Saturday, April 21, 2012

Christians and politics!

Some people say that we need more Christians in politics! That’s what’s wrong! Sorry! That’s not the answer! There are quite a variety of ‘Christians’ in our parliaments, many no doubt struggling with its dominating partisan nature, but some apparently not!

Quote from ebook: ‘OUT WITH THE PARTIES – A PARLIAMENTARY REVOLUTION' ‘It is evident that party MPs are often quite troubled by the pressure to conform. On one occasion, Brigadier Jim Wallis AM, SAS retired, Executive Chairman of the Australian Christian Lobby, related how one MP friend actually broke down while confiding to him how he had felt when forced by his party to go against his conscience on a critical issue. With a member of conscience in tears, there has to be something radically wrong with our politics.' Quite!

Furthermore, any reading of the New Testament could not miss the condemnation of partisanship in both the gospels and the epistles, with a plain and exclusive emphasis on the unity of the love of God in Christ. Need I say more?

Except perhaps to add that: ‘the love of power is the love of self, but the love of democracy is the love of others’.

Is there not therefore a very real question hanging over our politics, with many participants professing Christian belief, but nonetheless engaging in the pursuit of party power?

(However, a genuine democracy requires the participation of all who will love God and neighbour before self.)

Of: FORUMS and forums

There are serious gaps in the practice of our theoretical democracy, with government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people, (government BY the people being perhaps of foremost importance, because without that, the OF and the FOR are compromised). Thus, the deficiency in government BY the people means that government OF and FOR the people just cannot happen, because of the conflicting pressures of ungoverned interests.

So, what do we do? The reason for democracy’s failure is the absence of realistic forums, for which FORUMS miss the points completely – and perhaps also deliberately.

A few days ago our local member completed a run of FORUMS in the community, in which influential groups were able to put their case with the local member presiding. But it was about their needs and his ability to help, if they voted for him! The last, with the leader of the opposition speaking, was confined in numbers to a limited number who had paid a fee for their place. Whether political donations were sought in addition – ‘cash for influence’ I do not know, but wonder!

These ‘forums’ were not convened with free access for dissidents in mind and cannot in any sense be seen as facilitating a process of government BY the people. They represented a continuation of the political disease of party politics. So, what is the solution?

The elimination of this disease depends entirely on removal of its root cause – the system of all members voting openly in our parliaments which enables and supports the venal party system.

A change to a secret ballot for all decisions in parliament is all that is required to change the representation of all members from party to independent.

Clearly, all the members would then be obliged to run free forums regularly in each electorate, soon becoming loyal supporters of constituents’ views in their forums’ free exchange of ideas about the process of government. They will quickly establish an ongoing rapport with the people, forming a vital link between people and parliament which would soon reconstitute government as government BY the people. A true government OF the people and FOR the people is thus assured as well. Can anyone dispute the validity of this claim?

Your view is welcome -

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Forum bullying

Andrew Stafford (the Age 12/4 Opinion) laments a ‘culture of widespread online bullying ... (that) reminds him of children’s playgrounds, where the bullies always win – because everyone else scarpers’.

To have a forum, online or other, is a decidedly good thing (since democracy must involve the people), but the continued strong bullying influence of the mindless reminds us that democracy needs safeguards for the less able to assert their intelligent influence. One well-known service group, the Rotary Club, practices self-discipline, I believe, with the motto: ‘Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary’, but on the other hand, Stafford sees ‘the nation’s political and personal manners (as) increasingly coarse’.

We are still a long way short of the social imperative of civility in public discourse to freely establish truth in the public arena, and our basic political structure is aggravating the problems rather than helping, money often being the bully’s tool. Thus, our urgent social/political need is for forums run by independent MPs who will be vulnerable and ensure fair play – with equal access for everyone. On his/her head be it then if that does not happen! Is this a pipe-dream? Absolutely, until we have ballots ruling in our parliaments and all members independent, it cannot happen.

Our local member, with overwhelming credentials, has been round and round the electorate, being interviewed in local forums organised by various interests, all no doubt with hopes of benefits from a future government by his party, in which he will undoubtedly be a star performer. This Friday he will run a forum himself with the leader of the opposition as the chief attraction. Great, another public forum! But do you get it? It will be a top-down session if ever there was one, instead of the ‘grassroots’ able to be actively contributing, whatever those views might be.

We need to have such level discussion forums everywhere, in which anyone will have an equal say, with the local member having a vested interest in seeing that that happens or on his/her head be it if that does not happen! That is the kind of real democracy that will be ‘morally uplifting’ for all. Your thoughts? Email: