NEWS that only three people tuned in online to a live debate at Bristol City Council will disturb those who care for democracy.
I doff my sombrero to these three doughty dudes. Clearly, they're aficionados of cult entertainment.
There's much fun to be had watching meetings of the public authorities, whether local councils or the Scottish Parliament (once compared to an English parish council by one Blair, T).
Here be men in suits and women in frocks lobbing insults at each other and sometimes even debating the issues of the day. I don't know why they bother. No-one pays any attention. If there are any press present at First Minister's Questions, for example, it's merely in the hope of gaffes. Yet this bunfight is the culmination of the political week.
I sometimes wonder what Alex Salmond does all day. He doesn't seem to speak up for Scotland all that much, when insults are rained on our heads hourly, often by the Scots themselves in their capacity as most peculiar people on Earth.
Sometimes I think he just spends the week swotting for FMQs, which few people watch and which often seems little more than a hatefest for the three united opposition parties.
In Bristol, meanwhile, questions have been raised about the cost of the online broadcasts: £100,000, the sort of round number we've come to expect from public expenditure. Officials there insist it has been a "huge success" and anyway, even if it hasn't, they're duty bound to make local democracy accessible.
Democracy is a comical concept. Apathy has redefined it as the right of the masses to decline the opportunity to have a say in their own future. Still, no-one's invented anything better, and it behoves us all to take a look at it in action once in a while.
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