spreading globally, military coups look old fashioned and archaic. Not that there are no attempts — in this century alone, there have been 18 coups, 10 of them successful — but inevitably there is pressure to democratise.

Thailand, which has a long history of coups — 17 coups or attempts in nearly 65 years — looked set for becoming a liberal democracy after the last coup 15 years ago. True, Thai political parties did not have a reputation for being clean, but ordinary Thais had let it be known, through the ballot box, that they would vote out corrupt politicians.

In 2001, they brought in self-made millionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, who promised to clean up the system. When he started making money through shady deals and tax scams, they handed him a less than decisive verdict seven months ago.

The ensuing political turmoil, in which he claimed victory while half the population and the judiciary thought otherwise, led to chaos, which could be the genesis of the current military takeover. Ironically, the country was due for elections on October 15, which could have made the picture clearer and sorted out the political stasis.

With the cancellation of elections by the junta and the declaration of martial law, the country looks set for another spell of military rule, though the army chief Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has promised a return to civilian government at some indeterminate date.

The motivation behind the coup looks familiar. Like most uniformed men, the general has sought to rationalise the action in terms of cleaning up the mess created by a civilian authority which has indulged in nepotism, corruption and the devaluation of institutions.

September 09, 2006

Arab world's rejection of Americas democracy

Outspoken Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor of the Lebanon's Daily Star is discussing Western democracy and America's efforts to impose USA style "democracy" to the Middle East:

The US is behaving as though it has the patent on "democracy." In the same way it exports Uncle Ben's Rice, Starbucks and F16s to the Middle East, it is eager to impose its own stars-and-stripes brand of "rule by the people for the people." The US wants us to believe that democracy comes in one-size-fits all like a "made in America" T-shirt. It has attempted to cloak this system of governance, which has its roots in Ancient Greece, with an almost religious aura. Those who challenge it are unfairly dubbed communists, fascists, despots or dictators.

It's time to break this contrived taboo. We must analyze America's motives in trying to remake this region in its own image. We must question whether Western-style democracy is right for us. And we must ask ourselves whether there is a better solution; a home-grown solution based on who we truly are and what we need.

Washington arrogantly tells us democracy is the only way forward for this region in spite of the fact that the Arab world has functioned without it for thousands of years, producing remarkable thinkers and accomplishments in the fields of literature, mathematics, philosophy and science.

This is not to imply that any of our governments are perfect - far from it - but neither are Western so-called democracies where citizens are often indoctrinated into believing they are free when many are not.

Full article.