People power wins?

 

        Well done to the people of Egypt. They have swept away a dictatorship. They now need to ensure the army understands the new reality, and is prepared to pave the way for free elections and a new kind of government.

       Meanwhile, the wave of popular protest is heady and spreading. Satellite TV and the world wide web make it impossible for other dictators to keep the lid on the message from Cairo. Today attention moves to Algeria. Many undemocratic   regimes need to rethink their strategies for understanding and handling public opinion.

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24 Comments

  1. Dave
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    So when Egypt inevitably descends into civil war, how long do you give it before the Yanks decide to “help out”?

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    We live in a democracy but a bunch of judges in Strasbourg can apparently overrule the wishes of our democratically elected Parliament!

  3. Andrew Johnson
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    And some democratic governments too!

  4. lifelogic
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Here here let us hope the EU leaders are also taking note as they continue to build their undemocratic socialist super state against all the people’s will.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Re. Mr Clarke and the “calamitous” economy.

      Good to see him helping the recovery and business confidence with such encouraging words.

      Does he really, like labour, think that paying more people to work for the state doing nothing useful or inconveniencing the few actual wealth creators left would help recovery?

      “Calamitous” is perhaps best reserved for the ERM, the Euro, CAP, EU fishing Policy, John Major, T Blair, G Brown, and Ted Heath as he should know very well indeed.

  5. D K McGregor
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Let them re-establish the Pharaohs (democratic version of course) and they can all be put to work building his pyramid.( Sorry his or her). This scenario probably makes more sense than what will emerge.

    • Mark
      Posted February 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      A return to constitutional monarchy may not be such a bad idea. It seems things work better in Jordan than they have in Egypt – and restoration of the monarchy worked well in Spain after Franco.

  6. StrongholdBarricades
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Many undemocratic regimes need to rethink their strategies for understanding and handling public opinion.

    Maybe some democratic regimes also need to rethink too

  7. Neil Craig
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    How many of those politicians jubnilant about Egyptian “freedom” had a bad word to say about Mubarak previously? How many of them are now describing the far worse feudal regime in Saudi Arabia in the same terms?

    Equally how many have said a word abouit un fashionable Mexico where the government recently lost the election – right up to the moment when they discovered truckl;oads of previously undiscovered ballots.

    Our foreign policies seem to be composed of equal parts of fashion and hypocrisy. While we should have a general approval of freer and more progressive government (the 2 are not synonymous – Britain has a somewhat free but overwhelmingly Luddite establishment) it is undesirable that our government should express a view on how every other one runs its affairs.

    How would we feel if the rest of the world started demanding that our referendum should include a full PR option? Even though I believe it should I would resent the Russian, Egyptian, Serb, Israeli & French government telling us it should be so.

  8. Acorn
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    People power wins? You could have added “Dollar power loses?” One of the placards said, in Arabic, “two down twenty to go”. This apparently referring to the twenty two states in the Crescent of Regression, containing 400 million Arabs. As at least half of these are considered by Arabs as US client States, like Egypt, you can understand why Obama has soft pedalled his support for “people power”. Mainly due to the large Jewish lobby whose votes he needs. Not a good day for Zionists.

  9. Bernard Otway
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Lets hope that the supine masses of this poor benighted nation [ours] learn from this,when
    your politicians make promises to get your vote,on referenda,spending or saving or reduction plans,or any other thing for that matter,and then completely ignore you even if you are in a big majority.DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER,MAKE THEM LISTEN TO YOU,let them know by huge numbers on the streets and not necessarily in ONE place ie London,what if 5000 people gathered in medium sized towns,25000 in small cities,50000 in large cities,all on the SAME day.That the result of the broken promises will be loss of power,plus also that the old political mould will not suffice.More parties are needed

  10. ManicBeancounter
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    The problem is not to get better leaders, but to limit the power of those leaders and to reduce the expectations of the ability of government to act in the interest of the people.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted February 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Again, where can I vote for you?

  11. BobE
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    What is needed is the removal of the whips. Each MP should vote on his/her own opinion. That would go a long way to restoring democracy.
    BobE,
    Region 6
    EUSSR

  12. sjb
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Algeria, since gaining independence from France, was ruled for many years as a one-party state. In 1989, reforms allowed other parties to contest elections. The following year, the Islamic Salvation Front triumphed in local elections with a 54% share of the vote. A year later, their success continued in legislative elections where they won 188 of the 231 seats. However, on the brink of assuming office the army staged a coup … supported by the US.

    If parties with an Islamic slant looked like winning in Algeria, Egypt or elsewhere would the US stand idly by?

  13. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    This is not 1776.
    Could someone please explain why in the whole of the Middle East, there is not one American style democracy?
    Oh – sorry – Israel!
    Could it have anything to do with Arab history(words left out ed)?

  14. Alte Fritz
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Let’s all be careful what we ask for lest we get it.

  15. Anoneumouse
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if this is a Half a crown-sixpence moment for the EU Commission.

  16. Bazman
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    People power? What right do the people have to power? Who says they should have any power? There are to many stupid people eating chips and watching mindless game shows to be allowed to vote, if they do that is, and when they do vote for the wrong party or candidate. Time for a change here to and this is the concept. Feel free to make it better or worse. At least while you can. You will be free to sell your vote to the highest bidder if you qualify for a vote, so will still be democratic.
    Change the voting system to depend on how much money you have. One grand one vote say, or the amount of land that is owned by individuals outright. Obviously the person with the most money would get the most votes and this would be fair as they have the most to lose. This would help the wealth creators establish policy and bring investment to the country as well as giving them real power instead of paying fifty grand to meet the prime minister. Why should anyone without a vested interest in Britain get a vote?
    The idea could be extended to MP’s who would actually work for these individuals and companies or maybe in a sort of alliance of companies protecting and fighting for vested interests. The first country in the world to be a truly multinational government with real competition. The wealth will just roll in. None of it will be paid for the taxpayer because the only tax will be a tax on crime. Making criminals part of the working population therefore allowed to vote from their private prisons luxury or otherwise as they will be paying for it.
    All newspapers except ones promoting the correct ideas will be banned as will the BBC which in it’s utter folly tries to educate some areas of the population. Internet will be strictly controlled one company. Making a large part of the population happy.
    Someone should stand for Parliament on a similar basis and see how far they get if there is not someone in there already.

  17. Nick
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    You’re next.

    When do we get the vote on issues?

    You’re upset about the EU making decisions for you, and yet you are hypocritical in that you don’t allow us the choice on issues.

    ie. You’re in the firing line. The Egyptians have the right idea, its coming to the UK

  18. Martin
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Are these movements really driven by political desires or something more basic like the rise in the price of basic foods?

    Regarding Egypt – how will the west react if say a militant theocratic regime takes power and controls the Suez canal? Let’s hope Mr Cameron looks up the history books re Mr Eden.

  19. Mr J Leslie Smith
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Our own Party system of so called “Democracy” no longer has the support of the majority of the British People. We want MP’s who represent us, not their Party interests, acting as free minded honourable people at debates in the House. There are far too many career politicans in Westminster today, who quickly forget who put them there in the first place – We the People, have long memories and have not gone away.

  20. Iain Gill
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Tiananmen Square protests have still not been shown on TV inside China or reported in their media, even very well educated Chinese do not know it even happened

    Western network vendors happily conform with Chinese restrictions on what internet users can see and access, and indeed the police here and in Australia are keen to have arbitary powers to restrict access too

    We have countries like India which are supposedly democracies but which (by the definition of their own recently retired anti-corruption czar) are massively corrupt, voters align along religious and caste lines, bullying heirarchical relationships are common in all areas of society.

    And here in the UK we have the main parties overwhelmingly selecting candidates from the same small sections of society and other issues, which means its not really all that reflective of the people

    Strange double standards at all levels of this

  21. John Brooks
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Well done, lets count our chickens before they hatch here. Didnt we in the West learn anything about another revolution called a popular uprising by the mass media the 1979 Iranian Revolution? Who did that give us Ayatollah Rulllolah Khomenei. That movement was hijacked by the mullahs in stealth a few weeks after Khomenei got off a Air France jet.

    The Muslim Brotherhood will not run a candidate in the Presidental Election and support whoever is not seen as Mubarak. Then take up the legislative branch. Does anyone in the West honestly have a clue about them?

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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