No, I'm not talking about Zimbabwe, where a murderous dictator has made a farce of the election process. In fact, no physical violence has been involved. But democracy has suffered a grievous blow nonetheless. What I'm commenting on is happening right here, under our noses, in Britain.
Our Government has decided that it is no longer going to bother trying to persuade the British people to accept nuclear power stations, or huge new wind farms, or a barrage across the River Severn. Gordon Brown has has come up with a much better ruse. You could call it his own version of a 'Third Way'. He's decided to speed things up by forcing through an Act of Parliament to remove powers to decide all of these controversial things from the democratic process altogether. In future, these decisions will be taken by a 'Commission' of Government appointed 'experts' instead, working within overall Government policy.
All of this will cause anguish to anyone who loves the beauty of our landscapes. The Government's intention is to make wind turbines "as familiar as pylons". As if that makes it any more acceptable. There will be much gnashing of teeth at the Annual General Meeting of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales in Newtown tomorrow. It seems that I am the only name up for the position of President again this year, the 80th year of the organisation's existence. I received my copy of Cymru Wledig/Rural Wales in the post this morning and I quote my own words from my personal contribution on page one.
"Much has changed over the last 80 years, but the need for CPRW has not. The consequences of an expanding population, ever growing demands for energy, greater awareness of climate change, and an increasing threat to rural services make the need for a rural 'Watchdog' as relevant as ever".