Where to for democracy?

Good people must resist what is going on!

My sub-heading was prompted by that very well-known saying, “All that evil requires to succeed is for good people to do nothing.”

That saying came to me when I was reading a recent essay published by Professor Richard Murphy over in the UK. I am referring to his article entitled: Nature reckons science is watching as democracy rides over a cliff.

Here’s the extent of Richard’s short post:

This comes from Colin Macilwain in the latest edition of the massively influential journal ‘Nature’, and I quote in the public interest and as it reinforces the arguments I have made today:

But at the top [of science] there is paralysis: leading scientific organizations do little except chase money and reinforce the ruling nexus of politics and finance — even since the financial crisis of 2008, which discredited the free-market philosophy that underpins that nexus. I argued years ago (see Nature479, 447; 2011) that scientific leaders had failed to respond in any meaningful way to that collapse, and I’m still waiting.

The political structure of the West is in deep trouble, and should it fall apart, there will be plenty of blame to go around. Most will go to political and financial elites, or to rowdy mobs. But some will belong to people in the middle who have taken public funds, defended elites and then stood back and watched as democracy got ridden over a cliff.

I think that fair comment and recommend the rest.

If one now goes across to that post from Colin here’s what one would read in the opening paragraphs:

The elephant in the room we can’t ignore

16 March 2016

The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC last month was one of the best I’ve witnessed in more than 20 years of regular attendance. The policy sessions were packed and genuinely stimulating. I met tons of smart, influential people I hadn’t seen for ages, and we all enjoyed a good chinwag about how better to engage with the public — the meeting’s theme for 2016.

The only trouble was what was going on outside the hotel — in the United States and the world at large.

Colin then makes the point that is neatly articulated in the extract that was published by Professor Murphy and is republished above.

I don’t have any answers other than wanting to share this with you, dear reader. For decent, ordinary folk must be aware of the multiple threats to our Western democracy that are taking place.

Just as I want to share with you an example of what a good honest person and his adorable Labrador get up to. An example from my old country (and Richard Murphy’s home country).


Dog Refuses to Leave the Side of Near-Death Man Trapped in Mud


When one false step left Martin Kay literally drowning in ice-cold mud in the English countryside, he quickly found out who his two best friends are. Turns out one of them is a dog.

Holly Blue is a typical Labrador who has never met a tree trunk or a blade of grass that doesn’t smell good. So when Martin took out her leash one recent afternoon, his dog was over-the-moon with expectation of the crisp afternoon air and a landscape of wintery fields. Neither of them had any inkling that this simple walk would soon turn catastrophic.

This day, the two set out along a different route through England’s historic Thornham Parva village. Though it was a very cold day, the skies were clear and there was no reason for concern, or so it seemed.

“I hadn’t walked that route for about two years,” Martin said. “When I came across the mud, I tested the ground at the side and it felt firm, but as I walked into the middle the ground began to sink. I called for help but nobody heard me.”

Minutes turned into hours and Martin simply couldn’t extricate himself from the mud. Holly Blue circled anxiously, but there was nothing the dog could do except to stand guard beside her friend. She never left his side.

“I eventually drifted off,” Martin said. “I wasn’t optimistic about being found, but I wasn’t panicking – it was too cold for that!”

Fortunately, Martin’s good friend was scheduled to pick him up that day and when Martin didn’t return home, his friend grew concerned enough to call the police. Martin was reported missing to the police at 7:30 in the evening. Other friends and neighbors had already begun searching for Martin themselves, but they were all focused on his usual route, not realizing that he’d gone in a different direction.

Police used a thermal imaging camera during helicopter sweeps from above. After some time they came across a heat signature that appeared to be the warm body of dog curled up at the edge of the bog. According to police, indeed Holly Blue was found first, and sighting her led them to Martin. Watch a portion of the rescue below.

Police Constables Luke Allard and Clare Wayman were the first on the ground.

“The field was in the middle of nowhere and we were relying on the light from the helicopter and torch light,” Allard said. “When I got to Mr Kay I took hold of his hand and he wouldn’t let go – I told him he would have to let go or I wouldn’t be able to help him.”

Unfortunately Allard and Wayman began getting stuck themselves while trying to extricate Martin, so they covered him with their own jackets to keep him warm while waiting for reinforcements.

Martin was in and out of consciousness as he was taken to West Suffolk Hospital. When he awoke, he was told how Holly Blue had helped save his life.

“It was the first and the last time she had been called into action,” Martin said in an interview with Global News. “She’s a very loyal dog.”


Now compare the behaviourial values of Martin Kay, Holly Blue and everyone else who ensured this had a happy ending with those being demonstrated in the first part of this post!

It’s no sinecure to say, once again, how urgent it is for humankind to learn from our fabulous dogs!

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