Jean-Jacques Cornish

Important polemic on the existential threat to democracy

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“Revolting,” by Nick Hume

A.C. Grayling expounded on the threat to democracy in an eye-opening “Democracy And It’s Crisis”

Times  columnist, Editor of Spiked and self-proclaimed leftie Mick Hume goes to the mattresses against those undermining  democracy. And among those he takes on is Grayling, whom he accuses of being among the cleritocracy who believe democracy requires a clear-thinking elite guiding the unwashed, ignorant masses on how to vote.

So who is this whippersnapper? asks my friend Quinten who is on first name term with Grayling.

This makes Hume’s point exactly.

Denegrate and belittle opponents  and those daring to speak out against the conventional wisdom!

Grayling uses the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House as the pegs for allowing that democracy is failing us.

Hume find both these developments deeply regrettable.

However, his point is they are both democracy in action.

More Britons voted for Brexit than for anything else in British democratic history.

Their vote, like Americans who cast their ballot for Donald Trump, was a revolt against the elite preferring to tell them how to vote rather than engage them and address their issues and misgivings. In fairness, Grayling also make this point.

Hume insists democracy will often not give the desired outcome . The only way of addressing this is engaging in more debate to win the battle of ideas.

He fears that too much power has been handed to unelected groups, like judges and the European Commission, by the political elite determined to keep this out of the hands of the demos: the people.

Both he and Grayling draw on the first democracy in Athens 2 500 year ago which failed dismally to the extent that no one dared propose the idea for 2 000 years.

Hume argues that a successful democracy should go back to the Athenian roots with a careful removal of sexism and others mistakes .

This will mean taking power away from the unelected directors who dismiss opponents as racist and ignorant.

I am particularly drawn to the late Tony Benn’s acid test of anyone in power: exactly what power do you have;  where did yo get it from; how are you sing it for the good of the people; and how do we get ride of you. 2015-05-18

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.