It is just one week ago that representatives of the major electricity providers appeared before a parliamentary select committee. Now delegates from three payday loan companies have answered questions from MPs amid extensive criticism of the behaviour and ethics of such enterprises as Wonga, who offer loans with annual percentage rates equivalent to several thousand percent.
Aside from their setting, these two events have two things in common. Firstly, they profoundly affect people of, at best, modest means, and in many cases those who are among the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. Secondly, one can safely assert that whatever transpires during this supposed examination of the business practices of the electricity and payday loans industries, nothing significant will change.
It would be nice to approach the matter with less cynicism, but anyone that has observed, as I have, thirty years of lies, corruption and broken promises at the heart of the political process will tend to err towards the pessimistic.
Heartless Thatcherism decimated the industrial base of Britain, and deregulated the city of London, creating the casino economy which still dominates today.
In the midst of 'Black Wednesday', John Major's feckless 'compassionate' Conservatives promptly blamed the entire country's malaise on single mothers, and ratified the Maastricht treaty, effectively creating the European superstate that continues to neuter Britain's sovereignty to this day.
'New' Labour was a disgusting desertion of its supposed values from day one, handing inordinate power to the Bank of England within literally hours of forming the government, presiding over the farce and national disgrace that was Iraq, and making any number of reprehensible economic decisions which left the UK in a dismal state by the time they left office.
Cameron's Bullingdon-based Tories have shown themselves to be nothing more than pigs at the trough of public money, backtracking on their commitment to offer a referendum on the EU, instigating odious social engineering projects such as the Work Programme and Bedroom Tax, while not even remotely reducing Britain's national debt. In fact, it has increased significantly to over £1.2 trillion while Cameron has merrily gambolled along closing libraries right, left and centre, and extensively privatising everything that wasn't nailed down.
And the 'alternative' party, the Liberal Democrats; what have they done about it, what have they contributed of value? I would suggest that you could write the answer to those questions on the back of a postage stamp and still have space for the theory of relativity.
It's not hugely surprising then that people become disillusioned with politics. When recently given the opportunity to edit the New Statesman magazine, Russell Brand composed an impassioned polemic in which he decried the existing system, and stated that voting is completely pointless. Naturally, he was attacked from every conceivable angle for having the temerity to offer this critique.
Yet what Brand was saying was self-evident to anyone in possession of a working memory and half a brain cell. What he perhaps failed to do, while conceding that he was not the person to undertake such a gargantuan task, was suggest a viable alternative.
Well, there is one available. For over 150 years Switzerland has operated as a direct democracy. What this means in practical terms is that any decision, any law, any legislation passed by parliament can be directly challenged by the Swiss people via referenda. Alternatively, the populace can also suggest new initiatives, and if they receive popular support and are in accordance with the Swiss constitution, they automatically become law.
This is not a fringe or obscure idea; it was discussed by the Daily Telegraph just a few years ago. Such a populist political system recently lead to the people demanding stringent controls on executive bonuses. Can anyone imagine that happening in Britain? Stop sniggering at the back.
And one might note that, of course, Switzerland steadfastly refused to enter the absurd political-class social experiment which is the EU. There was no prospect of the government denying the people a referendum as in Britain; it is absolutely enshrined in the culture of the nation.
Is Switzerland a paradise, a utopia as the result of being a direct democracy? No, of course not. Such a state of existence will take a huge, concerted effort from people all over the world, over a significant period of time. But what does occur in Switzerland is that people have a direct say in the issues that affect their lives, a genuine public platform.
With it becoming increasingly evident almost by the day that this simply isn't the case in Britain, we have surely reached the point where the people need to demand a new political system. It must be absolutely self-evident by now that the current one is elitist, unrepresentative, and offers nothing in terms of a social contract with the electorate. There is even a political organisation pushing for direct democracy in Britain, the People's Administration Direct Democracy Party.
What I would like to see in the future is the downtrodden and disregarded given a genuine voice and stake in the society in which we all reside. This is not going to be handed to us on a plate by a bunch of wealthy Old Etonians with a profound self-interest in protecting the status quo. It will only happen when we stop cooperating with the existing political stitch-up and demand a viable alternative.
Christopher Morris plays too many video games, watches too may sci-fi movies, writes too much, and sleeps too little. Find more of his Yahoo UK articles here.