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Saturday, 5 August 2017

A Bad Week for Democracy

For anybody who retains a belief that democracy, though a very unsatisfactory way of structuring politics, is better than any known alternative, this has been another depressing week.

Rwanda has been through the form of holding an election. The only question at issue was whether the dictator would claim a 97% or a 98% majority: beyond that, the answer was unquestionable.

Venezuela was pushed further along the path towards consolidating the dictator's power, through the charade of a Constituent Assembly.

The President of Turkey demanded the right to appear in the show trials of the people who were allegedly involved in last year's coup, as an aggrieved party. No doubt, he will have his way.

Nick Timothy, formerly head of Mrs May's kitchen cabinet, has told the Torygraph that the Conservatives' disastrous election result was due to control of the campaign being seized by the party's electoral machine, leaving the original campaign [that would have been centred on Mrs May's reforming zeal] high and dry. Be that as it may, the Tories are in a terrible mess. This situation was highlighted by the Irish Prime Minister's speech in Queen's University, Belfast, yesterday in which - quite politely - he pointed out that the government of the UK has not shown a clear hand on any major matter of policy since the electoral disaster. This drift towards departure from the European Economic Area is accelerating, even though its calamitous effect on the economy is beyond doubt.

The egomaniac rhetoric emerging from the President of the United States continues unabated, as the problems confronting his government become more clear and the impotence of the world's strongest democracy is demonstrated.

In the face of that weakness, the boldness of the North Korean dictatorship in unabated. The regime has developed considerable capacity to disable computer systems anywhere in the world, as a second string to their strategy of global blackmail. As the first string, they will soon have nuclear-armed missiles capable of inflicting damage anywhere in China, in Japan, in Asiatic Russia and on the US West Coast. The unwillingness of China to put a stop to this [despite their country's front-line vulnerability] is incomprehensible to western democrats, but it could end up in massive ransom demands from Pyongyang. The ordinary people of North Korea have been starved and enslaved to enable to country to develop its extraordinary aggressive power: they could now be rewarded by the bounty that the American people have enjoyed being handed over at gunpoint to the North Koreans. Trump trumpets that it could not happen: I am not sure!

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