The mantra that we in the West live under democracy is drummed into us daily.
I am not one of those who decry bourgeois democracy as not worth having, or the freedoms we still enjoy here in the British Isles as meaningless, but I do feel strongly that we need to deconstruct the way the concept of democracy is abused by the ruling class and expose it for the sham it has become.
We elect our representatives and governments in a free vote, but what does that really mean in reality?
Today it is not politicians who make policy or decide issues, but the professionals, whether civil servants or "advisers."
So irrespective of which group of politicians we put in power, we will get very similar policies.
The much-vaunted neutrality of the Civil Service was always a myth, but even more so today. Look how so many simply move on afterwards to sit on the boards of the self-same private companies with which they have been dealing as civil servants.
The way most decisions are made is concealed from the general public. They are adopted outside the framework of political parties. Sometimes we do get a glimpse of this sleazy political underworld, as at present in the wake of the Murdoch hacking scandal.
Murdoch and his cohorts have had privileged access to prime ministers and civil servants in Britain since Thatcher came to power.
Despite Murdoch's avowals of innocence, he was able to influence decision-making on his takeover of the Times newspaper group (under Thatcher), his hatred of and determination to undermine the BBC has been largely successful and his takeover of BskyB would have been nodded through if Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt had had his way and the hacking exposures hadn't put a huge spoke in his wheel.
We saw the same thing with discredited former defence secretary Liam Fox and his "mate" Adam Werrity and how defence procurement and weapons sales are steered by those who profit from them. These are merely the tips of the icebergs.
What we are dealing with in the West today is what can be termed "controlled democracy," where the controllers themselves are not subject to any democratic mechanisms.
Alongside this, we have the manufacturing of consensus through the media, virtually monopolised by the same ruling elite.
They are so centralised under the ownership of a few very wealthy individuals who have perfected their propaganda methodology and persuasive techniques that they are able to condition the mass of the people to accept their version of reality.
That's why the most right-wing conservative parties, which defend the narrow interests of the minority ruling class, are able to promote themselves with relative success as defenders of working people and can persuade large numbers of people to vote for them against their own objective interests.
The right has unscrupulously appropriated the language and imagery of the left in order to perfect this con-trick.
The Conservatives, under Cameron, adopted a green tree as their emblem to underline the party's environmental credentials. Cameron talks about the Big Society and claims: "We're all in it together." Ministers don't carry out drastic cuts anymore, but undertake necessary "reforms" or introduce "structural change."
The state is demonised as something terrible, and only individual choice can offer us freedom. Yet all the time power is becoming more centralised and the state becoming all-powerful and genuine individual choice being eroded.
It is this clever Orwellian double-speak that makes it difficult for the uninitiated and naive to see through the subterfuge.
Of course there is an increasing realisation by many that all this is simply political eyewash and deep down most of our leading politicians are only interested in their own power and wealth.
But this situation leads very often to increased cynicism, apathy and a disaffection with politics as a whole, rather than to the adoption of radical left-wing positions.
And, again, the media cover up this political cesspit by distracting their readers and viewers with celebrity tittle-tattle, glamour and trivia. They persuade many that we do indeed live in a classless society.
Murdoch says, no doubt tongue in cheek, that his Sun represents working-class interests.
What it does is provide bland and easy digestible fodder for those who have no urge to think or lack the education to demand more nourishing food.
The ruling class has also built up institutions and organisations which inculcate a belief in and loyalty to its hegemonic ideology.
Academics, teachers and professionals are incorporated into acceptance of the dominant ideology or are ostracised if they refuse to conform.
As has been shown in the recent French elections, in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and elsewhere, people are rejecting the neoliberal programme and clientist, non-transparent and corrupt party practices and are seeking alternatives.
Unfortunately, the extreme right is lurking in the wings ready to offer a seeming alternative by homing in on prejudice and fear. The left can only counter this by taking up the genuine concerns of ordinary people and projecting a more humane and plausible alternative.
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