The Times makes the case for replacing democracy with authoritarianism

David Cameron’s former speech writer seems a bit disappointed by democracy. 

NS

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Say what you like about the “unpalatable” quartet of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Edorgan and Rodrigo Duterte, but they are all “masters of getting things done”. At least that’s according to Clare Foges in the Times this morning. 

Of course, by many measures, she’s not wrong.

US President Trump promised he’d pull out of the Paris climate agreement, and that’s exactly what he did. Under President Erdogan’s rule, Turkey has thrown more journalists in jail than any other country. And while in Turkey journalists disappear into prisons, in Russia journalists just disappear altogether. Meanwhile in the Philippines, President Duterte has begun arresting people for infractions as small as being outside without wearing a shirt.

Foges argues that these leaders may have their drawbacks, but when it comes to getting things done they are effective and ambitious, with “an ability actually to deliver on the issues that matter to their voters, or on grand projects to restore national pride”.

President Duterte of the Philippines, like Trump, has a so-called “disdain for etiquette” (read: tendency to commit gross human rights abuses, demonstrated by his ongoing “War on Drugs”) — but luckily Foges is here to remind us what’s important: Duterte’s approval ratings are at 88 per cent!

She goes on to write that, “Unfettered by the need to compromise (‘obey the law’), unburdened by self-doubt (or conscience), their ambitions are grand and they frequently achieve them.”

Duterte’s “War on Drugs” may have been responsible for over 12,000 Filipino deaths since he came into power two years ago. But, on the other hand, he is building SIX new runways. And you have to admit, that is a lot of runways. After all, as Foges points out, Duterte “never tried to sugar-coat his intentions” because that would really be the final straw.

The article goes on to explain the problem with leadership in the United Kingdom, lamenting the laborious bureaucracy that prevents one divine ruler from ploughing ahead with whatever they feel like doing. “Our own much-vaunted political system can be painfully slow and timid… Our leaders are constrained by parliamentary arithmetic and the need for consensus.”

Foges complains that, “Instead of bold ideas urgently executed, we get endless consultations, awkward decisions kicked down the road, policies described as ‘revolutions’ that are actually piddling.” As David Cameron’s former speech writer, we can trust Foges to know all about these “piddling policies”.

The strongmen described do undeniably get things done, just not things you would ever want to happen, ever.

I'm a mole, innit.