Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Have Labour Destroyed Britain's Democracy?

We often see democracy as a sturdy political machine; leaders and parties come and go, but the system of democracy remains.  This is not reality however, merely wishful thinking.  The history of man is one of tyranny after tyranny, with democratic freedom being unusual in both history, and even in our world today where most people live not in a free society, but under the iron fist of tyranny.

The quote often attributed to James Alexander Tytler states, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”
Who actually said these words and where does not change their truthfulness, and the last Labour government has given our democracy an uncertain future.  For Labour exploited one of the “flaws” with democracy; namely that you can get elected time and time again on the back of promises to spend other people’s money, whilst leaving the economics and the bill to future politicians to deal with.

The consequences of this were on display last week, with public sector workers striking about renegotiations of what are laughably unsustainable pensions.  It gets worse when one realises that not only did Labour make these outlandish pension promises, but they made no effort to provide any sort of money to pay for it.  The tiny contributions that workers are paying into the system are only being used to dole out money for current pensions, and even that is making a loss.  There is absolutely nothing in place to pay for the public sector pensions in the future, where there will be more pensioners living for longer, and with bigger pensions.  There is no money – Britain is in denial.

Yet none of this mattered to Labour – they promised big money and contracts to the unions, and the unions responded by giving money back to the Labour Party and making it clear which way their members should vote.  Labour bought votes with taxpayer money and have left future generations to worry about how to pay up on those promises – it’s that simple. We have seen this time and time again.  The Private Finance Initiative was nothing more than a way to get schools, hospitals and other buildings built so the Labour could take the credit and the votes, while booting the bill down the road for future politicians (preferably the Tories) to worry about.

Additionally, the culture of welfarism exploded under Labour, with them even allowing the shipping in of more people from abroad to live off the back of our glorious welfare system.  This has encouraged vast segments of our population to believe that they have a right to live off the back of the state without ever working; and who will therefore vote for any party who allows this to continue.  Even those who are not relatively poor have fallen into this trap.  Recent proposals to cut housing benefit so that taxpayers are no longer paying for other people to live in expensive houses that they themselves cannot afford have been met with outright hysteria.  Polly Toynbee declared the plans to limit housing benefits to £400 a week as the Tories’ “final solution” for the poor.

Although it is laughable that £400 a week in housing benefit is remotely close to austere, Toynbee has a point in the sense that even a reduction of benefit to remotely sensible levels will cause major disruption for some families.  They have been taught that they are entitled to extravagant amounts of benefits, and have adapted their plans as a consequence.  All sorts of people, (working or not) rely on massive handouts from the state, having been promised them by Labour with the assurance that “someone else” will pay for them.  French economist Frederic Bastiat’s description of government as “that fiction whereby everybody believes that he can live at the expense of everyone else” seems apt in this situation.

Labour has therefore inculcated the myth that it is legitimate for more and more people to vote themselves more money from the public purse, and the way to do this is to vote for Labour.  Should anyone (such as the Tories) try and cut this gravy train even slightly, then they face the wrath of those people riding on that gravy train, who now make up such a large percentage of the population that it scares off any politician from making any significant cuts in fear of losing their job.

It is for this reason that the minor cuts the Coalition has made (that will not even start reducing the deficit for another three years – who knows when we will ever start working on our £1 trillion debt) have been met with such hostility.  The responsible option is the tough one, and Labour have been choosing the irresponsible easy option for years – promise to spend more on anyone who promises to vote for you, and boot the bill forward a few decades for someone else to worry about.

If Labour keep doing this, failing to acknowledge both their blame in this crisis, and not accepting that it is morally reprehensible to make unsustainable promises for future generations to deal with, then it will make it very difficult for democracy to survive.  For the road to economic meltdown is clear, and if our nation lacks the political will to get off that road due to the mass entitlement mentality created by Labour, then destruction and tyranny can only follow.

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