Tag Archives: democracy

Pussy Riot: Not anti-Christian hooligans

Russian feminist punk rockers, Pussy Riot, have been sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism inspired by religious hatred”. When you look at the English translation of what they actually said, and why they chose to perform in an Orthodox Cathedral, you realise that the verdict is laughable.

The actual lyrics, as translated by the Free Pussy Riot website;

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, become a feminist
Become a feminist, become a feminist

(end chorus)

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, better believe in God instead
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings
Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!

Hardly threatening the foundation of Christian faith. What the group were actually protesting against was the cosy relationship between Vladimir Putin and the Russian church. History has shown us that when the church and state are cuddling up in bed together, people tend to be oppressed and the church tends to act a little unchristian. Rather than launching full assault on the faith of the world’s Christians, Pussy Riot were simply calling for an end to the rule of Putin (which it does seem has gone on forever) and for the church to stop trying to be best mates with the government.

Detailed analysis will follow.

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Is the UK’s democracy in decline?

Interesting – and slightly worrying – piece in The Guardian this evening about the sorry state of democracy in the UK. It’s illustrated with a photograph of Boris Johnson, but I’m sure that is nothing to do with the actual story!

Anyway a group called Democratic Audit has shared the findings of its report with the Guardian, and the conclusions paint a bleak picture. While devolution and Parliamentary select committees were welcomed (because the latter does a good job at holding the likes of Rupert Murdoch to account), it’s concerns were over how much parliament really represents us and how much power corporations hold over us.

Now, in the last few years Parliament has had enough scandal to turn most of the country away from politics. The expenses saga showed us that a lot of our so-called representatives are more concerned about lining their own pockets than their constituents. The state of the economy and the worries over cuts to services mean that the public see a government full of wealthy young men, out of touch with the majority of the population, who never have to worry about Workfare or the closure of their local libraries. The Phone Hacking scandal and the subsequent Leveson Inquiry showed us just how close big business, government and parts of the state really are. The question the report’s author asks is,

Britons could soon have to ask themselves “whether it’s really representative democracy any more?”

Is the government representative of the whole country, or just the interests of Murdoch and Eton Old Boys?

That said, there is a strong civil society opposition to the public spending cuts, like the local opposition to the closure of Friern Barnet Library and the UK Uncut group which plans sit-ins against corporations known to be guilty of tax evasion. The internet and twitter are full of active bloggers and politicos – though these might be the kind of people who aren’t ever going to be disillusioned by politics, no matter how many Eton Old Boys are thrown into government. Indeed, politics is becoming an interest for the minority, while most people look from the outside and see back-stabbers, expenses-fiddlers, careerists and out of touch rich boys arguing amongst themselves, whilst making sure they steer well clear.

The sad thing is, if we don’t reach out to the people alienated and fed up of politics, then the democratic deficit is only going to get bigger.

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