Tim Flinn: Parliamentary democracy has reached its sell-by date

A recent BBC4 Storyville, The Accidental Anarchist concerned a former Foreign Office high flier. He became so disillusioned with the lies he was expected to tell and the truths he was paid to suppress, and with the horrors inflicted upon innocent civilians by the uncaring political/military juntas of the UK and the USA, that he turned against the Foreign Office.
Parliament is full of people with blinkered views, disinclined to do what the electorate wantParliament is full of people with blinkered views, disinclined to do what the electorate want
Parliament is full of people with blinkered views, disinclined to do what the electorate want

Instead he began to investigate just why and how such an unjust result could happen in so-called democracies. What he found was something all anarchists know: that only power-up politics reliably produces the morally and economically sustainable society which enables humans to live side by side in peace, harmony and comparative equality and comfort.

He visited areas in Spain and Syria where communities were living proof of the practicality of the anarchist’s ‘impossible dream’ of a society with ‘rules, but no rulers’. Examples were shown where a consensus arrived through discussion created a positive and collaborative community tolerant of other faiths and genders, all working together for the common good.

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In one Spanish case the housing shortage was ‘solved’ by enabling and encouraging groups of people to collaboratively build their own homes, something which has several times happened in the UK already.

In the process previously redundant or unemployable people are re-skilled and became useful and valued members of society. In other cases factories were taken over and run by the workers John Lewis-style, ending labour problems and ‘capitalist exploitation’ of workers.

A coherent society replacing a fractured one makes poverty, unemployment, drug-abuse, prisons and psychiatric wards almost redundant.

Could a country be successfully run on such a basis? Are we such donkeys that we really do need people with whips to keep us in line, noses to the grindstone, wage slaves who swell the bank balances of the few?

Nowadays most of us are at least as well educated and informed as those who seek to determine our lives for us – and often much better and more widely so. Our seriously troubled society is mis-managed by career politicians lacking valuable life experience in any but their own narrow field; seeing the world only through the vision allowed by their political spectacles.

Parliamentary democracy has, for such reasons and for the most part, reached its sell-by date. Better we replace it with regular fully informed referendums which will give every shade of political opinion a chance to sway the people.

The remaining function of government and parliament will be to see to it that the will of the people is expeditiously carried out.

The option of staying well clear of interfering in the chaos of Middle Eastern affairs would surely have won the day, saving millions of lives and enormous sums of money. The wisdom of crowds has long been recognised; anarchism is the way to make good use of this phenomenon.

Anarchism is nothing new. It was once the basis of every human society. Why not again?

Tim Flinn is a retired education psychologist. He lives in Garvald, East Lothian