I’ll keep this short as it is a little off-track from the normal cat article! And I only want to make one point – a very personal point but one that I’ve been thinking about for a long time and which Rod Liddle writing in The Sunday Times makes today in his inimitable and amusing way.
A major reason why China is doing so well economically and therefore in terms of advancing the balance of power between nations in China’s favour is because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are able to take long-term decisions with thirty to fifty-year outcomes. Longtermism is the way to make real, lasting change for the better provided the decisions benefit the citizens of the country hence the ‘beneficial dictator’ reference in the title.
China is perhaps unique in making it work because the citizens are generally industrious. A dictatorship with lazy citizens wouldn’t work. It has to be a combination of various factors. I wonder if humankind is able to manage democracy. We are just too disjoined; pulling in different directions all the time.
Because China has a kind of hybrid dictatorship running the country, they are outdoing the West which is hooked on short-termism as it must be because that is the end result of democracies.
China has moved into Africa with very long-term goals to take all their precious metals by granting huge loans at cheap rates. These loans leave Africa’s nations in hock to China; dependent on China who leverage the loans to gain favours.
The problem with the Beijing’s semi-dictatorship is that the President does not care for animal welfare. He actually shuns it by refusing to enact animal welfare laws.
But in the UK for instance, ‘We suffer in this country from chronic short-termism, and it is wrecking the fabric and infrastructure of the nation’ according to Liddle. He is correct.
The governments bounce from pillar to post, rarely building anything long lasting and favourable for both citizens and their pets. Yes, if the cat owners of the UK are better off their cats are also better off. And by better off I don’t necessarily mean more money. I mean a better life; more contentment, more order and less chaos. Better roads for a start and a totally rebuilt health service (which is required asap).
Paralysis in USA
In the US the legislators have often suffered from paralysis due to an even balance of power between Republicans and Democrats.
Here’s another Liddle quote which is spot on:
Parties shun long-term investment because the benefits will accrue way too late.
In democracies the politicians have to see something happening almost instantly in order to get votes at the next general election 5 years down the line. This is not long enough for good government. And then when the opposing party gets in, they undo the work that was previously done. Result: nothing gets done.
Turning away from animal welfare
Boris Johnson promised improved animal welfare laws when he was Prime Minister thank to his wife. He was kicked out and those goals have gone. In a beneficial dictatorship he’d still be there and we’d be on the way to improved animal welfare.
Snail’s pace – all words no action
One of the great failings of the British government is that the cogs turn at a snail’s pace. It works far too slowly. China, in contrast, has a reputation for rapid results. Yes, it is sometimes at the cost of human and animal rights which is wrong but the point is made: we need less democracy and a little more dictatorship provided the right person is at the top, which is the hard part!
12-year terms at least
Of course, it won’t happen. Most people think democracies are badly flawed by they are the best we have. I am not so sure. Liddle proposes a 10 or 12-year cycle for general elections as a compromise between a benevolent dictatorship and democracy. At least that would give government time to plan long-term. Short-termism is fatal to real progress.
Finally, Britain has become lazy and flabby. The work ethic has evaporated. That’s largely due to Covid and the overly generous furlough benefit scheme instigated by Sunak and Johnson. We’ll never get it back but be dependent upon harder working overseas immigrants to do the work for us.
P.S. there is still a huge need to improve animal welfare across the globe. In general animal welfare sucks. It is shameful that humankind treats animals so poorly and often brutally badly.
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