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The Great British public succeeds in not /entirely/ disgracing itself.

As doubtless no-one noticed, yesterday was International Day of Democracy, and to mark this the Inter-Parliamentary Union sponsored a survey by my mates at Worldpublicopinion.org on 'political tolerance'.  Not a very good title for the survey, as will be seen, but onwards:

Asked 'How important do you think it is for people to be free to express unpopular political views,
without fear of being harassed or punished?
', 96% of managed to judge it very or somewhat important, although you would never guess that from the fits of the vapours suffered in some quarters when the B*P gets a platform.  Top of the class for judging it very important were Nigeria, South Africa and South Korea, all at 77%+.  Head hanging is called for in Russia, China and Azerbaijan, with respectively 22%, 25% and 37% reckoning it not very important / not at all important. 

Moving on, 'How important is it for you to live in a country that is governed democratically?' 96% of us managed very / somewhat.  Top of the class are Argentina at 97%  and Egypt at 99%.  Perhaps Mubarak should be worried.   Ditto the thugs in Peking, as 95% of Chinese think it important too, as do 84% of Iraqis.  So much for it just being a Western value.  Russia disgraces itself with 25% deeming it not very important / not at all important. 

Next up, 'In this country, how free do you think people actually are to express unpopular political views,
without fear of being harassed or punished?'.  A somewhat naive 21% of Britons judge ourselves completely free, 48% somewhat and 30% not very free.  Chileans and Indians have the most faith at 84% for very / somewhat.  Least convinced are the Koreans and 'Palestinians', with 64% and 61% thinking themselves not very free.  I fear that the 16% of Chinese thinking themselves 'completely free' might be in for a long stint in the gulag if they tried it.  

The next one is a bit of an odd one:  How often do opposition parties get a fair chance to express their views
and to try to influence government policies? 
46% of us answer most of the time, 37% sometimes and 15% rarely.  Hmm, I don't see the connection - the opposition has plenty of chances to express an opinion, but they are not really engaged in attempting to influence, are they?  They are opposing, not proposing....

Also odd: Do you think members of [legislative body] feel free to express views that differ from
the official views of their own political party?
  In these parts, 23% yes, 45% ish, 30% no.  I'm all for the likes of Carswell and Hannan having their say, less keen on others who shall remain nameless....

Away from questions of principle and onto issues of function.  'Are women fairly represented in [legislative body] or are they not?'  This is led by Azerbaijan, with 84% saying yes.  And what is the proportion of ladies in the Milli Məclis?  50% maybe?  No, 11.4%.  Our figures are 55% / 43%, with a shade under 20% of both the Commons and the Lords female, apparently.

'Are minorities, such as ethnic, religious, or national minorities fairly represented in [legislative body] or are they not?' We split 48/47.  Top of the class is the People's Republic of China at 80% / 11%.  To my surprise, Koreans are the least happy at 12/86.  Although Korea is a very ethnically homogeneous country, there appears to be a degree of rivalry twixt SE and SW that puts any North South stuff here to shame, so it might be that that was being noted, or perhaps religion. 


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Blogger All Seeing Eye said... 1:39 pm

For the record, your apprentice collector of unconsidered trifles (and other desserts) was also aware of the significance of the day, but merely sniggered and ignored.

For International Day of Peace on the 21st TheEye will be largely not invading Poland.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:03 pm

ASE - Probably about all it deserved.

I will join you in neither crossing the Oder nor marching on Warsaw on the 21st.

But as for the 22nd, that's another day.....  

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