It may seem to Nick Clegg the correct thing to do after Gordon Brown has apologised for his “bigot” remark is to be the proper gentleman and suggest we put it behind us. But Brown’s unguarded remark reveals how much contempt he has for ordinary people and reminds us why we want and need change. It is the breathtaking arrogance of so many of our masters in Parliament, exemplified by the expenses scandal, that has us so riled. This government has signed-over our rights to Europe and denied us the right to have a referendum, they won’t even have a debate on whether to have a referendum. They sign into Law new legislation by Order in Council, evading even the minimal scrutiny this lame-duck Parliament gives to anything these days. They even told us flat-out lies in order to get support for a war that all the evidence suggests was illegal. No, Mr Clegg, you are wrong. That gaffe goes to the very heart of the problem; we want to be listened to, we want our opinions heard, we are not bigots. If you don’t know that, then you don’t really understand us.
I was thinking in the aftermath of the Bhutto assassination that we hadn’t really succeeded in leaving a legacy of democracy behind as we pulled out of former colonies and left them to rule themselves. Then I wondered, “What does it take for democracy to work in the Third World?” Then like a thunderbolt it hit me – we don’t even have democracy in this country, so who am I kidding? Describing Benazir Bhutto’s murder as a “sad day for democracy,” as Gordon Brown has done is risible. It is a monumental disaster for Pakistan and a huge setback for world peace. A “sad day for democracy” was when Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister without an election.
So while we wait helplessly for the bloodbath to ensue in Pakistan, let’s consider the miserable state we’re in. We watch the news and we read the papers and we lament. A lying, incompetent government signs away our freedom to Europe without so much as a by-your-leave. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. They are quite literally shameless. But what can we do about it? The Conservatives only promise incremental change, a little less tax here, a little less legislation there, but our future has already been signed away to the EU. The daily diet of cock-up and corruption distracts us from the more serious problem; democracy in this country has broken down. The question is, can we fix it or should we replace it?