Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Global democracy

In China, 1.3 billion people can vote so long as it's for a Communist.

In Russia, 141.9 million people can vote for whoever they like as long as Vladimir Putin agrees with them.

In Saudi Arabia, about 12 million women can't vote for another three years unless the king changes his mind and they object to him appointing or unappointing them from his council at whim.

In all 88.7% of the world's population doesn't have the right to vote for whoever they want without being bullied, killed, coerced or made somehow illegal. That's 6.1 billion people out of a total of 6.9 billion on the planet who don't get the say we all take for granted, sitting here reading whatever we like on the internet on whizzy computers.

In the country I live in there are 47 million people registered to vote in local elections, there were local elections held last Thursday, and less than half of them will bother to do so.

That's around 24million people not helping to decide which unqualified tosspots will be deciding on digging up their street, imposing one-way systems, collecting their rubbish, running their swimming pool, taxing their house, maintaining the street lights, running libraries and deciding how cheap their state-provided carers should be and how many minutes is enough to get someone out of bed, wash them, feed them, and wipe their bum.

Yet those 24million people aren't disbarred from using any of those services or complaining if they think they are rubbish. And lots of people tend to think that if someone is issuing taxes, then you get to have a say in how they spend it.

The trouble is that democracy, once it's won, is taken for granted and local democracy is just painfully dull. Nothing seems to change, so what's the point in voting? Well there's one thing that's changing, which is that fewer and fewer people can summon up the enthusiasm to put a 'X' in a box.

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