Monday, August 29, 2005

A letter to some three eyed guy from Mars.

Little Timmy... click image twice for a hoot Posted by Picasa

There is a strange concept on Earth called Democracy. The original idea was to elect someone who became your representative and then they acted on your behalf.

You assigned them the task of the complicated stuff of making sure wherever your nation-state was.... it was in good hands. They should have been, in a certain sense ... your employee, you paid them, you trusted them with the keys to the front gate, you chose them depending on how good their resume was and hopefully..... given time you'd end up with an employee who gave you a pretty good bang for your buck.

That is how it should work, this is what happened in these strange times..... my dear Martian friend.

One day a group of these potential employees decided to get into bed with some other employees and form what is known as a "political party". These employee groups then had a mock battle against each other in what is known as an "election"... where the employee pleasing the greatest number of employers gathers the most "votes" in a given area. Great wads of money, gold and precious things were thrown at these "political parties" to ensure that they received the greatest number of "votes".

The employers decided which employee got the job. The employee who pleased the most number of employers and thus got the most number of "votes" got the job and was given the job title of "politician". Usually the "politician" had the most amount of gold and precious things thrown at him or her.

The group of the above named "politicians" who had the greatest support in their prementioned "political parties" from the employers formed a majority employee group and call it the "elected government". This "government" had some infrastructure and institutions in place...... no matter which "political party" held the title of "government" ... the infrastructure and institutions was called the "public service".

Somewhere along the line the employees who were now called "politicians" forgot that they were working for the employers who "voted" for them and took it upon themselves to become employers. The servant had become the master.

The "public service" became part of the "government"; directed by the "government of the time". The employers then became known as the "people" and suddenly came under the control and wishes of the "government in power".


A bit of flowery prose? I'm not sure. Just today I heard of the case of two Melbourne journalists who are facing jail time for not disclosing their "public service" whistle blowing sources.

It is a grave matter to jail someone. Graver still when that imprisonment is for the expression of views, the publication of ideas or the reporting of an issue.

In a healthy democracy, it is hard to believe that a journalist might be jailed for accurately reporting a story of significant public interest which poses no risk to national security.

And yet we are facing the prospect of contempt of court charges and the jailing of two journalists from the Melbourne Herald Sun, Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus. Their offence is their refusal to disclose sources who assisted them in reporting on cuts to recommended benefits to war veterans.

The journalists revealed the rejection by the Government of recommendations by an independent inquiry to improve a range of welfare benefits to war veterans. A more generous veterans package ultimately emerged after intervention by the Prime Minister and a number of Coalition members. But the issue was one of public interest, which Australians expect their media to report on.

The key role of the fourth estate - for all of its imperfections and the discomfort it not infrequently causes politicians - is that of holding governments accountable through open debate and information. The protection of sources is fundamental to this. As the European Court of Human Rights has said: "Without such protection, sources could be deterred from assisting the press in informing the public on matters of public interest. As a result, the vital public watchdog role of the press could be undermined."

Of course, governments, like all institutions, are entitled to demand levels of confidentiality from their employees. Indeed, where public servants are found to have breached conditions of employment and revealed confidential material it is not unreasonable that they should be subject to sanctions unless there are exceptional circumstances such as those covered by whistleblower provisions.

The Government's argument seems to be that "government" and "public service" information is not "public information". It remains out of the public domain and yet we as "the public" or the "the people" elected these pricks in place, we in fact own these "public institutions"' and yet we are not privy to them.

Harry has a similar example over at Scratchings. Avian flu shots are being saved for those in power because they are more important than the plebians or some other sort of rot.
As he so succinctly puts it.....

In one of the unhappy ironies of the modern era, the people who really need to catch the avian flu -- whose affliction would be just, moral and good on every level -- are the people the getting the limited supply of anti-viral pills.

Vote on his Avian Flu shot poll...... I voted for the Badgers.


  • Technically that's a Republic form of government you are describig there... no matter how you slice it, you're right and it pisses me off too!

    By Blogger tetricus, at 10:58 pm  

  • Not to get too pedantic, but it's a liberal democracy he describes. Republicanism is the form of government where people base their political power on the principle of autonomy -- that is, political people comes from the people themselves. A country can be both republican and a liberal democracy.

    By Blogger Deleted, at 11:43 pm  

  • Thanks for the tips. I remember an ancient history class where the teacher described the Greek form of democracy..... where there were no representatives, just the people. Would have made for interesting (if not slow) progress.

    My teacher commented on how the ancient Greeks would have regarded our form of government as a form of slavery...... which I kind of agree with.

    By Blogger Johnno, at 12:06 pm  

  • A republic can also be an illiberal democracy, one in which the rights of minorities are not protected and simple majoritarian rule is considered legitimate. Though the basis of political power still comes from the people themselves, upheavals and violence are far more likely. Minorities who have to "just deal with it" are likely to do just that, though not in the way the majoritarians would like.

    By Blogger Deleted, at 12:19 pm  

  • Does anyone really care what you have to say. Well...yes, I do. I enjoyed my brief visit. If you have an interest in allis chalmers forklift you might be interested in paying a visit to my allis chalmers forkliftsite. In the meantime, keep up the good blogging.

    By Blogger FXGUY, at 4:17 pm  

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