Eddie from Bracknell, voice of democracy

"It's Eddie on the line from Bracknell here, I don't normally phone in to these programmes, but I'd just like to say that I've been listening to your guest and I think he is absolutely wrong, I don't think proportional representation or the single transferable vote would be a threat to democracy, and shall I tell you why? I'll tell you why. Because we haven't got democracy here, that's why. All we have is a chance, once every five years, to choose between two similar packs of plausible rogues, no, hear me out, what I am saying is true, in fact, I wouldn't even say they were very plausible, you take Dr Brian Mawhinney for example, I don't know why he calls himself a doctor, if I saw him leaning over me at the scene of a road accident I would say I was feeling fine rather than risk being treated by him, but that's by the by, it's just that I was listening to him the other day on the Today programme saying what wonderful things the Government has done such as safeguarding the railways, and I thought to myself, How can he say that? How can the man without blushing say that the Tories have done marvels for the railways when for years all they have ever done is starve them of cash or sell them off cheap and either way undermine them? Doctoring the truth, that's the only kind of doctoring Mr Brian Mawhinney has ever got up to, mark you, they seem to go in for fake doctors a lot in Northern Ireland, what's that other plausible rogue? Dr so-called Ian Paisley, that's the fellow, I tell you if I saw him leaning over me at the scene of a road accident I'd get such a fright I'd agree to be treated by Old Ma Whinney, but I suppose being a doctor helps you to get a parking space in Belfast, where was I? Democracy, yes, to come to the point, I think people in this country are starved of democracy, of having any say in the way they are governed, and that's why they want a bit of constitutional reform, the Labour Party and Lib Dems are absolutely right here, we all feel (except the Tories) that the way things are run at the moment is not right and things have got to be changed, so when John Major gets on his high horse and says it will all end in tears and lead to the break-up of Great Britain, he's talking through his hat, we're just asking him to consider improving a desperate situation, though it's funny to see him facing both ways, I mean, when it comes to the UK he is adamant that we must keep the union going at all costs but when it comes to the EU he seems hell-bent on obstructing it and hampering its workings, come on make your mind up John Major! Are you helping or hindering? Are you the personality of the year? Are you, my foot! No, all I wanted to say was that the people of this country are so starved of democracy, real democracy, that they pay good money to pretend to have democracy! What am I talking about? I'll tell you what I'm talking about. I'm talking about phone-in democracy, that's what I'm talking about, you only have to switch on TV teletext to see notices saying: "Do you think Michael Atherton is doing a good job as England captain? Ring in with your YES or NO vote now!" or "Who do you think is man of the match! Register your vote now!" See what I'm getting at? We're so starved of real democracy that people are prepared to lash out money on phone calls to register a vote that doesn't mean anything, just to get a feeling of participation. That's why programmes like Any Questions have turned into boring party political programmes, which they never used to be, and why Dimbleby says now and again, "Well, this isn't strictly a democratically significant exercise, but it would be interesting to see how many people in this hall think that the queen should be abolished, so just raise your hands if you think she should be." Of course it's statistically meaningless, but emotionally Dimbleby has got it right because it does give people a momentary feeling of participation which they never get normally, so what I am getting at is that we have turned into a phoney, phone-in democracy, where a phone vote is the nearest most people ever get to a vote, no, hang on, I'm almost finished now, I just want to say that I am as bad as anyone because I have hogged this whole conversation through just ringing in, but I am convinced that if I didn't have this outlet for my opinions I might run amok with a machete or blow my savings on the National Lottery, so maybe phone-ins do have their own validity until such time as real democracy comes along, that's what I think anyway ..."

Well, do you think Eddie is right? Phone NOW to register your vote for either YES or NO.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee