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Tag Archive: democracy


I was trawling through youtube and stumbled upon this gem.It made me think long and hard about American politics. I have always been fascinated by the politics of our cousins across the pond. I do not think there is any other country in the world that knows for certain when the next Presidential or Prime Ministerial elections are to be held. Americans know that every 4 years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November they will go to the hustings to choose the President. They also know that the elected President shall only serve a maximum two terms, and that his first day in Office is January 20th. (Its only been since 1951 when term of office was limited to two terms). It seems like everything is etched in stone, and it is actually quite admirable. The British PM will only call elections when they are certain they will be voted back into office, and or when the term office is officially coming to an end.I think the American method is worth considering, especially for new democracies. Especially in the Third World.

Admittedly, there is no perfect electoral system. A few years ago a film called the Manchurian Candidate, starring Denzil Washington and John Voight was released. It showed the unseemly side of American politics. There are probably 1000s of conspiracy theories when it comes to electing politicians and the President. People well-versed in Political Science would be experts in this field. Be that as it may, the American system seems relatively open. Come November, there will be another Presidential election. It will be a straight fight between the current incumbent President Obama versus the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The only fact that’s certain is that one of the 2 will be taking the oath of office come January 20th. Campaigning has all ready started and the two parties are all ready spending millions on media campaigns.

Do the voters really choose the President? Or do major corporations actually control the mechanisms of power? The big military-industrial complexes have in the past been accused of exerting disproportionate influence in the selection of the President. However, being an outsider looking in, it still appears like a system that works, and does allow voters an opportunity to have a say in who becomes the President. Albeit via an Electoral College.There are many countries where democratic elections are a farce. Wouldnt it be ideal to copy the good bits of the American system and build a good system that allows for a free and fair system of governance. It would also be ideal to limit the tenure of office to 2 terms thus doing away with the ‘life presidencies’ that seem to be the monopoly of African ‘democracies’.

The election of Prime Ministers or Presidents in the Third World is a subject that has bewildered many a people. Once someone is elected into power, they will try everything within their power to stay put. Constitutions are routinely changed or manipulated to make sure power is never transferred to anyone else. In some countries power is transferred from father to son. Like we are still living in the medieval age. Or as if they are some Royal Family. Look at Syria for instance. When Hafez al-Assad passed on, his son Bashir al-Assad, assumed power. The father was accused of massacring Syrians. The Hama Massacre of 1982 for instance, was described as the ‘single deadliest act by any Arab government against people in the modern Middle East’. Thousands of people were massacred during his reign. His son has continued this callous and brutal trend. Children, women and other innocent people are being killed everyday. North Korea has also imposed royalty on its people. When Kim il Sung (The Great Leader) passed on, his son Kim Jong-il (The Dear Leader) took over. Following the death of the Dear Leader, hi son Kim Jong-un also succeeded him. The cult of personality has been brutally foisted upon the people of North Korea. Children are taught to deify the leaders. In Africa, there is ample evidence of ‘life presidencies’ too, with octogenarians hanging on to power as if it were a life support machine. President Mugabe in Zimbabwe is a case in point. These systems of deifying ordinary men does not work It is high time the leaders are made to realise the national cake should be shared by all. They tried at Tiananmen Square,but the Government quashed the protests. The Arab Spring has been more effective in forcing the leaders to relinquish their hold on power. Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are three prime examples. However, this has come at a high cost as hundreds if not thousands have died as a result.

No electoral or political system is perfect. Britain now has a Prime Minister who wasnt even elected by the people. He is a result of a marriage of convenience between two parties. The electoral impasse meant either Labour or the Tories could form a government with the help of the Liberal Democrats, a party that has not been anywhere near gaining power for years.The Liberal Democrats could not believe there lucky and quickly jumped into bed with the Tories, their erstwhile nemesis. However, at least the political environment is free and open. people can vote for whom ever they want and Government is held accountable.

Democracy as a form of government is not perfect. Winston Churchill once described it thus: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” It is a system that will put some limits to the abuse of power, and to make sure that any bad government can be deposed and replaced peacefully.Every citizen must be allowed to peacefully take part in selection of their representatives. Voting should be a sacrosanct right for every adult. People should be allowed to freely vote who they think is the best leader, or the party whose ideologies and beliefs they subscribe too. Above all else, we should universally have fixed terms of office with no single individual (or a cabal) being allowed to circumvent constitutions and staying in office ad infinitum. Tyranny should never be allowed to fester. In an ideal world, the United Nations would have been like a policing force to safeguard people’s rights. Only in Utopia though.

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A week of Mondays

Olympics London 1908

Olympics London 1908 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday morning blues on a Monday are no stranger to reality. Daily blues everyday for 7 days are  anathema to life as I know it.

Many a week I have had to endure every morning, come Monday the feeling that I don’t wanna do nowt. I just want to curl up in bed and forget about the world. Well imagine that feeling Monday to Sunday. Is that normal? Maybe yes. But what is normal anyway?

I read a blog this morning and it became the source of inspiration for this blog.The blog’s title is ”The possibilities of Mondays‘. It made me recall the Monday morning blues, sometimes extending to Tuesday, Wednesday and God forbid Thursday. Right at this moment its been a struggle to sit and write or work out something constructive. Energy is sapped and I am generally wallowing in a sloppy-mood.

I can never claim to imagine how people feel when they are depressed. It is a personal thing. However, I feel low. The source of these blues I think was the weekend. As often it is. The weekend was high-spirited and I am certain I am kinda coming down from a high. No drugs involved I shall hasten to add. ‘It shall soon pass’, that’s what I said to myself yesterday. Well it’s not passed yet. I hope its does. I don’t wanna have a Monday morning feeling tomorrow again.

I have made a conscious effort of sorting the forest that I call my mind and note down a few things that I should do. But I haven’t done any of that yet, apart from chilling on the couch for more than the hour I had allocated myself. I am still wandering through the forest that I call my mind.  Long winded road and all that. Wandering through the forest, feeling a bit on the low side, I recalled a chance meeting I had with this certain celebrity near Soho and we ended up in the Colonial Club. It’s now defunct I have since found out. The Club was situated in the heart of Soho. Lovely place it was. We had one hell of a night there. It made me realise that although we are all in one country, we live in totally different worlds. It was raucous. It was fun, full of people of a different species to some of us.

So many stupid stuff criss-cross the brain when you are just a slobbering couch potato. I tried to watch Jeremy Kyle on telly and ended up even feeling more sorry of myself. Thinking if I don’t pull my finger out I may end u on such a show. Making a fool of myself. I have nothing against the show, or people who go on the show. However,I feel people are being exploited by telly executives who will do anything to fill up the 24-hours schedules that television is these days. Perhaps each to their own could be the right sentiment. Playing with the remote control, I finally settled on Sky sports News. The rolling 24-hour news channel. A brilliant gift to all sports-mad fans like me. Mostly men, I dare add. However, one story keeps being updated: John Terry Versus Anton Ferdinand at the City Magistrates Courts. The former is being accused of saying some bad stuff. The wise people hearing the case have to decide whether the allegation sticks or not. We can not go into the details of the case so I will not. However, one thing that’s stood out to is that footballers too seem to live in a different planet. For instance Mr Ferdinand could only speak to the Police through an agent at first. Well, well, well. I wish I had a few millions and can just turn my backside at the police and tell my minions to deal with them! If you feel aggrieved and you want the Police involved, surely you would drive to the Police station and tell them to sort it out? Different worlds indeed.

I love football. And those who know me also know I love Liverpool Football Club. YNWA. I hope we buy one or two new players and also do better the season coming. Oh, talking of sport, the Olympics will soon be upon us. London, watch out my good self and the little troopers are coming down to rock you. Got my Olympic tickets 2 weeks ago through the post. Cant wait. My only hope is there are no drug cheats. I hate it. One reason I can’t stand the Tour de France anymore. I penned a little poem to that effect. If you would like to read it its called ‘Olympics in London’. Its available here. For some strange reason I feel, especially when feeling this bluesy that there is a Poet struggling to come out of me. I just hope I am not fooling myself. Talking of the Olympics, one other wish is that  terrorists do not disrupt the Games. The Government has been very paranoid and I admit that’s permeated to us common folk as well. Lets people enjoy the games in peace. War, war, war. Why do people  fight all the time? We have never had a moment of peace for generations! The human race is on a mission to destroy itself.

Syria has now turned into killing fields. Libya was until the despot was forced out. Assad is killing little children, innocent people. The other side is killing people as well. Why do despots always think they have a divine right to leading a country. No one has. Democracy may not be prefect but surely until a better system of government is uncovered, no one should be allowed to be a PM/President for more than 10 years. Give others a chance. Syria’s killings must be stopped. If allowed to continue unfettered,this may have dire consequences for the volatile Middle East region. The people of Lebanon may suffer badly as a result. They have suffered enough. Someone ought to do something –“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (Edmund Burke).

Its true when they say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. My mind is festered with so much wicked and strange  thought at the moment. Oh and I wont share them just yet. So on that cautious note I shall sign off. I hope you enjoyed wandering through the forest I call my mind.

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