Democracy For Whom?

Unless you have been hiding down a mine for the last 18 months, the world has been bombarded by the extraordinary comings and goings of the US presidential election. The UK has had its own turmoil as the electorate voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. This led to a prime ministerial resignation and election by the ruling party of a new prime minister.
Elections are the one time when the people here entitled to decide the political direction they wish their country to take. We live in a world where talent shows ask for our vote on a weekly basis. viewers will select performers to leave these shows based in theory on the performance of the aforementioned performers.
These too are exercises in democracy or at least a form of democracy.
I have certain issues however with how the electorates are influenced to cast their vote.
The Republican candidate for US president, Donald Trump, throws accusations and makes sensational claims about his opponents. The media and his Democrat party have taken to fact checking these claims and in nearly all cases, he is found to be at best inaccurate. He never apologises unreservedly because I assume in his eyes, that is a sign of weakness. The facts are however that inaccurate information has been placed before an electorate. This is bound to affect how they eventually vote. Trump gathers large support from disillusioned conspiracy theorists, the forgotten underbelly of America and the confirmed prejudiced. His words however touch the global stage however fantastical, ludicrous or downright untrue.
The UK however is experiencing an opposite problem over Brexit. A slim majority voted for Brexit for what seems to be a multitude of reasons. The vote leave campaign promised many things since reneged on to attract the disillusioned to vote for them. David Cameron left after the vote and a new Tory party leader was elected by the party alone. Theresa May assumed power promising to fulfil the wishes of the people. She has since however stayed very quiet about how or what she intends to do. The media are full of suggestions and information based on no concrete information and more on supposition. We now have a government solely accountable to its own party with no declared strategy on how to leave the European Union. They may well have worked it all out but no one is any the wiser as to the details. No other party has been consulted, parliament is being circumvented and largely ignored. May’s administration operates almost like the KGB or Stasi with a paranoid level of secrecy and subterfuge.
This is based on the influence of mainstream media during the referendum and the misinformation put about by all parties. No one knows or knew the likely effects of leaving the EU so untruths were shouted in order to fill the vacuum.
Like the case of the US elections, this misinformation was put into the public domain where it dwells for eternity. It may not be true, accurate or reasonable but it still occupies a space.
This inaccurate material leads to social stress. Stress is often caused when a person has no control over the passage of their own lives. Society often reacts or behaves in a similar manner to the individual. Society has its strings pulled by those seeking to influence the outcome of an event. Media barons such as Rupert Murdoch dictate the direction of press coverage. This coverage is broadcast or distributed to paying customers who absorb or at least are exposed to these opinions. Murdoch is not elected however.
Society reacts to what is in the public domain. It cannot always determine the validity of this info if the distributors skew the angle at which it is put out. Just this morning, The Ecuador embassy in London has cut internet connections for its guest, Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange. His organisation are attempting to dump information harmful to the Democratic parties bid for the US presidential election. This is considered to be interference in the whole process. I am inclined to agree as the information may not be accurate or truthful but purely troublesome.
Who is out there to vet, scrutinise or hold to account all this information? Is any form of scrutiny censorship? When the fantastical, the obscene, the blatantly false is broadcast, who is there to hold these distributors to account?
I sometimes wish we lived in a less technologically advanced society where info was checked before those with agendas were allowed to broadcast it. Hillary Clinton said recently that the level of unpleasant sexual content being made public about her opponent had led her to be watching an awful lot more amusing videos of cats on YouTube.
This material eventually will lead to vast swathes of the democratic world switching off and disengaging with politics. If we are not allowed the truth, presented objectively in a manner that allows us to make an informed decision, the electorate will become only further dumbed down or disenfranchised.
Democracy is a precious commodity that millions have died for over the centuries. We must not allow the unelected, the untruthful, the unaccountable, to steal democracy away from us.Democracy


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