Tag Archives: anocracy

Are we now living in an anocracy?

“Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you?”, the late Tony Hancock famously asked, “Did she die in vain?” It’s a few centuries (over eight to be precise) since King John put his mark on that famous Charter at Runnymede and I’m just wondering whether it was all worth it.

Joking aside, I really am in despair as to the direction of travel that western ‘democracy’ appears to be taking. In particular I refer to our own Anglo Saxon ‘democracy’ on both sides of the Atlantic, although the situation in many parts of western and eastern Europe does not fill me with joy either.

I suppose that a few LDV readers may not be familiar with the word ‘anocracy’. To be honest, neither was I until recently and, every time I type the word into a text, my rather ancient iPad doesn’t recognise it, insisting on underlining it in red. Well, it’s apparently a form of government, which Wikipedia tells me “mixes democratic with autocratic features”. As Teresa May  famously asked; “Sounds familiar?”

In both the USA and the United Kingdom our ‘democratic’ institutions have moved little since the 18th century. In the former, its much vaunted written constitution, designed when the country was still a collection of small colonies clustered on the eastern seaboard of the continent, is now struggling to accommodate the aspirations of the changing population of a superpower. In the latter the parliamentary system, which may have worked on a severely limited franchise, when Britannia ruled the waves, is now failing to cope with the UK’s demise as a world power and its inability to find a modus vivendi with its near neighbours let alone with the rest of the world. The judgement of the late Dean Acheson is as valid today as it was back in the 1960s.

Posted in Op-eds | 24 Comments
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