David Runciman, the owner of a first rate pedigree but a second rate mind, uses space in the Observer today to convince us that we don't need democracy any more. The core of his argument is that the 'wrong' people keep winning democratic elections, so democracy must be broken. How much better if things were decided by savvy, opinionated, metropolitan young things swiping their i-phone screens rather than we 'confused' voters.
This is just the latest in a series of establishment campaigns to undermine democracy in favour of direct technocratic rule by an establishment elite - and few scribblers can be more elite than the Honourable David Runciman, Eton and Trinity, heir to a Viscountcy.
I really won't waste either your time or mine demolishing his feeble arguments one by one. It's thin, pissy, jejune stuff and you can do so yourselves.
The differences between congruent, stable nations with stark electoral processes such as the UK and weak, unstable, fractured or dangerous nations with electoral systems designed to impede, dilute, mediate or limit the effect of democracy such as Italy and Germany have evolved in reaction to specific conditions prevalent in each nation. For all the admitted 'unfairness' of FPTP for UK Parliamentary elections, it works here.
Runciman completely neglects to mention the surpranational body that does very well with hardly any democracy at all - the EU. And it's probably just as well that the treasonous authors of the FCO EU strategy document (FCO 30/1048) from 1971 are all dead - though that would not prevent future governments, like that of Charles II on Restoration, from digging them up and re-purposing their remains.
Runciman's musings are by no means original. "The operations of democracy seem decreasingly fitted to control the all-embracing regulatory activities of the Civil Service" wrote this dangerous mandarin with an easy acceptance that assumed technocratic rule to be inevitable, with the more 'democratic' front-dressing the EU adopted the greater and faster the bleeding of British sovereignty.
Well, I hate to puncture the little bladders of these self-obsessed elitists, but they're wrong. Deeply, utterly, absolutely and irrevocably wrong. They're themselves only only here and free to express their deviant views because the British people fought for democratic freedom over centuries of struggle - and two aspects of that freedom, universal suffrage and the secret ballot, are not and will never be up for trade or replacement.
The votes of the British people may appear an inconvenient impediment to these technocratic elitists, but we're not giving them up.