The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “progressive centre” Category

Sometimes Our Democracy Isn’t Enough

Posted on February 22, 2019

Our system of government, loosely known as democracy, is a complicated machine of many moving parts, guided by bureaucrats and elected representatives tasked with the role of making sure it all works.  Should it fail to function effectively, the system is designed to self-correct through periodic elections designed to give citizens ongoing opportunities to render their verdict on whether their aspirations are being matched with suitable policies. That’s how it’s supposed to run anyway and in the last two centuries generally our political systems in the West have proved adaptable and responsive.  In recent years, however, there is a growing sense that political power is no longer leveraged or guided by the people.  Sometimes it’s because our expectations are too high.  We have been spoiled as decades of…

Automating Poverty

Posted on February 19, 2019

Most of us remain thankful for modern technology and how it has speeded up processes and transactions, mostly by letting us carry out such procedures online and at home. Nevertheless, we are more than aware that something human got lost along the way to such efficiencies.   So it is with those struggling through poverty in all its many forms.  Recent studies are showing that many in low-income situations are seeing less and less of human caseworkers and more and more of online forms, lengthy wait times to reach someone on the phone, and a lengthy array of paperwork just to get through the process of getting assistance. It’s even the subject of a compelling book.  In her Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor,…

Our Bridges Are Burned

Posted on February 8, 2019

I was in a car accident during a bleak snowstorm last week and as I worked my way through the process that always follows those in such situations, I took more time than normal to look through social media.  It was a mistake.   I’d always vowed not to fall into that rut … and then I did.   There was much to learn from those hours spent on the digital frontier, but little of it was edifying or even instructive.  What there was instead was a lot of shooting, manufactured mayhem and average citizens left hiding behind their doors and peering out their windows.  It wasn’t literal, of course.  The shooting involved enflaming words not bullets.  The mayhem wasn’t a melee of violence, but opinionating on anything and everything using Facebook,…

Are There Lessons For Us In Brexit?

Posted on February 5, 2019

Actually, there are dozens of things we can learn from Brexit chaos that has torn at the very fabric of Britain and the European Union.  British polls continue to verify that most respondents can hardly even recall what the referendum was about and most express confusion over whether there can be any hope for a successful outcome.  These lessons for politics, citizenship, populism and the media are vast and have some things to tell any lover of democracy. Much of the confusion likely comes down to political parties playing with the fear of the future that so empowered the populist movement in Europe in recent years.  British newspapers are discovering that, while many still hold to their positions to leave or stay, the vast majority can no…

Challenging Capitalism From Within

Posted on January 31, 2019

The field of Democratic candidates for 2020’s American election is mushrooming and it’s destined to expand further.  The infusion of left-wing socialism within the party has filled it with new life and not a little frustration.  Already divisions are making themselves apparent – an emerging reality that could either help or hinder the party as it seeks the steer the country away from right-leaning trends.  As Republicans have signed over their credibility to one leader who most don’t even trust, Democrats are struggling to get their legitimacy back without a real leader at the moment, other than Nancy Pelosi’s role in Congress. I confess to having been intrigued by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s influence on American politics for years, largely motivated, and frequently inspired, by her two…