What’s wrong with democracy?

I am prompted to write this after listening to Rory Bremner’s entertaining One  Question Quiz this evening.    I will leave to another post my riposte to James Burke’s dystopian view of a future of universal abundance enabled by nanomachines.

Yes, dear reader, I am a Radio Four listener.

Satire asks important questions and stimulates the listener’s imagination to political answers.

Democracy as an ideal towards which all  governments and systems of government are an approximation, some closer than others, is doing OK. Democracy as implemented in so-called democracies is not and is in danger of bringing disrepute upon the ideal.

The cancer upon democracy is its corruption by money. While the result can be so strongly influenced by those with deep pockets, it disaffects those who should vote and the turnout falls.

The cure, for this particular cancer, is simple but painful. Democracy must cut it out.

There is a radical solution and a slightly less radical one. The truly radical is to eliminate money altogether; and I shall ignore it for now but it might be germane to Mr Burke’s dystopia.

The less radical one is to forbid political parties to receive any donations at all other than the subscription of their members. Thus, to govern, instead of soliciting donations and returning favours from corporations, they will have to do so from people.

This rule should be enforced by the simple expedient of making the parties publish their accounts in real time.


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