Uzbek voters have the fun of going to the polls on December 29 to choose between candidates for parliament from four “political parties”, each one of which loudly supports President Islam Karimov. Even the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), so often ready to excuse authoritarian behaviour by its members, has concluded that the Uzbek elections do not offer a genuine choice to the Uzbek people.
Whereas here in the UK, we are to have our democracy “Reinvigorated” by live broadcast debates between the leaders of the three “major” political parties. Which explains why this post is titled Anglo Uzbek democracy. We are urged to applaud as a major breakthrough a TV event that is irrelevant to the key political choices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and which further enhances the disastrous “Presidentialism” that enabled one man to take us to war in Iraq, by telling lies to overcome the real wishes of almost all his party.
Despite the most concerted and near unanimous campaign of media jingoism in UK history, a consistent majority of British voters are against the costly war to keep the fraudster Karzai in power in Afghanistan, and to maintain security for the drugs warlords who make up most of his government.
People simply do not buy the line that killing people in Afghanistan and Pakistan makes a terrorist reaction in the UK less likely.
The establishment response is to pack the airwaves with military figures on any excuse. Not only are the military, retired and serving, used to openly propagandise for the war, but they turn up to review the papers or choose Desert Island Discs. Doubtless Antiques Roadshow from Chelsea Barracks is being filmed. I should like to hear some soldiers singing a sentimental Christmas song about a mutilated Afghan girl who will never see her parents again after her village was bombed.
But there are very few signs the perpetual propaganda is working. The public remain deeply hostile to the Afghan War. Yet we are approaching a general election, and a “Leaders’ debate” in which all the “Major” parties will firmly support the war and the ludicrous line that it keeps us safe in our beds.
Where, then, is the “Genuine choice” for the UK electorate. There is none. The old joke that, whoever you vote for, the government gets in, has never been more apposite. There is no real choice for the British electorate. Will someone phone the OSCE?