The Tyranny of the Majority

The Tyranny of the Majority*

 

The tyranny of the majority is the cause of all this woe
Almost equal numbers can turn a friend into foe
Because the larger figure dictates how we must run
Yet a bare majority is hardly everyone

If the rule of a majority is by which we must abide
And by the bigger total on the issue we decide
Then no matter how small the extra votes may be
The disappointed losers still have no valid plea

But the problem then is that it fosters discontent
The significant minority might very well dissent
The referendum winners will expect their will be done
But then the losers find their aspirations overrun

In such a plight our nation seems to wallow
No-one yet knows what from this will follow
Any consensus is very hard to discover
Who from this log-jam will help us to recover?

Politician and judges and all the good and great
Even the Sovereign dragged in to decide our fate
Perhaps all of this is down to our creaky constitution
Being un-written – as they say – perhaps it’s just illusion

But we can’t go on forever neither in nor out
Our friends in Europe wonder what its all about
We need to make our minds up and decide which way to go
Perhaps the tyranny of the majority we simply have to thole

Ken Fisher

*John Stuart Mill in On Liberty (1859) argues for freedom of speech
and argues against “the tyranny of the majority”

 

Climate Change

Climate Change

This is the challenge now we face
Suddenly it’s become a race
Against passing time and rising tide
The threat can no longer be denied

Young folks rise up in alarm
‘Gainst those who downplay the harm
Polar ice continues to melt
Effects around the world are felt

Island strands buffeted by tempests
Little defence against such impacts
Hurricanes wreak devastation
Carnage heaped upon these nations

Some delight in unaccustomed sunshine
But scorching heat is not benign
Forests burn ‘neath rays incessant
While we remain quite acquiescent

But perhaps some sign of hope we can discern
As in loud protest we hear concern
Expressed by thousands on parade
As their urgent warning is relayed

Ken Fisher

Niceness is a Thin Veneer

Niceness is a Thin Veneer to give the Impression of Civilisation

I wonder if you agree that niceness can be  just a thin veneer
Which we apply to our persona so that others think well of us?
But many consider the word nice to be really meaningless
Simply anodyne, not likely to provoke dissent or offence

And yet I suppose most of us would like to be considered nice
That is agreeable, pleasant, good-natured, congenial, friendly
Because few of us make it our avowed intent to be the opposite
Nasty, spiteful, argumentative, arrogant, hateful, repulsive

But if our niceness is only a thin veneer, sprayed on for effect
Then it seems to suggest that we are not always good guys
Yet we feel obliged to display qualities that would meet approval
Pressure is forcing us to be hypocrites, needing public praise

Apparently the social media has shown the propensity
For people to be anything but nice to others
On-line harassment is on the rise, computer rage rampant
The uncontrolled release of these emotions is damaging to health

So perhaps we need to recall that aphorism “It’s nice to be nice”
But we don’t need to sacrifice our honesty, or deny the truth
We simply have to calmly accept the reality of life
Stand our ground but be civil in all our dealings

Ken Fisher

 

The expression Niceness is a thin Veneer ………
Is a quote from journalist India Knight in the Sunday Times
Magazine 19 March 2017

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

I don’t know if this is sound culinary advice
Should you heat up your cold porridge twice?
Perhaps this guidance is not about food
But about our lives when we try to do good

Cold porridge is something quite unappetizing
It’s gone off the boil so it is not surprising
That like salt which seems to have lost its savour
This pudding is quite bereft of good flavour

Stale porridge might be just a metaphor
For things we once loved but now seem to abhor
The lost joy from a broken relationship
But no chance to rekindle companionship

Stale porridge my bear some resemblance to
Some passion or cause we no longer pursue
But now all our zeal simply withered away
No light shining forth at the break of each day

Stale porridge is like a thought our hearts once excited
But has lost all its power to make us delighted
No effort the magic can rejuvenate
Or our languid spirits can motivate

So stale porridge is best left quite unattended
No further energy on its substance expended
Sometimes food must simply be cast in the bin
And a new recipe for our life we ought to begin

Ken Fisher

Crystal Clear

Crystal Clear

 

Crystal clear is a term sometimes used by politicians
When they are justifying some proposition they have made
Claiming that there never was any doubt or confusion
About their intentions. In reality it was totally opaque

Crystal clear means completely transparent and unclouded
And so we are not sure if the politicians are implying
That we suffer from blindness or at least myopia
Or we lack the understanding to catch their vision of reality

Yet one wonders how this can be if crystal clear means
Unambiguous, easily understood, unequivocal?
Perhaps it is a different perception of clarity
Which is said to be the quality of being definite or certain

Mind you I don’t think politicians enjoy a monopoly
Of claiming clarity while promoting obfuscation
Perhaps also academic writers, social commentators
And critics of the arts, music, literature and dance

And of course don’t forget  the scientists who lambast us almost daily with
The latest ‘research findings’ intended to clarify our thinking
Many of these new pronouncements are anything but clear
To the laity. Confusion made worse by opposing findings soon to follow!

So what to do about the so-called Crystal Clear concept?

Simply we may be prepared to give the pundits a hearing
But we should not turn our living into a knee-jerk reaction
To each and every pronouncement thrust before us
The reality is that only a crystal is that clear – and even
They can sometimes be flawed with a range of defects

Ken Fisher

Bathroom Fittings

Bathroom Fittings

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The world of bathrooms and toilets has been truly transformed
The endless array of fittings would boggle your mind
From the old outside ‘privy’ completely reformed
To a shiny new palace of the ablutionary kind

When you enter the showroom you are quickly confronted
By gleaming examples of baths of all shapes and sizes
Toilet pans and bidets of any design you wanted
With slow-closing lids avoiding noisy surprises

The modern shower units encased in bright glass
With their temperature control and powerful jets
Incorporate features not seen in the past
A hydraulic solution to wash away stress

Then of course the showroom displays all sorts of taps
And wall heaters and mirrors in which you reflect
While luxuriating in steam you will surely relax
As if you are being subjected to the greenhouse effect

Without being too philosophical I have always believed
The yardstick of civilization is the gurgling water closet
If in hygienic surroundings you can be duly relieved
And even better still if you can find two shiny faucets

The Romans showed how this may be achieved
The bathhouse not just for cleanliness but for contemplation
Thus the rigours of life they could there relieve
The basilica the pride of that noble nation

So the message is this, buy some new bathroom fittings
The smallest room in the house deserves some attention
So don’t delay any longer, just make the decision
And now flush away all prevarication

Ken Fisher