While I was looking at this video of tickling sharks I was listening to the latest news on the progress of Mitt Romney towards being the Republican Candidate for the next US elections. And of course my brain made a connection between the two.
If you want to control a shark you can do so by giving it little tit-bits and then stroking and tickling it, until it will even stand on its head (well, nose), which is probably how political candidates feel about the general public, as that is how they seem to behave, in the west anyway. Over in the Middle East a different approach is being tried, in Syria but in other places around there too. That approach seems to be to try to beat people into submission, or close to it, then hope that some minor concession will get compliance. So if we, as the general public, don’t want to be beaten into submission we should be prepared to be tickled?
There must be a better way of engagement between our rulers and us, but it is not easy to see what it might be. It would be, we would hope, some kind, some form of democracy, but how would it really work?
Being able to vote in, and more importantly, vote out, the Government of the day is essential, but voting alone becomes like tickling sharks. In the UK an experiment is being tried which entails gathering names on petitions which then have to lead to a discussion in parliament, if you get enough names, which is a start.
But I think we need something to go with it, something which gathers and develops the dialogue between peoples, between people and parliament, something maybe we could see as a free press! A free press needs the ability to publish not just the freedom to publish, and we can see from the press scandals with the Murdoch news media and others that money distorts the freedom of the press, it elevates trivia and promotes corporate benefit against private benefit, it promotes the power of the privileged against the needs of all, strong and weak.
Various attempts are being made to suppress some of the freedoms of the Internet, on the basis that some of those freedoms lead to things we don’t like, or they don’t like. Which includes theft of works of art, literature, music and intellectual property, and we can have sympathy to some degree for that, but the opposition to control comes from people who, I think rightly, say that the current controls actually limit people’s freedom.
Until we have a better Internet then, one which allows all people the right to express views and to share things without severe penalty, the Internet seems the only place we can go which has open fora.
If you doubt this, then you may want to compare the BBC with Russia Today and Fox News and Aljazeera. So, are they all biased? If so, by how much and in what way? And do we need them all to create a balanced viewpoint? And if you could not access them all because of controls from your country, would that be good, or bad?