Saturday, 23 July 2011

I vote for the Dictator

I vote for the Dictator. Well actually, I don't, but plenty of people have.

It's a bit of a problem for democracy, what do you do when people negate the very principle ?

I'm not talking about the phony rigged polls where 98% vote for the President for life, but rather the tendency in some places to vote for a "strongman" to govern.

Russia is an obvious example - where support for Putin is based on him being in charge and doing whatever he wishes.  In Italy, President Bersuloni so dominates and controls the media and the laws that he is pretty much a dictator.

Even in places like Zimbabwe and Libya -  terrible dictators retain substantial support.

I am not convinced that mush can be done to tackle this problem - but to remmeber that Democracy goes beyond voting. It is about checks and balances on the use of power and active citizenship.

Democracy is a fantastic thing to see in action. People agree to pay more tax, to change how they work, to hand over wealth, to obey new laws all based on adding up the the votes cast in elections - where at least in theory, (and in the better electoral systems) each vote is equal
and everyone only has a single vote.

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