Last Thursday evening I went to what must be the most surreal event I have ever attended.
I had met up with someone about my "Human Library Zone" project and they invited me to attend a protest and a Council meeting (they were linked - the former was due to be discussed at the latter).
After we had trudged up three flights of stairs we found ourselves in a small "Public Gallery". When I say "small" I mean there was hardly any room in it.
I suppose I had been a bit naive because I expected the meeting to be run like most other meetings I have ever attended. How wrong could I have been???
Almost as I had sat down on the bench in the "Public Gallery" we were threatened with the Council having it cleared due to some other Members of the Public shouting (what I thought were) reasonable comments. That was were the "Pantomime" bit of the title to this blogpost comes in.
I spotted what I thought was a piece of paper next to me on the bench. When I picked it up I read it and was horrified to find myself reading what looked for all the world like a script for the meeting. Including how the petitions were to be presented by various people. With blanks for comments by assorted Council Members. I must admit the "script" was really enlightening. Although what transpired during the "debates" was far from entertaining.
If you have never seen the British TV series "OutNumbered" - here now follows a brief summary of how it worked.
The main characters were played by two adults (who had scripted lines) and three children (who could make it up as they went along - leaving the adults frantically trying to connect what the children said and did to the script in front of them so the programme made sense to the audience).
That - Ladies and Gentlemen - was what passed as the "Democratically Representative" Council Meeting I attended. Actually - it was more like "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics".
What made it worse was the fake "debates" the Councillors had on the very important topics under discussion. It was obvious that the answers had been decided behind closed doors prior to the meeting.
Let's just say that I was very glad that the children who had been brought in to plead the case for one of the petitions (linked to the protest held before the meeting) had left the building before the debate on that particular subject had started - otherwise they would have been really disappointed with the way it was discussed.
I had been under the impression that I was "Democratically Represented" by my local Councillors - that idea has been totally destroyed.
If we cannot rely on even our local Councillors to represent us - instead of looking after their own vested interests (as well as their "jobs" in the Council) - how can we be expected to rely on our national Politicians???
There are three lines from a Pantomime which I wish all Politicians would remember (usually more connected with the Baddie in Pantomimes but also applicable to the people who vote for them).
"He's behind you".
"Oh no he isn't"
"Oh yes he is" (to be paraphrased into "Oh yes - the Electorate are").
I just wish I could be sure that there was a way of restoring my faith in "Democratically Elected" government at all levels - without being so brutal as to break the system completely and start again from scratch.
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