Death of democracy is confirmed as Cameron ignores the will of Parliament

I’ve blogged before about how the policies adopted by the Coalition closely resemble those that brought down the Roman Empire: the depression and disinheritance of the ordinary, free population in favour of the massive expansion the power of the wealthy aristocratic elite, who moved away from paying their tax burden so that it was shifted onto the poor. This sidelining and gradual reduction in the power of Parliament also resembles another aspect of the Roman Empire: how the Roman emperors were keen to maintain the pretence of elected, democratic government while holding absolute power. Philip Augustus, when he finally overthrew the Roman republic, deliberately avoided inflaming Roman republican spirit by declaring himself king. Instead, he called himself ‘Princeps’, the origin of the modern English word ‘prince’, which meant simply ‘first citizen’. The Roman emperors placed restrictions on the senate’s freedom to discuss matters of state, as this was the cause of the party conflict that had split the Roman republic and necessitated Philip’s seizure of power in the first place. Nevertheless, the forms of democracy were retained and the Roman Emperors never dismissed the senate. Indeed, one of the later emperors once sent a message to the senate which basically told them, ‘for God’s sake, debate something!’ The Byzantine emperors similarly maintained a senate as a formal organ of government in their capital at Constantinople, although the only real democratic right the ordinary citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire had, was to lynch their emperors at the annual horse races if they could catch him…. Boris Johnson is rather keen on the Roman empire. With him arguing for the virtues of the ancient Romans, perhaps Cameron would be well advised to stay away from Ascot this year.

On a more serious note, the Tory press raised a furore when Blair was when in power and similarly adopted a lofty attitude of disdain towards Westminster. He was trying to emulate the American presidential system, and so was dubbed ‘the presidential prime minister’. Cameron and the rest of the Coalition have taken over his presidential style of politics, but with an even greater contempt for practical democracy and the ‘plebs’ it is intended to represent. And this time there is not a sound from the press. The British press likes to think of itself as ‘the fourth estate’ holding our rulers to account. This episode has demonstrated that this is another self-serving lie, and the Tory press is actively collaborating with the government in the hollowing out of British democracy. Soon parliament will be like the ancient senate: nothing but an empty shell of representative government, while the real power is held by a brutal, decadent and obscenely wealthy autocrat.

Mike Sivier's blog

Ladies and gentlemen of the United Kingdom, your plight is worsening: The government now no longer pays any attention to the decisions of your Parliamentarians.

You’ll remember that a debate was held on Monday, in which MPs called for an inquiry into the effect of changes to the benefit system – introduced by the Conservative-led Coalition government – on the incidence of poverty in this country; the question was whether poverty was increasing as a result of the so-called reforms.

Parliament voted massively in favour of the inquiry (125 votes for; two against), as reported here.

We considered it a great victory at the time, and looked forward to the commissioning of the inquiry and its eventual report.

Now that dream is in tatters as Michael Meacher, the MP who brought the motion to Parliament, has reported that nothing is to happen and the government is ignoring the vote.

It seems…

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One Response to “Death of democracy is confirmed as Cameron ignores the will of Parliament”

  1. Death of democracy is confirmed as Cameron igno... Says:

    […] I've blogged before about how the policies adopted by the Coalition closely resemble those that brought down the Roman Empire: the depression and disinheritance of the ordinary, free population in …  […]

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