Friday 30th September
We are such trustworthy children; we have yet to grow up. First we had Kings and we stupidly believed in Divine Right, that they were somehow ordained or blessed by God, that their blood was purer. And despite many instances of Stupidity, Venality and even Madness we continued to invest our hopes and fears and our lives in the pursuit of their blighted dreams of conquest and domination. Then came the French Revolution and after all too short a time a new Emperor emerged, who started off brilliantly but soon assumed not only the mantle of Royalty but the Infallibility too, and many Frenchmen died in their Devotion to this new King. The American Rebels likewise appointed a new king, a President – but this one was to be elected every four years. Certainly an improvement from the Hereditary Principal, but still all their hopes and dreams were invested in one man, one pair of hands.
In the UK first, and gradually all over most of the World a form of Parliamentary Democracy has emerged where the leader of the largest Party becomes Prime Minister or President and as long as they retain the confidence of a majority of the elected representatives they rule pretty supreme. And despite so-called Cabinet decision-making, it is invariably the Prime Minister or a very tight clique who command all the power; after all it is the Prime Minister who appoints the Cabinet, why would they want to rock the boat. And so, despite our splendid Democracy we now have an elected King, again just one pair of hands, who invariably not only leads their Party but leads it by the nose, deciding Policy almost as he or she goes along. Why would we assume that Ultimate Wisdom resides in one person? But like children we put our faith in Leaders; Mr. Blair took us into a War because his good friend Mr. Bush told him to, Mr. Cameron decided to hold a referendum to win an election, and now Mrs May (not even an elected PM) will undoubtedly and almost single-handed decide our future relationship (if we still have one) with Europe.
It is almost always true that several minds working together can come up with better solutions than one person on their own, but like Children we put our faith in just one person to make the most important decisions on our behalf. And in America there will soon be just one pair of hands, one finger on the Nuclear button, one possibly unstable and irresponsible human being deciding the fate of millions. Incredible that the World can be so stupid. Have a nice day.