People’s budgets or the same-old unaccountable ones?
Working from back to front – the bogusness of our democracies is that ordinary citizens get nothing like the influence implied by the word “democracy” – which the Ancient Greeks defined as government by the people.
The UK budget process is a case in point, consisting of rounds of closed-door horse trading between government departments and ministers. The latest City-loving Chancellor then waves about a battered red briefcase for the media before delivering some crowd-pleasing stunts at the Dispatch Box to hide the fact that most ordinary people are getting stiffed while status quo money holders carry on swimmingly. Gross over-simplification, of course, but it covers the last 30 years of British government relatively well, save for pre-election sweetener budgets and some of Gordon Brown’s giveaways.
The problem is, ordinary people get not a look in on what is the most important function of elected governments. The same problem occurs at lower tiers of government and let’s not even talk about the European Union.
It doesn’t have to be this way, which is why I’m excited to be going along to report on a People’s Budget event in Kingston-upon-Thames on October 8.
This clip explains why such an approach can transform local governance, improving its accountability, transparency and the fairness of its revenue raising and spending.
So rather than “bogus” democracy – we get something more like real democracy.
And bad journalism? It’s all journalism that ignores the bogusness of our current governance systems, at every level, which is pretty much all mainstream journalism.
After that build up, I hope it’s a good night.