Hold the front page: we elect our dictatorships


FOR weeks I have had an enduring image of frustrated viewers hurling their remotes at their television screens. Why do presenters give politicians such an easy ride; why don’t they ask them the questions their viewers want answers to? Awkward questions that we know would make the studio’s couch potatoes feel uncomfortable, unable to answer?

It seems politicians provide their interviewers with questions to which they themselves have prepared answers. It is a very cosy arrangement but unworthy of democratic process.


The cut and thrust of debate that truly reflects public opinion is absent from our screens. It is rare for a politician to be robustly challenged. Those chosen to appear are notoriously ‘on message’ and hand-picked for television debate. They are guaranteed a public platform to spout propaganda that will not be challenged. When it does happen it will be on a matter of policy and the victim to be incinerated a conservative with a small ‘c’.

On matters of far greater significance such as non-European immigration, the economy, geopolitics and wars of aggression, only one-sided opinions are invited. Even the sabre-rattling warmongers have bouquets thrown at their feet by smarmy television hosts.

The audience and questions in programmes such as Question Time are vetted to ensure we get the right questions and replies. It is an insult to the viewers’ intelligence. In parliamentary terms there is little difference between the parties so one may as well listen to two people of the same persuasion tweaking strategy.

When it comes to real talking point issues you get Soviet style cross party solidarity. You can be sure that television hosts will avoid asking questions their guests may find difficult to answer. What we have is totalitarian television.

What may these significant yet censored questions posed by Joe Public be? You need look to either the free press or internet media. Here you will find the last outpost of freedom of expression by unconventional journalists and their readers.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for Canary Wharf’s tub-thumpers to put a page aside for public debate with real meaning. I would give much to see warmonger lobbyists robustly questioned by the electorate rather than back-slapping fawning television presenters.

When a Minister of Defence, Prime Minister or President can make policies without considering electoral feeling you have an elected dictatorship. When conventional mainstream media is overtly sympathetic and unquestioningly broadcasts parliament’s propaganda whilst excluding public debate you have a controlled press.

When this happens you have viewers throwing their remotes at their television screens. You get a disaffected electorate refusing to take part in farcical elections; you end up with riots on the streets. Here in the West we elect our dictatorships, others do not. Does this make our system fairer? I think not.

It is the denial of democracy that is fuelling unrest throughout the world. We in the so-called democracies are little better than the regimes now being toppled. Our leaders are often less popular than are theirs. We are going down the same tiresome route.

Our rulers too refuse to listen to us. If you want to see a re-run of the turmoil now sweeping dictatorships aside just watch London, Washington and the European Union’s major cities tomorrow.



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