Politics...yes politics; I have stayed away from writing about this subject for a while because I lost my biggest single number of ‘likes’ from my Facebook Author Page after posting something about the Greek situation. My editor seems to have forgotten the perils of the Trojan Horse and has asked me to write a blog considering which is better, the American system or the British.
It sounds like a simple request, no minefield...no risk of being ‘un-liked’. Mmmm, on her head be it, for the non-contentious is not for me.
I read many blogs and Facebook comments on how historical events have shaped our lives, but most of these are emotive assertions that, generally speaking, stray significantly from the truth in order to support the writers' arguments. So let me join the ranks of those that would rewrite history for a moment and say that if I were writing about the two countries’ political system before the early days of the 20th century, I would find it easier to be objective.
It is my belief that men of principle (yes, it was invariably ‘men’...and this fact could spawn yet another blog) were once at the helm of government...men who saw it as their duty to resign if they made a mistake. Although smoking was prevalent back then, I don’t believe that quite so many fundamental decisions were taken in the secrecy of ‘smoke-filled rooms’. I also believe that those we elected to make decisions on our behalf were those that substantively made the decisions albeit, particularly in the UK, they came from a quite narrow social class.
Today though, politics seems to be the province of the moneyed-set...we are ruled by millionaires or aspiring ones rather than conviction politicians. The last real conviction-leader of Great Britain was Margaret Thatcher and the last president of that ilk was...well, I am skating on very thin ice, so I shall plump for Theodore Roosevelt, who many have heard of but few can fault.
In the UK we have a public-school-educated prime minister ('public', oddly, is what we call private schools). Before him Gordon Brown (the man who told us he saved the world) was the last of a long-line of prime ministers educated in a now defunct though prime minister-spawning selective state system. Previously, the transient Labour success story had been the ‘public school’ educated Tony Blair, who nowadays has no friends but is richer than a chocolate cake. There was a brief flirtation with the well-meaning socialist Edward Miliband but the British people rejected him as being too left-wing. Recently the Labour party has replaced him with the even more socialist, though impoverished dinosaur, Jeremy Corbyn. The British people will never elect him, even though he is undoubtedly a man of principle because his principles are the wrong ones.
In the States, apart from the Obama aberration that has been a costly failed experiment in political correctness, past and putative presidents invariably seem to have much money and friends with disgusting amounts of filthy lucre. Without a dollar mountain or some special factor, becoming president is as likely as a Muslim being welcomed into heaven by Jesus H.
Why are we all in the hands of money and privilege rather than being led by politicians of principle? Therein lies a question that needs an answer and more importantly needs a resolution. Why do we seem to accept that those with money (or parents with money and able to send little David or wee Gideon for a private education) will be the best person for the job? I read that many US presidents were principled God-fearing men, but now their only fear is being found lacking, why should this be? Do we really believe that George Dubyah made executive decisions? Of course we don’t, but perhaps it’s even more dangerous when faceless advisers make the decisions and the president is manipulated, muppet-like, to be seen to pontificate on some world-shattering event. Is it the same in the UK and elsewhere? Are our politicians ever in charge these days or has the system irrevocably made them hand over the reins of power to big business as the price of their election?
As I have become older, I have become more cynical and that cynicism reached a new peak when the newly elected and referendum bolstered Alexis Tsipras, the socialist Prime Minister of Greece, caved in to the demands of Fuhrerin Merkel. Like many before him, he took the thirty pieces of silver and defecated on his people.
So the question my editor asked me was: ‘Which is the better system, American or British?’ My answer, sadly, is neither; I think I’d rather go for benign dictatorship...at least the ultimate sanction, assassination and real change, remains open to a disappointed public. With democracy these days it’s the same old lies, by the same elite with big business pulling the strings. God help us, because if he doesn’t, Allah soon will!
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