Thursday, 25 February 2016

It's the democracy, stupid

We Leavers should have natural allies on the left. We don't. All the waffling about TTIP and privatising the NHS has not brought them to our side. We can successfully expose the Cameron reforms as a Tory lie and the left will still vote to remain. To them, the status quo affords them protections they believe are threatened by the Tories and they still believe that Cameron wants us out of the EU. They shouldn't but they do.

People seem to be frightened of stepping away from the protection of the EU and "leaving it up to the clowns in charge". There is some powerful scaremongering going on and Leave has no real answers. Especially since half of us, for more fundamental moral reasons want to scrap a ton of human rights. I believe this is one of many reason why we're going to lose. We've never really beaten back the tide of rights culture.

In fact, the trade union bill has been a decoy instrument. It doesn't actually do very much and only comes to into play in very remote circumstances. The unions have already been successfully neutered yet this bill preoccupies the left more than anything we have been banging on about.

In this the unions have sided with the EU largely because it does their work for them, and all they have to do is sit in the middle and cream off cash from their members and probably the EU. It is my view that that the EU does indeed buy up a lot of support by removing the necessity for aggressive unions and grassroots action. It has made us a passive recipients of rights and the unions have gone native.

It should be noted that the EU strictly controls union access to the top tables and union influence within the EU structures are weak. Not least since the International Labour Organisation is the top table in this regard. But at the level we are talking about, we might as well be speaking talking about quantum physics.

The working time isn't as unpopular as people think and people for wholly irrational reasons believe that doctors and nurses would be forced into working 72 hours a week without a break etc etc. The scaremongering has worked and people do believe some absolutely bonkers ideas.

Part of the Leave strategy is reassurance - and we have made a huge deal of reassuring business in that the trading environment will not be adversely affected, but we're not doing much to reassure people that their rights and entitlements will be protected.

The left genuinely fear democracy in this regard because of what the Tories might do. It's ridiculous but also not unreasonable when Leave suits the plans of Gove, Galloway, Farage and Duncan-Smith. Tacking Kate Hoey onto the campaign to whinge about TTIP is not good enough. They can't all have it their way, so who is going to get what they want from Brexit? Hoey or Duncan-Smith? It would be bad if either agenda succeeded.

People are wary of democracy and we have not done enough to stimulate a thirst for it. All we've done is offered petty whinges and people are not going to risk their jobs to resolve such peripheral gripes - not EVEN immigration as Ukip has it.

If I had a soapbox to speak to the entire nation, I would level with them. I would say that trade is unaffected, basic human rights are protected, but all the powers over the baubles and trinkets that we didn't ask for and don't use will come back to Wesminster. Yes, we might have to organise and fight for the rights that we want, and yes we might actually lose. That doesn't worry me because ultimately I am a democracy fundamentalist.

However, most people are not. They are only dimly aware of what democracy is and what it looks like and have forgotten what it means to be politically engaged and active. We have even lost touch with the art of building successful movements - most notably the inability of the Leave side to construct a campaign organisation of competence and skill. That should have been Ukip - but Farage destroyed that.

And so, the task ahead of us is to really demonstrate what democracy is, why we don't have it and why we need it and why it's worth upsetting the applecart in an era when post people are satisfied enough with the status quo to roll over and surrender to the EU. I don't know if we can do that in four months. I seriously doubt it.

The problem we have is that the effects of the EU have been glacial and those who have lost out have lost due to the march of progress and modernity rather than anything the EU has done. There are fewer low skilled jobs, and high skill jobs are being filled by anyone with the qualifications to get them. The answer is not then to close the borders. It is to give British kids a chance of competing.

In this the prime concern is decent schools and affordable, accessible universities and apprenticeships - stable homes and decent local healthcare. Our fringe obsession with the EU doesn't really speak to that and though we can desperately try to links such things to the EU, won't succeed. We have tried doing that for forty years and failed. That's why Ukip fails and that's why the Leave campaign sucks.

Ultimately we cannot persuade the people to lend us their support. They have to demand Brexit for themselves in a wave of protest. We're only leaving in June if there is an accident of numbers. If we do want to get out then we will have to approach it another way.

To say that if you want decent schools and universities then you're going to want more local control and total control over education policy locally - instead of grubby little SpAds dictating their ideology from Whitehall. If they want cheaper and better housing then they need total control over planning law locally. Pardon my French, but what the f*** does a Whitehall housing policy wonk know about building opportunities in downtown Bradford or Bristol?

Course if we start demanding all that local control and to do the job ourselves where London has failed then the people taking control will find that a goodly reason why Whitehall is incompetent is because EU targets and adoptive ruled stand in the way if pragmatic, intelligent policy. From there we will get the groundswell of demand to leave the EU as parents, teachers and doctors wake up to just how much is now out of our control and why things are not working as they should.

In this we have been fed decoy after decoy over localism, with the weak Tory offer of a Northern Powerhouse - a wholly bogus construct that's about as binding as Cameron's EU reforms - and then on the Corbyn benches we get mealy mouthed promises of returning powers - but ultimately Labour's opposition to the europhile Prime Minister is that he is not selling the country out fast enough for their liking.

Even our own MPs have forgotten what democracy is. We're just not in the habit of democracy and we mistake the empty voting rituals and election traditions as democracy - rather than people stepping up, organising and taking what they demand instead of waiting for politicians to throw them a bone. We seem to think the exercise of people power is filling in a petition, filling in some forms and receiving grant money from our corporate councils. We have forgotten that their money was ours to begin with.

And in this, the Left are the useful idiots who will mutiny if you attempt to move on the government. We have a heavily unionised public sector that largely serves itself, feeding its own local constituencies with cash, buying off dissenters as it goes, and now government has tentacles in every corner of our lives - and when you follow the tentacles to the centre, we meet the octopus in Brussels.

This is really all a question of power. Who has it, and how it is used. In this we can say the people do not have the power - government does - and it does not respond to or needs and wishes. In this we need a total reversal of power - and that necessarily requires ending our relationship with the EU. There is no reforming it - there is no democratising it. All we can do is tinker with it to enhance the illusion of democracy but it can never actually be democracy. Any entity that holds power over the people cannot by definition be democracy.

And so, As we march headlong into another referendum defeat, we need to be thinking about how we start it off all over again. We need a factory reset on our politics and our so-called democracy and to do that we have to start speaking to people's daily concerns rather than the loftier matters of trade and regulation. Our world does not speak to theirs. In our myopic fixations we have lost sight of why we are doing this. We are old warriors who are just in the habit of opposing the EU.

If we want to leave the EU, we have to teach people what democracy is and how to get it. That might well take decades. In this, we are not going to get any help from our idiot MPs, our media is pathetic and best ignored and our councillors are lazy placemen who will not exert their authority. IF we want the power back we will have to take it locally and then refuse the writ of central government.

We will have to force the localism issue, ignore the central dictats and go to war with Whitehall where it will then find that if it is forced to act as instructed then it has to make a choice - serving the people, or serving Brussels. It cannot do both. For the time being, there is no persuading the left. They will run to nanny every single time. Democracy means cutting the apron strings which is something no leftist ever wants to do.

Put simply, if we want our services and our government and our country back, we are going to have to take it. It starts with taking control of the councils, breaking them up and shutting them down and telling London where to go. But really, that's only going to happen when the people themselves want democracy. Presently, since they don't really get what it is or why we need it, I really rather doubt that they do want it. They will have to learn the hard way. It may actually be better if they do.

In the meantime, this referendum will be instructive. While our side doesn't really understand what it means to leave the EU, the EU and its leading advocates most certainly do. Brexit means that we take the power back. That's why the bosses, the banks, the politicians, the media and their useful idiots all want us in. They are the ones in control - and they want to keep it that way. That's why there is nothing quite so risible as a left wing Europhile. The fact that the Eton porcine necro-molester wants us in the EU really ought to tell you everything.

In this the ultimate question on the ballot paper is "do you want democracy or not". If you're voting to remain, you're voting for more of the same. You're saying that you don't want to rock the boat, you don't want to risk any change - and that the politicians taking the piss and raiding your wallet is really about as much as you can hope for.

As pessimistic though that is, it's also cowardice. Dangerous cowardice too - because one way or another this has to be done. You know it does. We can either do it peacefully and amicably now or we can do it the other way. The other way has a great many more uncertainties and risks and it won't be pretty.

You can tell me that now isn't the time - but there is never going to be a convenient time for a revolution in democracy. Democracy by nature is messy and inconvenient. That's why big business doesn't want it. That's why they want us to stay in the EU. So really, the question is simple whose side are you on? Ours or theirs. That's the real question isn't it?

Are you on the side of the "computer says no" machine that will only accept payments via internet or Direct Debit - that raids your wallet at will and slaps you with CCJ's without means of appeal - the side that sends bailiffs to evict pensioners over council tax admin errors, the side that will force you to sell your house to pay for "care" that isn't worth having, the side that wants to monitor your every journey in the car so it can tax you for it, and the side that won't think twice about offshoring your job to India. Or are you going to stand up and fight for what's yours? 

If it's the latter - vote to leave. Yes there are risks involved and you may have to fight for what you want. That's the responsibility that comes with being an adult in a democracy. Suck it up and grow up. 

No comments:

Post a Comment