Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The battle for Brexit is over. The battle for Britain is just beginning.

I'm often told that many of my observances about the state of UK governance and society as a whole have little to do with the EU. Directly this is very often true but then so much of the EU's influence is over invisible governance which extends to just about every area of regulation. Its influence is profound but it very often leaves no fingerprints. It certainly contributes to the political malaise.

But then if I am guilty of having complaints that are nothing to do with the EU the same can be said of remainers. All the pro-remain arguments are statist. "We need the EU for the NHS", "We need immigration for the NHS", "We need immigration to fund pensions". "Brexit will mean cuts". It has nothing to do with the EU.

Just about every core argument of Remain is an argument on how Brexit will interrupt the status quo. Moreover, their fondness for the EU is not rooted in a principled advocacy of EU aims (not least because hardly anybody does support its federalist agenda). Rather it is as blogger Conservative Woman notes:
"It’s clear that, for so many, the overriding attraction of EU membership is because it enables as much politics as possible to be made immune from the need for popular consent – to be put beyond the reach of the capricious domestic democratic process and the electorate whose views they not only by and large do not share, but for whom they actively feel contempt."
In effect any powers transferred to Brussels means that whatever is decided is carved in stone and out of the reach of the plebs, which is why the liberal elites collude to enshrine ever more social rights at the European level. It puts law and lawmaking into a stasis field.

Their fear of Brexit is largely based on the fear that conservatives will dismantle leftist entitlements so they seek to bin their successors leaving them to tinker at the margins with the powers that remain. This is why we do not get radical reforms. Effectively the left sees the EU as a proxy for a hard coded constitution and a charter of rights and entitlements.

In respect of that, given how horrifying the prospect of a Tory libertarian slash and burn government would be you could almost sympathise. These people are wreckers. That though, of itself, is insufficient justification for remaining in the EU. If the lack of a codified constitution is the problem then they should start up a movement to get one. That which we have is offshored and mired in seventy years of dogma - based on the mirage of shared European values.

It is that supreme arrogance remainers which is in the main responsible for Brexit, at every turn seeking to take us further into the EU without consultation or consent. The process of removing politics from the political. We might well have been content to surrender sovereignty over food safety standards, but the EU increasingly tramples on that turf which is essential to self governance.

We should also not be surprised that populist movements are still stampeding all over Europe. With a system so unresponsive and deaf to calls for reform, with the EU unwilling to address the federalism in its own DNA, it is little wonder that "liberal democracy" (as they insist on calling it) is on the wane. A system that stands in the way of reform is neither liberal nor democratic and the longer electorates a frozen out the more severe the democratic market correction will be and the uglier the consequences.

In fact, the Brexit process gives us some indication of how much damage has been done. Opposition to remaining in the single market is largely irrational and wholly counterproductive, but there is little trust that such a settlement will not be used as a back door to re-entry. We are, therefore, headed for an unnecessarily hard exit which will take considerably longer.

But then we must contend with the shift in political tides on the domestic front. The left s no longer what it was. It no longer exists for the emancipation of working people. Rather it serves as a fanatical cult devoted to enslaving us to an all pervasive cradle to grave managerial state. It is a servant of the old order seeking to preserve the grip of command and control socialism.

This is the battlefront on which the culture war is waged. All the attacks on social norms are designed to break all of the traditional bonds and instead make us supplicants of the state. "Social justice" has become a vanguard for totalitarianism. It is spoken of as identity politics, but to me it looks more like victimhood grading, where one's political standing is conferred by whichever righteous victim group you belong to.

On a long enough timeline, being that the EU embodies all of the politically correct orthodoxies, it is only a matter of time before the degeneracy of the Social Justice movement is imposed on us by the EU and enforced through its courts. The EU, therefore, is a tool of subversion of popular moral norms, whereby the majority are held hostage to those "shared European values".

The danger in this is that this kind of social engineering by the few has the potential to reverse decades of social progress. On the whole people are tolerant. But tolerance of the thing does not require acceptance of a thing. When the state starts to impose its morality on people rather than having law derived from public morality then it becomes dictatorship. Again the backlash is far worse as contradiction becomes an act of defiance. I'm not the first to remark that the Alt-Right is a product of political correctness.

The social contract is that we consent to be governed on the basis of majority rule, where minorities are protected by certain fundamental rights. We are, however, traversing into a state where minority rights trump majority rule. From that flows entitlements which reinforce victim status. The equilibrium is undermined. This is not without consequence.  

For as long as I have been writing about politics I have charted the growing gulf between the governors and the governed. There can be no political unity when the values of the polity are so alien to those they nominally serve. It is for this reason the party system is now at the fag end of its useful life. 

The upshot of this is that culturally, politically and economically, we are on a path which is abstract to reality. Britain is in flux. The left is fighting to preserve a social order in which it has all of the power. That is why it seeks to resist Brexit to the bitter end. Without the EU it has to compete in the marketplace of ideas in a battle where it cannot win. 

But then as much as the social order it seeks to impose is dying, it isn't Brexit that keeps me awake at night. If we are talking about Titanics hitting icebergs, then the iceberg is the massive unfunded pensions and welfare black hole which will be upon us long before I draw my pension. That particular iceberg will force us to confront all of those issues that this present order has chosen to kick into the long grass. 

I have long felt that the post war social order was on a life support machine, with reform made impossible by the toddler left. Britain needs an transformative economic policies but we are not going to get that while the wheezing ghost of late forties welfarism rattles its chains over everything. Brexit will bring that conversation forward as tax receipts start to collapse.

With the death of of the old order it will then become apparent that our political institutions are no longer fit for purpose. Hopefully public tolerance for our grotesquely archaic "representative democracy" will run out. When the state is no longer able to provide from cradle to grave, we can perhaps move beyond the grubby retail politics of yore.  

Politics from here on in is not going to look the same. There is a little way to go yet before we hit rock bottom, and possibly we will have to tolerate another Labour government. Though I am somewhat perturbed by the prospect of this, I think it just has to run its course. After that though, there are no certainties. Everything will be up for public debate, there will be no cast iron guarantees and everybody's entitlements and protections will come under the microscope. That which we want we shall have to fight for. 

It will be a long time before we reach anything like a political settlement but what we can say is that which we do have will be one of our own making and not one imposed on us by an illiberal left wing minority elite. The dinosaurs have had their day. As we enter a new era of history, in a new phase of globalisation, Britain must reinvent itself whatever that may cost. We can no longer put it off. 

Remoanerism may well linger on for a while but it's just the swansong of the old establishment. It does not want to let go of the power but does not yet realise it has already lost. When it recruits Alastair Campbell and Yasmin Alibhai Brown it has nothing left to do but choke its last. That may be a cause for some celebration, but what comes next is the much more difficult question. 

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