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Welcome to James' Philosophical Agora - James' Meeting Place On-Line. (Updated June 2017)

James' Philosophical Agora’ is an on-line archive for various pieces of personal writing on mostly fairly serious subjects; yet hopefully with a few amusing or curious items and anecdotes along the way as well. Many pieces were primarily written to share with individual friends, but are made available here for any others who might find the points discussed interesting or helpful, or who are 'treading the same path' and may wish to comment or add to them.

I have a separate blog where I share my enthusiasm for the specific philosophical tradition of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle at: Socrates 4 Today

As well as leaving comments on any of the blog posts, you can also contact me personally if you would like to discuss any particular items further: jamesdelphi2000@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Modern Politics 01 - Please Can You Tell Me the Answer to Some Basic Questions On Politics and The Media ?

Can someone answer the following questions for me?

1) How much do our political leaders really know?
- Where did they learn it?
- Who taught them all these important things?
- How long did it take to teach them these things?
- Is being a politician - or running the local council - like learning to be a doctor or a pilot or a physicist? After all, we would not let a doctor operate on us without the correct training, or a mechanic fix our cars, so I was just wondering what training politicians have to run the country?

2) Does it take any special qualities, abilities, or intelligence to be a politician; or can anyone learn how to do it?

3) Has our type of democracy with power always resting with the same few 2 or 3 political parties become out of date; or is the system working just fine? Are there any alternatives or improvements we could make?

 - Would is make things better or worse to have more independent MP’s?
-  What other types of democracy are there anyway?

4) Does the media - which is largely owned by a very few big companies and individuals - have too much influence on which political party gets elected?
- Are there some measures we could easily take to limit the power of the media in our democratic elections - and so improve a little the democratic system we have?
- What recommendations do we expect the Leverson inquiry to suggest on such matters?

5) Does the media present the public with a balanced argument on most important issues so that ordinary people have a reasonable grasp of the positive and negative points surrounding an issue?
- How will ordinary people decide who to vote for if they do not have a reasonable grasp of both sides of an argument?
- Should there be a new law in the UK like the trade description law and libel law to cover deliberately misinforming or misleading the public on various important issues - e.g. 'The deliberate Misinformation Act' Is such a proposal so ridiculous – when all other products and services are subject to the Trade Descriptions Act easily enough? Would it be so difficult to insist on more balanced reporting in major media news - printed, TV, cable - outlets?

6) Does the general public know who owns most of the media? After all, we would not allow one banker to own 70 % of the banks (monopolies commission) or one grocer all the supermarkets, or even brewer to own all our pubs. So what is the situation with the media?  For example, if BSKY has 12 million “subscribers” - out of around 15 million households in the UK. Was Vince Cable right to be concerned about this matter? Has anyone apologised to him publicly for the way he was treated last year when expressing concerns when the BSKY deal looked like going through?

7) Is the current monopolies legislation adequate in the UK to oversee the media and take good regard the public interest? Is anyone public figure brave enough to put their head above the parapet and say what they would like to see the Leveson Inquiry do. Or will they simple wait to criticise whatever recommendations Leverson actually makes?

Philosophic Footnote:

'..... to understand how it is - is to begin (the first step) to improve what is.....'
(Zeitgeist – The Movie)

‘…..  We must not let people remain doubly ignorant. If people think they already know the answer to something when they do not they will not even look for the correct answers to problems or consider better options. They will remain “doubly ignorant” – which is much worse than knowing you do not know something and looking for the right answer.’


  1. Do you need a gmail or google account to make comments ?

    1. No - you do not even have to give an email or name at all if you do not want. However, I found it simpler to post my comments by selecting "anonymous" in the box where it says select profile - and then simply add your name and email if you wish in the message like I will now. James - socrates4today@gmail.com

  2. In answer to question one, I think that our politicians know little more than the average intelligent person on the street. What they are adept at, in order to succeed in their roles, is public speaking. What they 'know' is what they are fed by the civil servants who, in reality, seem to run the country. Policy may be, to a certain extent, driven by the party in power but the implementation of any policy is driven by Whitehall, in the UK, not Westminster.