Previously on An Idiot Plays…Democracy 3
The first 7 turns were a mixed bag. Mixed as in their were a few more nuggets of faeces than I’d like in any given bag. The global financial crisis hit and the economy immediately dropped into the toilet like so many drunk student’s mobiles. The people are largely on my side, as is the cabinet, but the wealthy (aka the people with the real power) look at me like a group of Slayer fans presented with a fresh faced pop-punk support band. Can Wanton Democracy weather the storm and earn me an unprecedented second term? Let’s find out..
We return to find the deficit at 32bn and the popularity of WD at 66%.
At this stage I decide to shore up support by doing relatively cheap and popular stuff that plays to my support base and also aids the economy in some way. Y’know: useful, popular, inexpensive policies. Of which there are…almost none. If there were they’d have already been implemented. The closest I can find is subsidizing hybrid cars. In turn #7 I introduced telecommuting, taking many cars off the road – it makes sense that the cars that are left are less environmentally damaging. I figure this, to the untrained eye, makes me look like I’m pursuing a focused agenda – pro technology, pro environment – and that the people won’t sense the amount of panicked flailing done behind the scenes.
I also cut agriculture subsidies as I don’t like the look of that deficit. My plan to run as close to neutral as possible predictably went to pot when the global downturn hit but I need to make sure things don’t spiral out of control.
Then I decide to cut income tax a little to try and stimulate the economy. It’s this kind of joined up financial planning that’s made me the rich man typing on a budget keyboard plugged into a laptop on which half the keys don’t work that I am today.
EVENT: STREET GANGS!
It turns out CCTV cameras are all that stand between us and our youth going full on Mexican cartel on our asses. It’s not like I even cut them that much – they’re still in every city centre. Just not so much in the suburbs. In hindsight I should have maybe upped the community policing budget at the same time. But, y’know. The deficit.
I invest in youth clubs to give the kids something to do and hopefully remedy the gang situation. I’m sure the sight of a few ping pong tables and vending machines will make the kids put down their knives and their crack pipes.
Crime in general is a real problem at this stage, but I can’t really afford to invest heavily in policing. So I do the next best thing – I fire the minister in charge. And to placate those who think I’m soft on crime I hire myself a tough old white dude to take over. I think it’s at this point that my moral compass officially stopped working.
EVENT: INNER CITY RIOTS! ROAMING VIGILANTES!
Nice work, tough old white dude! You’ve been in the job for 5 minutes and look what you did!
Ok, maybe I’m partially to blame. However I refuse to believe that cutting CCTV could have this profound an impact. GDP is dropping but overall the UK is still a nice place to live. And yet people are going crazy and smashing stuff up. And worse still after this development only 21% are planning to vote for me. That’s quite the drop. Who knew massive civil unrest was so high on the voters list of no-nos?
With my back to the wall I fling money I don’t have at policing. I need to do something to get the situation under control. I also need a quick fix on the popularity front and the only policy that people seem to like that I haven’t introduced is gambling so I figure why not? It’s a boon for organised crime, sure, but it’s disorganised crime I’m having trouble with.
With logic like that it’s hard to see how I’ve never made it past one term.
I’m flailing. Flailing!
EVENT: I’m asked whether I want to give Stop and Search powers to the police. I’m very much against such tactics but with the UK descending into lawlessness I feeI have no choice but to say yes. The time for ideology has passed – the time for brutal pragmatism has come. I feel like the bad guy from some poorly plotted dystopian YA novel.
After pumping money into policing the deficit has swelled to 50bn. I need to get this down – I decide that I can take a hit from the environmentalists and lower pollution controls. I’ve done so much on reducing car emissions I’m sure they’ll be cool with it. Yeah..
EVENT: WEB CRIME! My technological revolution has so far failed to materialise – however I have made my people tech-literate enough to develop new and innovative ways to scam each other. I’m really starting to dislike the people.
I throw some money at the intelligence agencies to tackle this new wave of cybercrime, more out of desperation than hope.
EVENT: CAPITALIST PLOT! The capitalists want me dead. I’m not sure why – if they’d just look at the polls they’d see I’m as good as toast as it is. At this point I think I’d rather die a martyr than face an inevitable defeat come election time. Come get me, Murdoch!
On the plus side – we’re no longer a technological backwater! My revolution is coming to fruition! We have a technological advantage! This is great news – but is it too late?
Also – we have a superhero! A mentally unhinged vigilante is probably not the best way to reduce crime rates but I’ll take what I can get at this stage.
I can’t remember when the election is on Democracy 3 but I know it’s not far away, and things aren’t looking good. So I decide to bribe the voters, I give them consumer rights – something I mean to do anyway but hadn’t got around to – and introduce food stamps. As we’re in a recession I fear they’re necessary – and whist they are at best a poorly applied sticking plaster over the real problems in society they are at least massively popular. And that’s the main thing, right?
EVENT: ANOTHER FREAKN’ DOWNGRADE! Why do the ratings agencies not respect my massive investment in technology? We have an advantage, people! An advantage!!
The transport minister is pissed for some reason – one of my few successful areas and she hates me. That’s just my luck. Rather than just fire her I decide to have a full cabinet reshuffle – get some fresh blood in to fight the election. Then, as a sop to my haters, I do something I wouldn’t ever want to do – I cancel inheritance tax. The whole thing. I like it, it’s a progressive tax, but the people who hate me do so with such fervour I’ll never make it through the election without drastic action. It may be futile but I’ve got to do something – despite what they currently think Britain needs me. My vision is slowly starting to take shape in the country – just as I’m about to lose power. Curse these election cycles.
EVENT: I’m asked about freedom of information – I say I’m in favour. That should please the human rights people who have inexplicably remained angry at me since took office, regardless of how much I’ve done for them. I’ve mentally been keeping a list of people who I’d make pay for their disloyalty in my second term. Which means I’ve effectively turned into Nixon. That…that was not part of the plan.
Also the list is largely made up of my own supporters. I fear power is driving me a little crazy.
The recession is over! This has probably too late to be much use to me but now the technological advantage Britain has can really kickstart the economy. I put some more money into education to celebrate. The deficit is at 44bn and I can’t see it dropping much until the economy grows so I figure I’l keep it around 50bn until then.
EVENT: ANOTHER MEDIA BACKLASH! Rich people sure do like to whine, don’t they? Can’t they just enjoy their ludicrous wealth for a bit and shut up? What’s the point in being loaded if all you’re going to do is complain anyway?
I cut corporation tax a little to try and appease the whining rich just a bit. The election must be soon so it couldn’t hurt. The next few turns could be critical for winning an election. If I can just shore up a bit of support and get re-elected the country will be in a great place to really build upon the foundations I’ve put in place. Just a couple more public pleasing moves and I think I might just get my nose over the finish line.
..and I’m out. By a fair old landslide too. Another attempt to mold the country in my image has gone drastically wrong. The Conservatives are in power and will probably use my technological advantage to build machines to grind up the poor into inexpensive cattle feed. Or something.
So then. What have learned? Why do I suck at Democracy 3?
- The rich are arsesholes, but they’re arseholes you can’t afford to piss off
Having the media on my back the entire freakin’ time did not help. Pursuing a relentlessly media mogul unfriendly agenda does not end well. I could maybe have got away with taxing luxury goods or the mansion tax but probably not both. An aggressively socialist agenda in the UK is still electoral suicide. Sorry, Jeremy Corbyn.
- You can’t play the long game in politics
You can sow seeds, sure. But putting all my eggs in the technological basket was not wise. If I’d have taken a bit longer over it and concentrated on keeping enough of the electorate on board to get me a second term I’d have been in a great position.
- People are god damn animals
Riots? Street gangs? Vigilantes? I didn’t even cut police budgets – I just reduced CCTV. Apparently if people aren’t watched 24/7 they go freakin’ nuts. As much as you’d like to have faith in your fellow man you can’t trust them to behave themselves.
- You gotta stick to your guns – or play the compromise game properly
My own activists turned out in disappointing numbers – in trying to please everyone I ended up with weak support where I should have been strong and little to no support where I expected to perform badly. You’ve either got to commit to a middle path or relentless pursue a vision. Anything else just leads to confusion.
- Everyone is wrong and I’m right
Health up, tech up (32%!), poverty down (and yet they rioted!), education up, environment up, productivity up (nearly 20% – how did this not affect GDP?), equality up. I unequivocally made Britain a better place to live. The only trouble is it got much harder to get a job and GDP went down. Which, in a massive global crisis, is to be expected. Despite some panicked flip-flopping I did a great deal of good. And still got voted out. That’s politics for you.
Why do I suck at Democracy 3? Because the electorate is too stupid to see a good thing when it’s governing them.