Please forward this error screen to sharedip-16015312921. Do we really deserve a better government? Every nation gets the kind do We Really Care – Chelsea government it deserves’ is one of those sayings everyone knows, but whose source few can identify.
Well, it was Joseph de Maistre, the brilliant if quirky political thinker whose contempt for the French Revolution made Edmund Burke sound like a Jacobin. From 1803 to 1817 de Maistre served as Sardinian envoy to the court of the Russian tsar Alexander I, and it’s at that country that he aimed his aphorism. What was true about an absolute monarchy is even truer about a democracy, and truer still about the modern version of it. People cast their votes for parties that tell them something they want to hear. And what people want to hear is greatly affected by the kind of education imposed upon them by the same elite from which the candidates are drawn.
There’s a circle there, and it can only be vicious. Keep running inside that circle for a generation or two, and you get not democracy but spivocracy — the rule of those only out to feather their own nests. If by chance they drop a few feathers into others’ nests, then so be it. They are highly specialised creatures, our politicians, designed to do one thing only: get reelected. Just look at the way they handle the economy.