Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Britain has too many flaws to lecture about democracy

Hectoring phone calls from a post-imperial nanny won't help Kenya or Pakistan create stable and prosperous societies

Simon Jenkins
Wednesday January 2, 2008
The Guardian

".....This week the "better" democracies are wagging fingers at worse ones, like 17th-century popes reprimanding missionaries in the distant jungle. They tut-tut over a stuffed ballot box in Nairobi, a banned radio station in Islamabad or a murdered journalist in Moscow. They condemn a riot here, a bombed polling booth there and an imprisoned politician somewhere else. How dare these "developing" peoples corrupt the sacred rites of mother church?......

We are not so clean that we can lecture others on how they should govern themselves, especially those whom the west has polluted with aid, debt, trade curbs and wars along their borders. Democracy in Pakistan and Kenya may be looking violently unwell at present, but western democracy too is qualified by the corruption of party lists, eccentric primaries and electoral colleges. The British and American constitutions are both currently battered by criticism from their subjects for falling short of democratic ideals, notably in handling accountability and checks on executive power. The outcome of America's 2000 election was decided not by the ballot but by an appointed oligarchy. Americans would hardly have welcomed election monitors from Ukraine, India or Thailand encamped in the Miami Hilton.......

But democracy is best propagated by example, not by conquest or official admonition. There are too many blots on Britain's escutcheon for its leaders to go lecturing the world in terms redolent of the new interventionism. There may be beams in the eyes of other democracies and motes in ours, but their beams are not our business......"


Simon Jenkins ignored a prime example of the extreme hypocrisy of the "democratic" West. How did the U.S., "democratic" Israel, Britain and the rest of the "democratic" E.U. deal with the best democratic experiment in the Arab world, that of the Palestinian elections of 2006? All of these "democracies" are currently starving 1.5 million Palestinians using a medieval siege of the biggest concentration camp in history, the Gaza Strip, to punish them for electing the "wrong" party, namely Hamas.

This is much worse than hypocrisy; this is racism pure and simple.

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