You may well believe that you live in a democratic society; which in part is true, because that’s the historically conditioned illusion you sleepwalk into at election time.
But that’s where the democratic buck stops. Beyond that point autocracy kicks in and your voice no longer has any relevance when it comes to important national issues.
Basically the government of the day will do whatever anyway and there’s realistically little or nothing you can do about it until the next election, when you get the further opportunity to vote them out. By which time of course it’s far too late to reverse any decisions made which you may have disagreed with.
So, forget any idea that we live in a meaningful and inclusive democratic society, because we don’t.
If we did all live in a meaningful and inclusive society the “no decision about me without me” speech by David Cameron wouldn’t have resulted in thousands of NHS staff, patients and unions marching in protest through the streets of England with banners and placards held high.
Neither, arguably, would our NHS be in the tatters we now find it. I find it rather ironic that a sick NHS is co dependent on sick people, like one chronic alcoholic trying to enable another. It just ain’t gonna work! That’s my ten penneth, for what it’s worth.
The fact remains that there is an almighty chasm between central government and the have not’s of the remaining population, and it’s an entrenched outdated means of autocratic division which separates and controls the masses under the guise of a democracy which we have robotically allowed to happen through conditioning. Like brushing our teeth we don’t think of it, we just do.
Here in Bristol, as indeed elsewhere in England, we pay money into city hall for services which we use and benefit from and is taken as read, accepted, and all is fine and dandy. Or is it?
Let’s say for instance, that you hand over £1000 of your hard earned income to me to invest for you over the course of a year. Surely you would want an indication from me as to what I was proposing to do with your investment from the very beginning; and how I would spend it on your behalf?
Or would you allow me to go on some kind of a spree and report back once I’d spent it, twelve months later?
As a further example, let’s say you hand over £10,000 to me for the purposes of giving your home a makeover while you went off on a two week holiday. Prior to this we’d had a meeting where all the work to be done was discussed and agreed, and then on you’re return I’d carried out unspecified work which hadn’t been agreed and what was your reasonably nice home before you left was now a complete disaster area? Or the money you’d paid me for new double glazing was now a swimming pool and hot tub in the back garden?
Well, if you can relate to either of those examples then you have a pretty good grasp on political governance. Welcome.
I find it extraordinarily bizarre that in twenty first century England we have such an antiquated and well beyond use by date system of governance, where without question we are still expected to hand over cash with no prior consultation as to what it will be used for, and where we have been given some indication of what it may be used for it is then applied elsewhere!
So, it seems common sense and perfectly logical to me that as the consumers of services we are paying for, we should have consumer rights and be given the opportunity to say exactly how we want our money spent. Up front.
In fairness, Bristol City Council does provide opportunities for feedback in a number of different ways and I’m by no means dismissing that, and it may well be disingenuous to use the term of ‘tick boxing’ as being wholly descriptive of current methods used to gain feedback and shape service provision.
From my own personal experience of co-working with the council in health and social care I have nothing but praise for the dedication of staff who laboured tirelessly to vastly improve service provision, and I have no hesitation at all in stating that.
However, in my view, meaningful public involvement falls short on inclusivity and is therefore undemocratic, because the wider Bristol resident community are completely overlooked when it comes to the really important issue of what is after all, public money being invested into City Hall via local taxes: and how that money is spent.
My aim as mayor would be to bring social cohesion and fairness to a divided city.
John Langley is an independent candidate for Bristol mayor.
Bristol24/7 is hosting a mayoral hustings featuring all candidates at The Lantern at 7pm on Thursday, April 28. Entrance is first come first served. For more information, visit www.colstonhall.org/shows/mayoral-hustings/