by Guy Dauncey
Democracy is a very recent social invention. Most people don’t like it when the societies they live in are blatantly unfair, with privileges and glory for the rich and hard labour and exploitation for the poor. In consequence, starting a thousand years ago, people in nations all over the world have gradually prised power out of the hands of their ruling elites and established democracies.
It has been incredible hard work. In 1794, Thomas Hardy, a London shoemaker, was charged with high treason for proposing one person, one vote. His sentence, had he been found guilty, would have been to be hanged by the neck, cut down while still conscious, disemboweled, beheaded, and his body to have been cut up into quarters. Fortunately, a Grand Jury of nine respectable citizens, after debating the matter for nine days, found him ‘Not Guilty’. The London crowd went crazy, dragging him through the streets in triumph.