At one stage I think many of us looked forward to every nation in the world having democratic rule rather than the dictatorships which seem to be prevalent in many places. Recent events suggest that even in countries where there is what we call democratic rule there are still many problems including the ‘fair go for all’, which many of us equate with democracy, not being applied.
In Australia we have just had the first Abbott (liberal and national parties) budget. So many promises made before the election have been blatantly broken, such as ‘this will not be a government of surprises’ yet so many changes have been made which were not expected. India has a new government. Someone was surprised they had been elected considering their published platform but the comment was made there that what was promised before the election wouldn’t necessarily happen. Thailand is supposed to be a democracy but elected governments appear to be toppled regularly.
Are we getting the leaders we want? There seems to be two problems with the current way we elect our so-called democratic governments. The main one is the type of people who stand for election. If we don’t have good candidates then we won’t get good government. The current criteria for election is to want to be a member of a parliament (or whatever the ruling body is called) and to have enough support to be able to get the requisite number of votes. In Australia this largely means joining a major political party. Few people would have opinions and desires which exactly fitted a party so compromise comes in from the start. What about ideas no party has, mainly because no one at the political level has thought of them? These never get an airing even though researchers believe that they would create a better and more prosperous country for all.
Another factor may be that particular types of people are drawn to this role and these are not necessarily the best leaders. Their psychological health is questionable. They are drawn to the job by their sole need to have power over people and self prestige.
The second factor is the knowledge people bring, or don’t bring, to the role. Very few, if any, people who want this role bring anything but out-dated knowledge with them. Most of them haven’t been to University for decades and have to rely on personal learning, if any. This means that modern ideas and theories about so many issues by-pass our politicians. None of them believe in formal life-long learning despite the fact that all are conscious that the world is moving forward at rate never seen before. This is why there is still debate about climate change, including among our politicians.
With the current Abbott government they apparently still believe that progress should only be in the hands of the favoured few and that the rest of the population doesn’t really matter and we can kick them ever further downwards. History tells us this doesn’t actually work. The plagues and the fires in London hit every one, not just the poor.
We are on this world together and we should be working together for everyone, not just the favoured few. It is people with ideas such as this who should be running for, and being elected to, our governing bodies. Then I believe we would have genuine democracy with everyone being given the opportunity to contribute to their country and the world.