Monday, 21 March 2016

We won't get democracy until we learn what it is

If this is your revolution, you can keep it.

There are days when it all seems entirely futile, not least when I have a constant nag of critics who want me to be nice about people just because they say they want to leave the EU. Taken to the logical conclusion I should reserve criticism of George Galloway, a man who cosied up to Saddam Hussein.

Apparently I should not speak out against Nigel Farage who has persistently conflated Brexit with immigration, making it all the harder to win. Similarly I am supposed to support oafish bores like Boris Johnson regardless of how malign and repellent they are.

My work is described by critics as "constant stream of bile and vitriol towards fellow Brexiters". Except none of these people have actually spared a moment's thought as to what it takes to win. I am not in this to follow the Brexit tribe. I detest political tribalism. That is why I am fighting for Brexit.

Politics in recent years has reached an impasse. What we have is a political party system entrenched by various dogmas, but none are political movements with a list of objectives. They are mere tribes seeking power, largely for its own sake so they can tinker with the mechanisms of state to favour their own powerbase. And since there parties are no longer sustained by their members, their power base is increasing not the people. Even Ukip doesn't survive without donor bailouts and lashings of EU cash.

There was a time when the Labour party was described as the Labour movement - because it was a movement - with a distinct agenda and a list of demands that have shaped a century of politics. What is it now apart from a shell with a corporate brand, hijacked by a cabal of hardcore leftists with no real ideas and nothing of value to say?

Even the row over disability benefits is not a row over the nature of the system. We're just bickering over the variables this way or that. Nobody is seriously talking about reshaping and modernising our welfare system in any meaningful way.

On this, the Tories have not been reformers. They have been wreckers. For sure, the system needed a wrecking ball taking to it, but what we have in place of what came before is an equally dysfunctional system that fails the needy and humiliates those who have fallen on hard times.

This is entirely our own fault. We have collectively disengaged from politics and expected these lame-brains to come up with the ideas and the solutions to the the problems that they themselves create. In reality, if we want things fixed, it is up to us to design the solutions, organise, mobilise, snatch the power away from the Wesminster wastrels, and fix things ourselves. That is what a real political movement does.

And that is why euroscepticism isn't a movement. It's a generic gripe largely personified by Ukip. A party that wanted to uproot the establishment but couldn't even summon a credible manifesto in time to fight a campaign. The sad part is that the Ukip sentiment is a popular one and people are genuinely sympathetic, but in they end they took a long look at Ukip and rightly concluded they were a bunch of wankers with no real answers. Just a litany of complaints about foreigners, using populism to exploit the vagaries of proportional representation.

Had Ukip been a force with a serious agenda for change, with a coherent, structured idea of what they wanted and how to get it, they might well have own their forty MPs and I might even have voted for them myself.

And now that we have a referendum on our hands, which is nothing short of a revolution in governance, we once again see those making the demands abdicating the details and the outcomes to those already in power. The Leave campaign is demanding a revolution, but doesn't want to specify what it really wants in place of the status quo. It even adopts politicians from the existing orthodoxy to lead the charge. Where are the new faces in all this? Where are the leaders coming out of nowhere?

This isn't a revolutionary movement. It isn't even a movement. It is merely a nationwide gripe about the EU represented by some of the most lazy, venal and stupid politicians we have. While I still hope we win and we do leave the EU, the absence of a real movement means that the powers that be are still very much the powers that be. Having not specified a Brexit plan, they are free to do as they please and the campaign is in no position to be making demands thereafter. It will simply fold and vanish into thin air.

And so, yes, I think I am wholly justified in my "constant stream of bile and vitriol towards fellow Brexiters" - because they are losers, they are going to lose and they deserve to lose. If we do win it will be entirely by an accident of numbers and events working in our favour - but we will not have influenced the outcome, and the fallout will be left to the Westminster wastrels to manage - in which case we are only marginally better off than we were. It will not be our victory.

In that regard, I'm drifting toward the idea that I really don't care either way. We have discussed the EU as though it were an economic decision to end a treaty arrangement - just another managerial decision for the tribes. It should be about democracy and it should be about the people taking back control for themselves - snatching the power not just away from Brussels but also the likes of the Bullingdon club and the Corbynite commies.

The reason it isn't about that when it really should be is that people have really forgotten how to do politics. The Leave campaign shows us that we have lost the art of organising and mobilising. It is for the most part a shell campaign with regional sock puppets to be manned by interns with career aspirations in inside the Tory party (see picture). The closest thing there was to a bottom-up branch based organisation was Ukip - but in recent years hollowed out by Farage. Most branches have been abandoned and and left to fester.

We have also forgotten what democracy is. Most people think it's just about the voting rituals we have where we reluctantly vote for the least worst dictators for the next five years. They no longer understand the relationship between democracy and the exercise of power.

And so in the final analysis, I think it will take a referendum loss to get the changes we really want. We will have to experience first hand what it is like to not have democracy when it really matters. For the most part the absence of democracy is largely unnoted in that the lights are still on, clean water runs from the taps and and torrent on mindless pap on the television keeps the plebs entertained. Only when that is disturbed and they realise the power to fix it is no longer theirs will people really see the necessity for democracy.

For the time being we will just do as we Brits do and tolerate life becoming gradually more unpleasant - with legalised corporate predators eroding our wealth and freedoms. Somewhere along the line we will keep weapons close to the door - not in case of burglars, but in case the government - or a private agent of it comes knocking. Those who resist will be picked off one by one by a government that knows there will be no real backlash.

We will just have to tolerate being run by a bunch of venal, shallow manipulators for as long as the public are willing to abdicate governance to them. And so what if some of them also want to leave the EU? These people are not my allies - they do not speak for me and if at the end of this these same people are still dictating to us, what was the actual point? If the only reason you are campaigning is just to be rid of the EU for its own sake then you're not actually going to achieve anything even if we win.    

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