Democracy was first invented in Yorkshire, in 1954, after three blokes, on a lads’ night out in Pontefract, couldn’t decide whether to have mild or bitter with their giant Yorkshire pudding and onion gravy. Instead of settling their differences the old-fashioned way – with a black pudding fight to the death – as was custom round those parts; they decided on a new, and novel way, to solve their dilemma: They put it to a vote, and lo, democracy was borne. (2-1 to bitter, in case you were wondering.)
Actually, democracy is attributed to Cleisthenes in Athens in about 500 B.C. (There is also some evidence that certain types of democracy existed in parts of India prior to this.)
There are loads of different types of democracy, but the two main types are: Direct Democracy358, whereby everybody who has a vote actively participates in governing. This is what Greek democracy was all about. It’s not too bad when you only have a limited number of people who can actually vote, i.e. Athenian citizens, so – no slaves, no women, no foreigners etc. It gets a bit tricky when you have 30 million potential citizens eligible to vote. That’s why Representational Democracy359 was invented, whereby we elect people to govern for us. (Sort of like we have now in the UK, except we have a Constitutional Monarchy, which isn’t a true democracy.)
If it wasn’t for democracy, plebs like me wouldn’t have a vote. In fact, if the Tories had their way, I still wouldn’t. Which brings me on to the Labour Party360. If it wasn’t for Labour, we wouldn’t have a National Health Service to look after our citizens361 or a Welfare State362 to care for the poor and the vulnerable in society.
But… we don’t have real democracy in Britain. When you can obtain power by having less than 30% of the vote – that is not true democracy. Personally, I favour Proportional Representation363. Seems much fairer to me. Over 70% of the population didn’t vote for these nefarious Tory scoundrels. That should be testament enough.
The Tories are selling off the NHS. They’ve ostracized anyone on benefits and they’ve made a shambles of the economy by feeding the richest 1% rather than the 99% who would actually kick-start the economic recovery.
True, there are benefit fraudsters. Apparently, they cost us £1.9 billion pounds a year. How much do corporate tax fraudsters cost us? £32 billion is the answer. Go and arrest your mates, Mr. Osborne.
Here are the numbers IDS and Osborne would prefer you didn’t see:
Benefit fraud: £1.9 bn.
Unclaimed benefits: £12.3 bn.
Benefit fraud accounts for 0.7% of the total benefits budget.
Put this into context next to the £32 bn in tax evasion and avoidance.
The fact is, George Osborne has got the economy completely arseways. The best way to reinvigorate an economy is to make sure the people in the middle and at the bottom have some money to spend. In his wisdom, Osborne decided to give the money to the people who lost it in the first place and take it off those very people who could turn the country’s fortunes around.
That said, I’m just grumpy because I didn’t get my way. Which, I suppose, is what democracy is all about.