POLITICIANS of all stripes do a damn fine job of blaming everyone but themselves, and the groups they favour, for the woes of the world. However, if you take off party political blinkers (a fashion accessory our ruling classes love you wearing) and adopt the stance of the little boy who pointed out that the Emperor was very naked indeed, you’ll see that it’s politicians who are themselves the danger, not anyone else.

Every day proof is piled upon proof that it’s those in power and the parties they spring from which cause the troubles that beset us – both at home and abroad. Politicians lie and divide – that’s their modus operandi – in order to take power, keep power and help those who got them to power. It’s not public service, it’s self serving.

Over the last 48 hours, three events, among the thousands I could have selected to make my point, stood out as exemplars of the failures and dangers presented by the political class.

Let’s start here in Scotland. The SNP wants to put slogans like ‘Vote SNP for IndyRef2’ on the ballot paper for the May elections. Even as someone who voted Yes at the last referendum, I find the move utterly appalling at a time of pandemic. It shows precisely where the party’s interests lie. Any government should be concentrating on picking up the pieces post-Covid – bringing the country together. Regardless of anyone’s position on the constitution, it’s as clear as day that referenda divide nations.

In these grim times, neither Holyrood nor Westminster offers vision

Only 25% of Scots want another referendum this year, which means most independence supporters don’t want to stagger into constitutional turmoil after the season of death and misery we’ve just endured together. Clearly, the SNP is aware that its woeful record in government (the best it can boast of when it comes to schools is a ‘stagnating’ education system) is nothing to peddle to the people, so all it has left – after the disgraceful civil war between the Salmond and Sturgeon factions – is another ride on the constitutional hobby horse. It’s a cynical move, chucking red meat to Scotland’s increasingly hysterical alt-nat faction.

Like many who voted Yes in 2014 (any may do so again if the case can be convincingly made) I’d like another referendum at some point, but not now, and certainly not this year. The SNP has to show it can fix the countless lives broken by Covid first – prove that they really care for the jobless and grieving.

Let’s move to London next. Boris Johnson’s latest great project is to increase the UK’s nuclear stockpile, not only ending 30 years of gradual (pitifully slow if truth be told) disarmament, but also ‘spaffing’ – to coin the PM’s favoured phrase – billions up the wall.

This amid Covid? How will this rebuild a better world? All it does is allow Britain – lonely and shiftless post-Brexit – to suck up to America as a well-armed pet ally. And then what? How do nukes further us as a fairer nation? As the old saying goes, people want butter not bombs. But big business likes a bomb, and the Tories like big business, not little people.

Now let’s cross the channel to the capitals of Europe where a series of incompetent and useless national leaders – chief among them France’s Emmanuel Macron – are effectively bowing to the madness of the anti-vaccine lobby. The absurd, anti-science decision by a number of European governments to suspend use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has to rank as one of the most dangerous political moves of recent times.

What’s happened in Europe over the use of vaccines makes this very passionate European and dyed in the wool Remainer feel rather less passionate and quite faded in the wool.

Would America have descended into the carnival of hate it became if it wasn’t for the words of politicians? People – at least most of us – want to just get on, to rub along together. Politicians come with their pet hates and cock-eyed schemes and foist division on us. Politicians quite simply turn us against each other. They’re bringers of hate and people are sick of hate.

Clearly, the above examples are all of wildly varying degrees of magnitude, but they reflect the general problem: divisiveness, danger and stupidity.

At this point, you’ve every right to say: “So what’s your answer then? Isn’t party politics the best we’ve got in a democracy?”

In defence, I’m trying to diagnose a sickness rather than prescribe a cure. But if it’s a cure you want, there’s some suggestions out there.

Around the world’s free nations today there’s a nascent movement starting to take shape which wants to reform democracy so it’s fit for the 21st century. I feel myself very much part of that movement.

Democracy isn’t static – it must and can improve. When Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, it took until 1918 for women over the age of 30 to vote. That’s a long time, but today we envision democracy impossible without universal suffrage.

Right now, there’s radical thoughts at large for repurposing democracy – not just ideas like a ban on party political donations or the imposition of real electoral reform, but a vision for fundamentally reshaping how we best govern ourselves.

Scottish politicians play with fire by using the language of war

The most exciting idea is ‘sortition democracy’, where members of the public are selected (almost like a jury system) to work as part of the legislature. It sounds absurd at first, but let me put it this way: at the moment we’ve an unelected House of Lords filled with party political cronies. Why shouldn’t folk like you and I be chosen at random to fill those seats for two or three years? Would we do any worse? Might we hold assemblies like the Commons and Holyrood to much better account? Why might a plumber, writer, nurse, or teacher not do just as well as some has-been flunky who kissed the right behind and greased the right palm?

The 21st century presents us with many problems and opportunities – all of which depend on how we govern ourselves. Perhaps, I, and others like me, don’t yet have the solution to how we fix our problem with the political class, but of this I am sure: party politics and politicians are the problem.

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