“They say the elephant never forgets
And counts the children he begets
The females can recall the pain
And yet give birth again and again
Nature trumps the memory
Remembering is secondary
When instinct overtakes the beast
Copulation is nature’s feast…”
From Terry Marco Polo by Bachchoo
Posing as a champion of the truth you tell the biggest lie.
As the defender of democracy, you gaily spit in its eye.
The British media estimates that about 160,000 members of the Tory Party will vote in the leadership elections to take place in a week. The majority of these will choose one of the two candidates offered to them by Tory MPs and crown him or her leader and therefore the new Prime Minister of the UK.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has a population of 66 million people. 613 Tory MPs will, through a process of elimination of the 11 MPs standing, choose two candidates and then the approximately 160,000 members will choose the PM who will be responsible for implementing the “will of the people” to leave the European Union. This will was expressed in a 2016 referendum by a vote of 51.9 versus 48.1 who voted to remain.
A quick mental calculation tells me that the number who will choose a Prime Minister to rule a country of 66 million is 0.0024242 of the population (Okay, that was a lie — I mean I used a calculator!). And this will be done with trumpet blasts by the Tories in the name of democracy.
The present farce of Britain’s politics means the “dem” in that word, which stems from the Greek “demos” — the people — should read “hyp” — which stems from the Greek hypocrisis — meaning to play a part.
The entire fiasco, over the last three years of this “democratic” decision of the British voting population to leave the European Union, brings the D-word into severe disrepute. That’s the serious aspect of the fiasco — but there’s another.
I for one, gentle reader, have stopped watching situation comedy on British TV in these last few months. For laughs, I turn on the news and current affairs programmes which feature the much more amusing shenanigans of Brexit, of parliamentary bickering over it, of the hypocrisy of the resigned Prime Minister Theresa May and of the twists and turns of the now 11 Tory MPs who aspire to be voted leader and walk into 10 Downing Street without a nod to the “democracy” in whose name they are standing for the leadership.
The farce went explosive this week when each of the candidates had — through revelations threatened in the media — to admit that at some point in their previous lives, they had indulged in illegal drug-taking. Michael Gove, a previous education minister who introduced a law which stipulated that if a schoolteacher was caught snorting cocaine, he or she would be dismissed from the profession for life, was himself exposed as a cocaine user.
Mr Gove said he regretted his mistake in snorting the exhilarating Charlie when he was a journalist, before he was a minister, but the press wouldn’t let it go. One of his colleagues said he’d still vote for him to be Prime Minister because “very many MPs snort cocaine!”
In the wake of the exposure of Mr Gove’s indulgence, if not habit, Rory Stewart, another candidate for the prime ministership and an ex-soldier stationed in Iraq, admitted that he had smoked opium while on duty there. Then the current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, another candidate for the leadership, admitted to the press that he had smoked cannabis but regretted it now.
Mr Gove’s colleague, who said the drug-taking may interest the media items but would not affect the way MPs will vote, is probably right. Drugs and the illegal trade in them claim the lives of hundreds of young, mostly black, gang members who shoot and knife each other in the UK’s cities in gang-rivalries over drug territories. MPs live in the customer sphere of this underground industry. Safe, and safely hypocritical.
Democracy was defined as government of the people, for the people, by the people. Churchill went on to say that it’s the least-worst system we’ve evolved.
The Brexit referendum has raised important questions. Does democracy work if voters are led to believe that when there’s no bread there will be cake? Does it work when the instruments of dissemination of news and opinion are mostly in the hands of those who will profit by one verdict? Is a referendum result final and forever or can it be reversed or reaffirmed after years when hundreds of facts, figures and consequences come to light which inevitably change minds? Britain has a fixed-term Parliament, so if the country voted for one party to rule, it could in five years vote that party out. This ain’t China!
Brexitwallas played on the xenophobia of sections of the British public. “Take back control of our democracy” was their slogan, and to the majority of supporters, it meant keep the foreigners out.
And now these champions of democracy allow a Prime Minister to be installed through the votes of 0.0024242 per cent of the population. Oh yes! The people have spoken. All 0.0024242 per cent of them!
The final irony (or perhaps not) is that in the name of defending the right of the British Parliament to pass all of Britain’s laws, the Brexiteers voted this week to suspend the operation of Parliament so that the new Prime Minister can push through a no-deal Brexit without getting it passed through Parliament. The very perpetrators of the leave campaign whose main platform was “take back control” — meaning let the Westminster Parliament be supreme — have now passed into law a means by which that Parliament can be “prorogued” and the Prime Minister can dictatorially take the UK out of the EU on the worst terms for its economy, future and place in the world.
O tempora, O mores! You’ve got to laugh.