As Vladimir Putin embarks on a further term of office, he can at least point to the fact that even despite the vote rigging and stuffed ballot boxes, he can claim a mandate- even his opponents admit that he has won the election. As I watched the line of Russians outside the embassy in Tallinn I had mixed feelings: on the one hand a hope that Russia can become a genuinely democratic state one day and a fear that the brutal language that Putin uses against the Baltic might one day lead to brutal actions.
Yet as the Murdoch scandal cuts a further swathe through British democracy, I am beginning to think that about British democracy rather like Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought about Western Civilisation:
"I think it would be a good idea"
For the fact is that what appear to be criminal links between the Murdoch organisation and the Police and other government bodies undermines the fundamental basis of the British democratic system and places it on a similar level to the corruption of the Kremlin..
The forms of the British government have become a conspiracy by insiders against the interests and the wishes of the majority. Huge transfers of wealth are made at the behest of the state from the poor to the rich- as the "rescue" of the banks shows all too clearly. The cosy links between Rebekah Brooks and the Police- underlined still further by her ability to use a police horse for her personal hacking- which is a privilege that it appears she has shared with the Prime Minister.
Murdoch was able to use his power for his own personal gain- and if the allegations in the various investigations are proven, then there is little doubt that the political system that Murdoch dominated and controlled was in fact corrupt.
The Liberal Democrats were victims of this corruption, and they were a lone and principled voice against the power of Murdoch, yet I fear that they will gain little benefit from this. The compromises of power have also compromised the Liberal Democrat brand. Yet for me, the lesson of the emerging scandal is that we should stick to our fundamental principles no matter what- and even more so as the United Kingdom in its current form faces over the next five years existential challenges that it has never seen before.
Britain can only survive the next five years if we restore belief in the values of our democratic culture, which have been poisoned by the depravity of the Murdoch Press and the collusion of the establishment. Liberals should speak out for the radical principles in which we believe: it may be the only way we can restore faith in our own democracy - and provide a standing rebuke to Vladimir Putin who practices the forms but not the reality of democratic government.