Don't fall for democracy sham; it's pure politics

Don't fall for democracy sham; it's pure politics
Members of Parliament are seen attending a session of Parliament in the House of Commons, called to discuss the Syria crisis in London.

Shock and horror! Democracy breaks out in the West! Last month, the UK Parliament voted against military action in Syria.

This was a major surprise - the UK has routinely voted for such measures since the Vietnam War; in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Though no motion was ever proposed for intervention in African crises like Rwanda and Zimbabwe. Maybe they are too far away and pose no terrorist threat (yet). Yes, I am just being cynical.

The initial reaction was that the parliamentary motion was badly organised and the various MPs were playing party politics. When it became clear that this would lead to accusations of supporting crimes against humanity, British MPs backpedalled. The vote was a demonstration of "democracy in action". The "people" did not want it.

This is complete rubbish of course, because the "people" were not consulted and never are during the course of a parliament. They get the chance once every five years to elect representatives who are supposed to act on their behalf in all decisions. You know that they do not do this, because Singapore has a similar system of democratic government. Your MP is the one who got more votes than any other in the election.

And he/she votes in the legislature in accordance with a party line without consulting you.

But at least Singapore can claim to be more democratic than the UK, because you have to vote. We don't, so we have swathes of MPs who have been "elected" by no more than 30 per cent of eligible voters.

The UK vote initially led to scorn from the US ("France is our oldest ally" in reference to the War of Independence) and from Russia ("UK is just a small island... that nobody pays any attention to...").

Then, whoops, US public opinion polls told President Barack Obama that the overwhelming majority of US citizens want America to keep out of Syria. This was followed, belatedly, by similar polls in the UK, giving MPs the chance to justify themselves in arrears.

Enter Russia, posing as a peacebroker (forget the arms deals and the crucial naval bases), advising the Assad regime to put its weapons of mass destruction under the control of the UN. This has shafted the US where it hurts. It has to allow the pantomime to continue or risk major international opprobrium.

Right now the Americans and the Russians are wrangling over the wording of a US resolution after Syria gave a list of its chemical weapons stockpile. Washington, Paris and London want a strongly worded resolution to ensure compliance under the UN Charter's Chapter VII authorising the use of force. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that that contradicts his agreement with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Our partners are now blinded by their ideological goal of regime change," Mr Lavrov added. "All they talk about is that (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad must leave."

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