Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Stay Free

It's hard to work out what way things are developing in the Ukraine. Good news would seem to be that the outgoing president, Kuchma, who has backed Yanukovych, has suggested there should be a fresh election. Today the Parliament passed a motion of no confidence in the Government, although it is not legally binding without President Kuchma's signature. Now both candidates are meeting Russian and European mediators including EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Also, incredibly, Mr Yanukovych says he wants the contested second round of the presidential elections to be annulled - alleging there were irregularities in the voting in opposition stronghold areas in western Ukraine. So now both candidates are claiming irregularities in each others strongholds. The latest report from the BBC.

Surely there has to be a re-run of the election. Please God the other side will respect the result regardless of who wins. It does highlight the deficiencies of democracy, though - at its simplest 51% of the populace dictating to the other 49% the way things are going to be. Indeed some of my favourite quotes on democracy are:

“Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill, 1947

"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people." - Oscar Wilde. (I love Oscar Wilde's quotes...)

"Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on dinner". - Anonymous (or at least I can't find an originator)

"I've said it before and I'll say it again... democracy simply doesn't work." - Kent Brockman (the best of the lot!)

Anyhoo, despite the contempt held for The Guardian, by many in the blogosphere (and certainly those on the right that I've been reading recently) it's the only paper that has consistently published op-ed pieces by people with views from most angles of the current crisis. Read Nick Paton Walsh, John Laughland and David Aaronovitch about John Laughland. Paton Walsh gets the kudos, although I still find myself being easily convinced by any pro-Russian argument. Maybe I should go there:

"Hey! If you don't like it, go to Russia." - The master of them all, Homer J. Simpson
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