Szyzygy's Blog

November 7, 2009

Notes from the future: The origins of Open Source Democracy

If nothing else, the peremptory sacking of David Nutt by Home Secretary Alan Johnson in October 2009 exposed the aching chasm which  existed between rational thought and political thought, such as it was in early 21st century Britain.  In the grips of a deep recession, a failing Labour administration, confronted by a Conservative party even more devoid of political wisdom and insight than themselves, sought to establish clear leeway between themselves and their opponents by a number of headlining manouevres. David Nutt, an eminent scientist, whose contribution to knowledge in the sphere of psychopharmacology was of the very first order, was to be their patsy. Unfortunately, as events subsequently transpired, it was to not only rebound on themselves, but to bring into question the very legitimacy of a mode of political representation which had existed, largely unchanged, since the mid-19th century. 

David Nutt, a quiet-spoken and eloquent advocate of scientific principle could not have appeared more reasonable than his simian aggressor, and a very clear delineation in their intellectual capacities was immediately more than superficially apparent. Moreover he was right: when comparing and categorising risk, objectivity was paramount.  Mr Johnson’s pretext for sacking Professor Nutt was that he had in some way stepped into politics by stating the blindingly obvious during the course of an academic lecture. The populace were unconvinced and an obviously tired and emotional Johnson did not help his case by addressing them as though they were a round of postmen to be whipped up in fury and led out on strike at protest at t’management.

A number of MPs, seeing the writing writ large upon the wall, could not have been more suprised than Belshazzar himself to have been found weighed in the balance and found wanting; questions were asked in the House, an Early Day Motion was hurriedly tabled to the effect that this House believes that Government policy on alcohol and drugs misuse and harm should be based on scientific evidence. But it was too late, the British public, much like the bosun of an 18th century man of war, removed the cat from out of the bag, lashed the prisoner to the gratings and flogged him round the prevalent media.  They were evidently not remotely amused. Decades of parliamentary abuse of privilege, compounded by fiascos such as the cheap sell-offs of public assets under the previous administration, the whitewashing of the state-instituted murder of Dr David Kelly in the Hutton Report, the expenses scandal, had taken their toll.

People began to wonder how it was that an uneducated former Marxist postman from Bow could wield such exorbitant power. The conclusion that they were forced to was that it was a symptom of a much deeper malaise, that the very process of government itself was broken, and that the unpleasant phenomenon of Alan Johnson was yet another case of jobs for the boys. The technological mechanisms for real democratisation and  enfranchisement of the electorate had been in place for many years; the internet was ubiqitous. The existing status ante quo had however made little if any attempt to embrace the technology to extend the reach of democracy. 

Social networking sites were to prove to be a fertile breeding ground for opposition. The wikia picked up the events faster than the mainstream media, and both Johnson and Nutt’s entries in Wikipedia were objectively modfied within hours of events occurring. It would only be a question of time before someone would ask the question “if paid for government is as broken, expensive and fundamentally bloated as Micro$oft software, why isn’t there an open source alternative?” The inexorable rise of Open Source Democracy had begun…..

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November 3, 2009

The impact of the Nutt Affair on British politics

In any two party state, in which protagonist and antagonist are bankrolled by slush money from corporates and wealthy individuals, there can only be one plurality of losers, the electorate. Many people in Britain, never the most rationally governed of states,  are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that party-centric politics as a mechanism for government and maintenance of social order in post-technological society is broken beyond repair and are actively scouting for alternatives. Most, if not all, will conclude that the answer does not lie in the ballot box, since, to borrow the hackneyed joke, whoever you vote for the government always gets in. There is little to choose between either of the two main political parties; they are equally mendacious, corrupt and overwhelmingly filled with people you would not wish to entertain in your own home.

The lingering and unpleasant shadow of the David Nutt affair has brought this point to the attention of many; those incapable of reading the writing on the wall of the arbitrary and dirigiste sacking of the chair of the ACMD, the government’s drugs advisory committee, would do well to reflect on the fact that the killing of the messenger bearing unpleasant tidings was largely discontinued in the unfathomable depths of time immemorial and moreover does not reflect well upon the executioner. Professor Nutt had the temerity to point out that a number of socially and legally proscribed drugs, amongst them cannabis, on most objective criteria of risk assessment, were significantly less dangerous than a number of other drugs, notably tobacco and alcohol, from which the government (and it should be noted many of their financial backers and puppet-masters) derive considerable revenue. For this, under a pretext, he was sacked. The people of the Britain deserve respect and openness from their governments; sadly the opposite, a cold and revolting dish of contempt and lies is what is and has always invariably been set before them.  It is unsuprising that cynicism, the inevitable precursor to change, has set in.

The sacking of David Nutt has moved the hands of the clock for major political reform a little closer to midnight;  you can’t, to paraphrase George Washington, fool all of the people all of the time. And the ones you can’t fool will be the ones who will be coming for you.

Facebook support group for David Nutt: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=169748050377&ref=nf

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