The Case Against Democracy


You won't often hear me make a case against democracy, but there is one example I can give as proof that democracy just doesn't work. I refer to the Newcastle to Sydney train line.

The point is often made by some wag that the Newcastle-Sydney train journey is slower now than in the 1930s when the trains were powered by steam. It's even worse than that: the train journey is actually slower than the Eurostar journey from London to Paris, which is three times the distance. What have we done to deserve being lumbered with such crappy trains?

Well, it's the Government's fault, of course. Not just this Government, all NSW State Governments over the last half century. Every sucessive government promises a high-speed rail service, to be built at some indeterminate point in the future, when they know they won't have to pay for it. They then get voted out, a new government comes in and announces they can't afford to rebuild the train line (because of the debts left by the previous government, of course). As the new government becomes the old government, and the anger from the voters grows, they promise a high speed rail service, some time. Then they get voted out, and the new government... and the pattern continues.

So what we need to do is suspend democracy for long enough for the high speed rail link to get built. Without the election cycle to worry about, the government would have no excuses not to complete the project. You may say that such a government would have no accountability and therefore feel no compulsion actually build the thing, but there is a solution: a benign dictatorship under a dictator who is very passionate about getting a Newcastle-Sydney high speed rail link running. If I may suggest a candidate...

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