I’ll miss those

It’s a sad thing, but Clive James’ stint at the BBC is coming to an end. No more of his frankly excellent writing; no more of his great insights; and no more of his tendency towards self-deprecation.

But he went out on a high. He managed to include expense scandals, democratic deficits, designated experts and Kim Jong “Fucking Bonkers” Il.

What’s not to like?

The most interest bit, for me, was this:

The minimal definition of democracy that was devised in New Zealand by the exiled philosopher Karl Popper during World War II still holds: it’s a democracy if the government can be changed at the people’s whim.

That was the sublime cunning of Karl Popper’s minimal definition. He said the people’s “whim”. He didn’t say that the people had to be fully informed or wise. He said that all it took was for enough of them to want a change and it could be made to happen.

This has resonated with me in the days since reading it, because I’ve recently been having an interesting debate with a rather well-read fella about alternatives to first past the post, and the drawbacks to it.

FPTP ain’t perfect by a long way, but it caters to our whims quite nicely. Which is, as far as I can see, the point…

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