Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Failure of Democracy in The Ukraine

There is a serious issue behind the present problems in the Ukraine that nobody is talking about. There has been a dire breakdown of democracy that needs explaining.


That should never happen in a democracy. Democracy should exclude the possibility of that ever happening. The president was elected by the populace and should represent their views, especially on such a fundamental issue as international alliegances and plans to either become integrated with the European Union or Russia. 

Usually, rebellions in democratic countries are undemocratic and led by minorities, usually the military who do not like what the majority voted for because it reduces their power. It has been a common scenario, particularly in Latin America in the latter part of the 20th Century. However, the initial revolution in the Ukraine was by the majority of ordinary citizens against the government that they had elected of their own free will.

That is worrying for any country that has a freely elected government. It is broken the country and led it to the brink of civil war. Democracy is supposed to make that impossible. It is supposed to assure the peace.

Worryingly, Western governments have taken major decisions without popular backing such as the UK being involved in the second Iraq war. However, in that case it was a new situation that the populace had not voted on. The incumbant government took a decision.

It was not the case in the Ukraine. These were current issues at the time that the government was elected.

Did the government say one thing in the election and then impeach itself once elected by doing a U-turn? I have not read of that happening.

So was it that a significant proportion of the Ukrainians had voted for the person rather than the policies? Did they get a nasty shock once those policies were enacted resulting in revolution against their own democracy?

The party that lost that election were pro-European. They could have voted for them but did not. That excludes the other fatal flaw in democracy, that the voter is not presented with the candidate and the policies that they want to vote for, as has happened in the Crimean referendum. The voters were not given the opportunity to vote to stay as a part of the Ukraine as it progresses towards the goal of unification with Europe.

Those that would have a socialist government in the US would say that they are only presented with the opportunity to vote for one of two parties that are considered centre right and extreme right in Europe. They would say that the 99% can only vote for the 1% and the status quo.

They would say that the democracy in the Ukraine was freer and fairer than that. It should not have gone wrong.
Something like that occurred in Mexico with the 2012 elections. The ruling party was voted out because of the war on drug traffickers which was killing 10,000 per year. The streets were terrifyingly unsafe in large parts of Mexico. Something had to be done. So Mr Peña Nieto was elected.

The day after the election, Peña Nieto announced that he would be continuing exactly the same militarised strategy as the previous party. The populace had voted for exactly the same policies that they had tried to vote against!

Peña Nieto had managed to get himself elected without once clarifying his policies and intentions in the most important issue during the election! The voters had not known what they were voting for!

How can you win an election without mentioning your policies on the major issue of the election?

Of course, you can side track into more minor issues and come out with slick hollow rhetoric whilst avoiding the big issue. 
The most sensible reason for voting for Peña Nieto I have heard was his reputation, based on his successes as the major of Mexico City. Others voted for his charisma. Peña Nieto is not just slick and extremely attractive, with a warm and winning smile. He is also married to a soap opera star. He is the height of glamour.

Unfortunately, such physical attractiveness, glamour and a nice smile does win or lose elections. Forget the policies. Candidates that look like Herman Munster will always lose. Losing 5 or 10% of the most superficial swing vote is critical.

Particularly in the US, UGLYISM is rife. Studies have been done on conviction rates in court of actors deemed to be beautiful and ugly. The results were even more concerning than the statistics for racial discrimination in the American court system. If you are perceived as beautiful, you can get away with almost anything.....

The post-revolution, interim PM Yatsenyuk is not much of a looker. Ex-President Yanukovych appears to have had him beat on that front. Certainly, he has the stronger face.... who cares about the policies.... I know who I trust to run this country.....

Such shallowness in politics and voting is dangerous. It is a major threat to democracy once the voters discover what they have voted for behind the smile. It can create an explosive situation.

Be warned. It can cause civil war and revolution.

Democracy was never envisaged in this way. The safe and adequate functioning of democracy is not unconditional. It is conditional on adequate education so that the population can go beyond the winning smiles and the charisma and cast a rational, informed vote based on the policies on offer. They need to vote for the policies, not the person.

It all comes down to a failure of education in educating a rational, informed decision making process for life. It comes down to a failure of the culture of Indepednent Learning. When education fails, a nation's peace is at risk. Democracy can fall....

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