Monday, January 05, 2009

Are we a bunch of passive citizens?

I can't believe that the government has been hijacked. Can you dig it?

Friday, October 14, 2005
Passive citizenship
People who are unhappy with the excessive power of government, centralized at both national and local levels, sometimes ask in exasperation “who is promoting this illiberal, anti-democratic system?”

The answer is, of course, we the people. Or, perhaps more precisely, we the voters.

Anyone who has ever stated that the government or the council should do such and such is promoting the system.

Anyone who has ever said that individual people cannot be expected to take the right decision on, say, health or education is promoting the system.

Anyone who has decided that he or she cannot be bothered to take an interest in what is going on with the defence of this country or to try to understand what powers have gone from the British parliament or the British courts to the European Commission , the Council of Ministers or the ECJ is promoting the system.

Democracy, as my colleague Richard North is wont to say, is not a spectator sport. If you do not become interested in politics, politics will become interested in you.

The most effective way for politics and politicians to become interested in you is by creating ersatz political structures that appear to be “of the people, by the people and for the people” but are, in reality, controlled by the state and its minions. This is called creating a civil society and the first successful practitioners, unsurprisingly, were Lenin’s Bolsheviks when they came to power.

Needless to say, Hizonner the Mayor, who is convinced that democracy in London is best served by him acquiring more and more power without any checks or balances, is a great believer in this process.

A seminar is being run today in the Great Glass Egg, home of the Greater London Authority and of the ever more powerful Mayor, on “Active citizenship”. There is only one problem with that idea. People who come to a seminar to be told what to do in order to be active citizens are not actually practising that. They are passive and obedient recipients of instructions and ideas about politics and democracy.

In fact, what they are becoming involved in is passive citizenship, which seems to be our fate in this country for some time to come.
Posted by OneLondon at 2:08 PM

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