Who would have known that Nick Clegg was such a prophet? Long before he joined the Tories in a governing coalition he had predicted that ill-conceived austerity measures could lead people to riot. But if he was so certain, woudln’t that suggest that he triggered the riots by furnishing the circumstances under which he predicted they would happen?
Democracy is supposed to mean ‘government by the people’. In the ancient Greek city states all the free men (but not women or slaves) would cram the theatre for lively, informed debate on a relevant issue, and then would decide it by a show of hands. Not so today. Putting a mark on a piece of paper every five years and imagining that you run things seems like a sad parody of such activity, a demotic populism masking power rather than a popular democracy negotiating it.
In our society the most important decisions are often made by unelected movers of capital and unelected civil servants and generals. Elected officials are very often at least as loyal to the lobbies easing their way as to the voters they supposedly represent.