Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Demos = people
Kratos = strength

And you see the thing about democracy is it is flawed. All the systems of government we have come up with so far are flawed. Democracy is the least flawed. But it isn't perfect.

In 1974, and remembering I was only eighteen then, I recall a vox pop with a crowd at election time. A man was interviewed in the street:

Interviewer - How did you vote?
Man - Labour.
Interviewer - May I ask why?
Man - Because I think it's about time someone got rid of pompous Mr Heath.

Now the Heath government I probably saw through the rose-tinted spectacles of my parent's voting intentions, but I don't think it was all bad. One of the things that brought the government down was the massive size of various pay-claims in a time of relative prosperity. I remember observing that the merchant seamen had asked for a 90% rise and were striking when it wasn't met. Prime Minister Ted Heath spoke with a plum in his mouth, conducted orchestras and sailed yachts.

What I learned then was about that flaw in democracy. People could vote against a party or person for any number of stupid reasons. Silly facial hair had to be removed from the New Labour front bench because it was a vote loser. Accents needed to be dumber (George Osborne apparently now learning this).

Which brings us via the Eurovision song contest, a vote each year about the popularity of various countries and nothing to do with music, to John Sergeant. Sergeant has walked off (he couldn't dance off so I am told) TV's Strictly Come Dancing, because the democratic rights of the people kept being exercised to keep a lumbering oaf on a programme because he was more entertaining than the real dancers. Tough titty.

I wouldn't advocate drawing lots to find a new Rector of Nailsea but thankfully this is the Church of England and so the appointment is not being done democratically anyway. We will get no worse an incumbent for that, if TV phone votes are anything to go by.

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