LETTER: Paying lip service to ‘democracy’?
FURTHER to my letter to you of November 6th regarding planning applications, I have been pondering the question – where has our democracy gone? Many of your readers might reply – what democracy? – and I would wholeheartedly agree with them.
We are now ruled by an authoritarian government at national and local level. Those in power want to dictate to us how we should live our lives, what we can do and what we cannot do.
Our voices are now totally ignored and our wishes dismissed as irrelevant.
The people we vote for to represent us in Parliament and on local councils once elected totally ignore the opinions of those who voted for them and simply follow their party line which invariably is not what the minority of the population of this country want e.g. planning policies, renewable energy resources, membership of the EU, immigration, the benefits system etc etc.
The way we are now governed is not what the parents annd grandparents of my generation fought for in two world wars and they will now be turning in their graves to see how our so called democracy has been utterly degraded.
When, over the centuries, this sort of situation has arisen citizens have resorted to civil disobedience to regain their democratic rights, notable examples being, Mahatma Gandhi’s campaign against the Salt Laws in India, which whilst not entirely successful paved the way and set the pattern of many future campaigns across the world, e.g. Poland (Lech Walesa), Britain, the Suffragette movement for women’s votes, and the Poll Tax riots, America, Martin Luther King’s campaign for equal rights and perhaps more pertinent to what is happening in Clitheroe, the Extramurada campaign led by a Spanish Mayor, Juan Sanchez against austerity measures during which the local peasants raided local supermarkets and took over farms which demonstrated what could be achieved at local level.
These tactics have worked and it seems that this is the only way in which the voice of the populace will be acknowledged. I believe that this country has now reached the point at which its citizens must take action to regain their freedom of choice and to be represented by people who will put forward their views and wishes.
If civil disobedience is now all that is left for us I say bring it on. I do not wish to live out the few remaining years of my life unnder this sort of regime and I do not want my children and grand children to have their lives dictated to them by remote beings in Westminster and on local councils who are only interested in pushing the party agenda.
In this respect we are unfortunate to be saddled with an MP who does exactly that. He appears to have little in common with his constituents and has even less interest in their concerns as to what is happening in our town.
As a last thought, how much better would local government be if party politics could be abandoned at this level?
ANDREW J. MOORE,