Monday, 16 April 2018

Waiting to fall

Time and again I have wrestled with my conscience over military intervention and still I come to no satisfactory conclusion. The more we do the bigger the mess we make, whereas limited strikes tend only to serve the purpose of salving our collective conscience while achieving very little. Meanwhile, with so much misinformation and media noise, it is increasingly difficult to believe anything we are told.

Here though, I tend to be somewhat resigned to the fact that our government will do as it pleases and arrive at a justification after the fact in accordance with the politics of the day and politicians and activists will align themselves accordingly.

What is alarming, however, is how our politics is simply going through the motions. For the left, intervention is more a from of political GPS signalling on the Blair-Corbyn spectrum while the Tories will use a safe opportunity like this to show unity against Corbyn. This is all irrespective of what is actually happening. Our politics couldn't be less interested in the real world.

Normally my criticism would be directed at the Westminster bubble but it seems this condition extends to the wider population where, as well practised as we are, we trot out all the well worn generic protest narratives. It doesn't even matter what was hit in the raid, or how low the collateral damage, it will still be used as a political opportunity.

Worse still, as a political vehicle, it is well within the comfort zone of politician and pundit alike, supplying endless material for churnalism, where everybody will add their tuppence ha'penny. Like Brexit, it pays no attention to the details, has no interest in the facts on the ground and is done without reference to events as they happen. Mrs May is still pegging her hopes on a number of devices already dismissed by the Commission.

In both instances this is dangerous. We are seeing politics on autopilot but with no direction and entirely focused on insular tribal objectives. Where Brexit is concerned, that will eventually manifest as the cliff edge where all of them will be caught off guard with no idea what has happened or why. As terrifying as that is, it becomes doubly concerning as we tinker around the edges of a low grade proxy war with Russia. In both instances we lack the leadership to prevent the inevitable.

What is happening, I suspect, is that our politics overall has entered an all out war. Even on Twitter I find that any nuanced discussion of the issues is utterly futile. One has to pick a clear side and speak to that agenda otherwise you simply do not exist. It would appear that details are not going to get a look in until we have some kind of political resolution and a new national consensus.

It is at this point I start to wonder if there can be a return to sanity or whether this is the new normal. Certainly the presence of Corbyn is an aggravating factor and the absence of meaningful opposition, but Labour is stricken with the same illness as the Tories. Neither can name an obvious successor, and certainly not one who can unite the country. Without leadership, without direction and with a media incapable of bringing any clarity to events, we are destined to hit the rocks. Only then can we take stock.

This, though, is really what makes Brexit necessary. This political dysfunction is nothing especially new. We have been building to a political calamity for many years now. There was never any possibility of correcting it without a seismic political event. Left unchecked it could very well take us to a bloody and unnecessary war as our politicians, trapped in their own alternate universe deal only in narratives.

What this week in politics has shown is that our politicians are as bovine as ever they were, where lessons from the ballot box are quickly forgotten and they fall into their familiar routines, alienating the public as they go. If we let them carry on as normal the we face a glacial, but noticeable decline.

If there is one thing our establishment has proved, it has an unswerving ability to brush issues under the rug. We don't deal with problems, rather we mitigate the symptoms where governance becomes a game of keeping multiple plates spinning. It only takes one to fall for there to be a lapse in concentration and we see them all clattering down at once. We have arrived there.

For a long time I have felt this has gone on longer than the system can bear, with the rug bulging from all of the issues brushed under it. Meanwhile we continue to add to the pile of concerns, digging the hole deeper. Without forcing the issue, without a democratic intervention there is simply no way to arrest the decline. Miserable though the consequences of Brexit may be, it is our one and only opportunity to turn the ship around.

No comments:

Post a Comment