Recently the democratic process has been rigorously tested and failed severely on both sides of the Atlantic. Worse it has shown what cynics have suspected all along: a game that is rigged long before play begins.
In the USA the nomination process may not be the greatest show on earth but it is surely The Longest Show on Earth.
The process has always been arcane.
There are primaries, delegates, super delegates, PACs, Super PACs and other stuff they love talking about on CNN.
Surely the whole shebang could conceivably be decided online, in a two week period, prior to a party’s convention?
Apparently not, and the current Republican nomination process has shown not only is it arcane, it’s antiquated beyond belief and open to scurrilous manipulation.
Whether or not you’re a fan of the Trumpster, surely any fair-minded person would have to admit that ganging up to stop the guy with the most votes is hardly democratic behaviour.
Even if the regulations allow such shabby goings on, surely the whole point of democracy is that it manifests the will of the people, and not just the people with strings to pull.
Alas, tragically even the green and pleasant land of Magna Carta is not immune from such sleazy shenanigans.
The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council asked members of the public to vote on a name for their new polar research ship.
The winning name attracted 124,109 votes, four times as many as the runner up.
It was: Boaty McBoatface.
However in another blatant slap in the face for democracy the vessel will be christened the RRS Sir David Attenborough in honour of the environmentalist.
Despite his name polling just 10,284 votes and coming fifth.
The science minister Jo Johnson, excused the volte-face by explaining the poll was only for suggestions.
I have not read the small print but I repeat, even if the regulations permit such shabby behaviour, surely the whole point of democracy is that it manifests the will of the people and not just the people with strings to pull.
As a sop to the people with no strings to pull, the remote sub the ship carries will be given the name of Boaty McBoatface.
I can’t help thinking this somehow makes things worse and culture minister Ed Vaizey agrees, saying the decision should “respect the will of the people”.
At any rate the whole messy stunt is now the subject of a Parliamentary Inquiry in another fine democratic tradition, namely throwing good money after bad.
Choosing a name for a ship may seem trivial in comparison to choosing the possible leader of the free world.
But isn’t that the point, democracy doesn’t make distinctions.
It’s a principle that’s built around the numbers.
And only the numbers.
It’s as simple as that.