Sunday, 19 June 2016

The problem is not ours

Paul Goodman of the Centre for Conservative Sycophancy tells us that:
Today, we should ask some big questions about the way in which we treat MPs.  Where does the balance lie between criticising and abusing them – thus deterring good people from politics?  We have gated communities.  Will we end up with gated politicians, insulated from constituents for their own protection?
I reject this entirely. To stop and ask how we treat our MPs is to imply that events have been influenced by the public mood and not a self radicalising racist sociopath. There is no line between criticising and abusing MPs either. Both are wholly legitimate options. Whichever the MP is on the receiving end of is entirely up to them.

We have MPs like Rachel Reeves and Mary Creagh both of whom are scheming sows with no interest in any kind of debate, ever ready with the block button at the slightest hint of disagreement, the latter conniving to exclude evidence from a recent select committee.

And then we have individuals like Glyn Davies, with whom I have disagreements from time to time, but to his credit maintains an open dialogue and gives us some insight as to how decisions are made on his blog.

It pleased me no end to see that Glyn Davies, a thoroughly nice bloke, came out for Brexit, but I would also have retained a degree of respect had he declared otherwise because he maintains that dialogue. And then there is Jeremy Corbyn, an MP reputed for going to see constituents at their homes on his bicycle. A man who even as a party leader still walks among us without an entourage. These two men are in no danger from anybody. They have earned respect.

The frustration with MPs comes from them largely being in transmit mode only. They speak, we listen, with no interaction except for them to tell you what your place is. That above all else sends me nuclear.

And people online have varied impressions of me. Some know me as my anarchic self and can appreciate my abstract humour, others know me as a fire-breathing tempestuous complete bastard bordering on psychopathy. It is entirely contingent on attitude and approach.

What what enrages me so is intellectual dishonesty. The kind that equates euroscepticism with murder and racism. In so doing they seek to make euroscepticism unclean and impolite, further retreating into their bubble, thus reinforcing that distance and damaging free speech in the process. It feeds that very cycle of hatred. That is what puts them in danger.

And it's not just MPs either. Frankly I wouldn't be surprised if someone attempted to gouge out Polly Toynbee's tongue with a spatula - and if that happened in front of me I wouldn't rush to intervene. I would maybe stop and check my emails and tie my shoelaces before acting. Furthermore, the snide little tricks of Nick Cohen, using Ukip as a proxy for people who want to leave, is the height of dishonesty - and exactly the kind of smug underhandedness that makes me seethe. If I ever do have a red mist postal moment, his name is high on the list.

And this kind of behaviour is habitual for the establishment. It should be noted that the Vote Leave campaign is one foisted on us by an entirely unelected electoral commission, without consultation of any in the leave movement. Not CIB, not Bruges Group, not TLA or any of the left wing groups - and nobody in the planning meetings wanted Johnson anywhere near this.

Vote Leave is a contrivance by the establishment, which is a why it is as abysmal as it is. It is a wholly exclusive operation which does not consult or cooperate with other campaigners or activists or even acknowledge they exist. This is how they operate. Often secretively, with no intention of opening up any dialogue at all. This is Westminster culture throughout.

And so by the vote or by any other means the public have rightly concluded that their politicians do not and will not listen to them. The consequence for that is violence. Because that actually is what underpins democracy. Do as we say or there shall be disorder. The Arab Spring was the truest manifestation of democracy I have ever seen. People rising up to dispose of their tyrants. It's what happens when they are no longer tolerable and do not serve the people.

And so it is not for us to introspect. The system, the people within it, and the rules by which it functions must come under close scrutiny. And the EU very much is part of this problem, not least for the farming community who are routinely told that bad policy cannot be change because they are EU rules. A constrained system that cannot change and will not change, and will fend of any external attempts at changing it through the dishonest practices I allude to above, is one that will toxify.

If MPs do not want to end up in a hole in the ground, the best way to avoid it is to approach their duties with intellectual honesty, integrity, humility and a sense of humour. If the process of democracy is not a two way dialogue then it becomes a case of them versus us. When you nurture that divide through lack of dialogue, murder and death seem wholly inevitable - and unsurprising. 

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