Dümmer als die Polizei es erlaubt

My apologies, those who must, know. In the Bernese parliament, or more quaintly, the city council, we are at present sitting through the debate on the 2010 budget. I am personally very interested in how many of the parliamentarians can actually competently read the budget (a huge table that you can download) and which the fellow sitting right in front of me can give a glimpse of. Said poll would be worthy of a poll, perhaps even a master’s thesis! But, this is politics, there is no necessity to know anything about the subject matter, what is important is to say something, possibly a lot, many words, inflamed sentences, puss-filled paragraphs: rhetoric! Pardon me, I meant polemic.

Alright, so I am not in a good mood. There is is debate going on and one of the parties has put in over 100 requests for changes to the budget because they claim that they want to save. Needless to say, in the same breath they request more money for the police – not that that in itself would not make sense – but in my logic it does not rhyme with their logic of wanting to save. Credibility is not something that this party is particularly good at building, but they are excellent in public relations… That is, they are very good in manipulating the media, or say, the media dedicates space and copy to anybody who screams loud enough, what they actually say, or the substance of the message, all irrelevant. It is either them, or the media, or the lack of the ability from the side of the public to think critically. Bottom line in my view is a lack of education; our schools do not teach the fundamental critical skills needed to develop democracy. I think that there is a problem in that department…

Going a little further I find that what I am witnessing now in this very Rathaus parliament chamber is a form of violence. A group of individuals that box through over 100 requests and then take the maximum time allotment at the speaker’s podium when such an action has no other effect than to waste a lot of time and undermine the democratic process, are doing nothing less than using brute force. I dare say, this is violence. Verbal, but violence; verbal violence is also violence. It is a bit strange, this is also the same party that uses said speaking time and goes way off the subject of debate into how very violent the streets of Bern have become. Violence begets violence. It is a bit of a vicious circle, isn’t it?

I do wonder how long this charade will go on tonight. Will we finish the budget before the Fall recess that is due to start next week, or will we return to this sorry state of affairs after the break and then finish the budget tirade?

update: we concluded after 3 a.m.