Democracy: The Idea
Deriving from the Greek, Demos Kratos – People Power – Literally, direct self government and decision making by the people.
Today this idea is widely interpretated as indirect or representative democracy, where voters elect representatives to make decisions on their behalf.
Democracy implies varying degrees of people power, participation, representation, responsible government and consent. Democratic participation may take many forms, from voting and standing for political office to meetings, marches, demonstrations, peaceful lawbreaking and violent political opposition. Even riots and terrorist attacks have democratic claims, since they are ‘people power’ in the literal sense – although all states and governments will deny those democratic claims when such activities are directed against them.
Democracy: The Reality
In the British general elections in May 2005, when Tony Blair recorded his “historic third term”, it is worth noting the stats.
Labour’s “winning majority” actually compromised of only 35.2% of the popular vote, equating to approximately 22% of the electorate based on the estimated turnout of 61.3%.
That’s not even 22% of the population but 22% of the registered voters!
The figure 35% is used almost as spin to try to divert public attention from the colossal elephant that now overshadows politics in the UK. The shadow casts serious doubt over the true legitimacy of such indirectly elected representatives and indeed, the entire political process.
The truth is a staggering 39.7% of the registered voters chose to vote for nobody!
“The Quiet Landslide”
In the 2001 British general election, 41% of the public didn’t vote at all. It was dubbed Labour’s “quiet landslide”.
Of the 59% who did vote, only 40% voted for Tony Blair.  That equates to around 24% of the British electorate!
Following that very election, the UK government went to war in Iraq. So based on the support of 10,724,953 people, Tony Blair took the United Kingdom into a unpopular war with little support.
To give an idea of how representative that figure is, in the 2001 census, the population of the United Kingdom was recorded as 58,789,194. Although not all of the population that make up that figure would have been eligible to vote, clearly the stats raise serious questions.
I have often wondered how Blair has managed to remain in power after all that has happened since that war began. After all, everyone knows that we were duped about the reasons for going to war in Iraq. It is common knowledge. And there are very few people who believe the world is a safer place as a result of our government’s actions. But what I didn’t realise was, the answers, of course, are staring us all in the face. The reason Blair is still in power is precisely because of the 40% of the public voters who are so utterly apathetic and disillusioned with the whole political system that they didn’t vote in the first place! It is the 40% that allows the government to get away with pretty much anything that they wish and for people like Tony Blair to get away with murder and still be able to stand tall on a pack of lies and spin.
Democracy in Britain
In Britain, representative democracy developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries under pressure from popular movements such as chartism and the trade union movement, and was, in part, a conscious effort on the part of the political power-holders to forestall radical demands for more direct or extensive political democracy. In the words of conservative Quinton Hogg (Lord Hailsham) –
‘If you don’t give them reform, they will give you social revolution’.
Many at the time were fearful of the idea of giving the mass public the vote. They could not have dreamed of a situation like the one that we have today.
According to the Office of National Statistics the total population of the UK in 2005 was estimated to be 60,209,500.
The fact is, people are not participating in this “democracy” of ours. It’s the Kratos without the Demos. Power without the People.
Through the early to mid 1800s, the idea of democracy was synonymous with the French revolution of 1789. It was deeply associated in the minds of both conservatives and also many liberals with the chaos, fear and terror that had followed this bloody period of history. Democracy was seen across Europe as something dangerous and to be avoided.
After all ‘what indeed would happen in Politics when the masses of the people, ignorant and brutalized, unable to understand Adam Smith’s free market, controlled the political fate of estates? 
Could it be that ever since the French revolution and the volatile 1800s, so much time, money and thinking has been channeled into cultivating ways of manipulating public behaviour to prevent social revolution that the result is this static non-participatory state of affairs that we have today? A situation where the public, by and large, no longer care who governs them or what they do?
One thing is certain, the battle to control and rule over the public has been a resounding success. We now live in an ideal state. A politician’s utopia. And a corporate dream.
Go back to bed Britain. Your government is in control.
 Hobsbawn E.J. ‘The Age of Empire 1875- 1914’ Abacus books