"..a bardy view!"

Of Mice and Men – Presidents and Prime Ministers

Loathe as I am to talk politics, short of asking Richard Branson to send me into space there is no getting away from the biggest political event of the year. No I'm not talking about the Philippines election on May 10th, but one which is likely to overshadow that considerably. I am of course referring to the UK General Election.

Both in their own way are significant, and whilst not to diminish the Philippines election, it is not likely to get much exposure globally compared to the British one four days earlier. Such are the chances of a hung parliament, the weeks after will be saturated with who will be sharing the spoils. It can only be hoped that a clear victor emerges.

However the similarities between the two are not as far apart as first appears. The Philippines president has a reputation for holding on, and has even attempted to change the system to a Parliamentary one – on the off-chance she could become Prime Minister.

Meanwhile back in Britain, the PM is endeavouring to hold onto the reigns, convinced that he is the saviour of the nation. Both individuals are reluctant to let go. Gloria Arroyo came to power with the removal of Estrada, and has been in power for almost ten years, successfully circumventing the constitution due to politic machinations.

The rules in the Philippines state that a president can only serve a maximum of six years and cannot seek re-election. Arroyo was allowed to seek re-election in 2004, because technically she had not been elected as president in 2001 – she merely succeeded Estrada because he was deposed. The 2004 election was fraught with controversy, to the extent that she has become the longest serving Philippines President since Marcos and the worlds 44th most powerful woman. When you reach those heights, it's difficult to let go.

Gordon Brown was Tony Blair's anointed replacement. So there it is – one a president, the other a Prime Minister – both never given a clear mandate to govern by the people.

Ascendancy to thrones is a royal prerogative unique to Monarchy or those who misguidedly believe they are. The latter is generally common in dictatorships. Think Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti, or Kim Jong-il in North Korea. There are plenty of other examples.

It is for this reason that unelected leaders should be frowned upon and dismissed. Had Ferdinand Marcos not been deposed in the Philippines, then as sure as eggs are eggs his offspring would have taken over. it is for this reason that the electorate must cut incisively any possibility of such an eventuality. A vote for Gordon Brown is a retrograde step, it says that the people have been happy with him for the past 13 years, and his resulting new power will have immense detrimental magnitude.

Likewise, any chance that Arroyo will continue to hold sway in one shape or another will at best keep the status quo, at worst ensure another six years of corruption and stagnation.

To compare the UK with a dictatorship is extreme, yet the British are more stifled and suffocated than ever before. It's government has imposed more laws that any other previous administration. The more laws, the more state control, the more jobsworths required to enforce them. Political correctness and excessive health and safety regulations all combine to take power and liberty away from the individual.

People become suspicious of one another, are afraid to vent their thought for fear of reprisal, be it in the workplace or in the street. Fear is the last weapon of an overpowering state. It genders fear, it creates fear, it weakens democracy and fuels discontent.

In a democracy the ballot box is the only defence. It is the citizens legal weapon – don't waste your vote. Change is good, and those who don't want it will use everything in their arsenal to prevent it.


April 7, 2010 - Posted by | Current Affairs, Politics, The Philippines, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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