Sunday, 11 November 2018

Only Brexit will do

We have heard much of the delusional Brexiters. Mainly the Tory ones whose grasp of international trade matches my grasp of quantum physics. Their ideas are decades out of date and completely removed from reality. Locked into their own delusions they will march us over the cliff.

Lining the streets of their suicidal parade are the remainers who suffer from a similar state of delusion, ignoring the politics of the situation and the timing to perpetuate the hope of another referendum. Each are unshakably wedded to their positions, each oblivious to the consequences of their intellectual bankruptcy. This is against a backdrop of a Labour party caught up in the nostalgia of 1970's socialism, while the Conservative party is adrift from its moorings, directionless and without purpose.

It's easy to take potshots at leavers being so poorly represented by lamentably stupid politicians, but at least fifty percent of the problem is a total absence of coherent and informed opposition from any side.

Today on the Andrew Marr television programme we see Emily Thornberry stating "We have talk about the importance of being in a customs union" and "We have talked about the importance of having a British style FTA which is based on the rules of the single market". These are not the words of someone who has done the groundwork. This is not someone who has a grasp of the issues. 

If only it were just Thornberry though. This is about as good as it gets. Not only are our politicians unaware of how the system works, they have made no effort in two years worth of debate to find out. They have just about grasped that no deal would be a bad thing, but not enough to put a deliverable alternative on the table. 

We have the Tories cooking up plans (using the word loosely) without any reference to anything Barnier has said or might say, we have remainers completely ignoring the procedural impediments to a second vote, and more generally are politics is far too ensconced in its own myopic fixations to present us with a relevant manifesto for the future. none are awake to the dangers or indeed opportunities presented by Brexit, and none are offering solutions to any of the problems we actually have.  

Our politics exists in an impenetrable bubble of its own self-regard where good ideas go to die. The only time fresh thinking works its way into the bubble is when one of their number sees fit to plagiarise it having misunderstood the fundamentals of it. When it then falls apart they blame the ideas they have stolen rather than their own incomprehension and incompetence.

I can't say exactly when British politics lost its thread but it certainly has much to do with the hollowing out of parties turning them into empty vessels with marketable brand names. There is little in the way of democratic impetus. This is how Momentum was so easily able to capture the empty husk of a Labour party. It also coincides with the arrival of politics as a career path and I am not the first to note that many of the denizens of the Westminster bubble have the prerequisite Oxford PPE degree. Authentic democracy it is not. 

From this morass it is unlikely that we will ever see principled or courageous leadership. That dies with Mrs Thatcher. Westminster has since become a greasy pole for sociopaths and chancers. Morover it has been taken over by spoiled brats. Telegenic entitled know-nothings. Think tanks are now little more than a political creche. They do not invest in research nor is there a premium on knowledge. It is simply a matter of conformity to scripture. 

British politics is rotten to the core. But it also extends into the symbiotic media attracting an array of equally moronic pundits, none of whom are capable of adding value and exist mainly to generate web traffic. Intelligent and measured voices have no place because they do not generate controversy. 

Of course, the public are half of the problem. The trends I note as a self-publisher are informative. Cheap shots and generic campaign fodder will generate three times the hits an analytic piece on trade will get. Audiences demonstrate to me almost every day that they do not like their ideas challenged and they certainly don't want to think.

Much of what happens in our politics is little more than displacement activity. Certainly the legacy remain campaign is indulging in their second referendum fantasy mainly because they have no idea how to better direct their intellectual and vast financial resources. God forbid they would do anything constructive like accepting that we voted to leave and pushing for an equitable outcome the majority can support.

But then when there is such a disconnect, I don't blame them. After all, my blogs on the subject are largely to mark time until something actually happens. There are only so many times you can say that the media has it wrong, we are nowhere near a deal and time is running out. An article written in January could just as easily have been written yesterday for all the difference it makes. We get the occasional nonentity resignation to distract us but it does not change the course of events. 

And that has me wondering if the reason our politicians engage in perpetual displacement activity is because their actions have no impact on events either. They are certainly not applied to anything presently run by Brussels. 

Over the last four years of campaigning I have had thousands of conversations with hard leavers and ultra remainers whose views cannot be reconciled with my own but the one thing virtually all of us can agree on is that our zombie politics has lost the plot completely and something vital is not working. This was certainly true before the mass adoption of internet and the proliferation of social media, but now it seems we are all o the same page. We must have far reaching political reform.

Typically that brings up the go-to ideas of abolishing the Lords and proportional representation, neither of which really get to the essence of the problem. The chief complaint about the Lords is that they are not elected and PR fixates on the means of electing. Our understanding of democracy has been reduced to simply holding periodic voting rituals. We could make both of these changes but we still end up with MPs in London going native to the bubble and we still have a vacuous and out of touch media.

We have seen attempts to democratise and devolve, namely metro-mayors and elected police chiefs, but all we have succeeded in doing is creating a number of grubby little fiefdoms which add no value at all to civic administration. They simply absorb and squander money. Until is is widely understood that democracy is the ability of the people to organise and take control of their own institutions then every attempt at democratic reform will fail.

Part of the problem here is that we are no longer in the habit of democracy. We have been coerced into believing that the state should be our provider with minimal public intervention. The participation of citizens in the running of things has been actively discouraged as local government has morphed into a quangocracy. This, I believe, is the influence of EU managerialism - re-purposing local and national government as agents of EU integration. 

It is this managerialism that has gradually sapped the vitality from our so-called democracy and has ossified because the economic status quo has enabled people to take less of an interest in how they are governed and the state is sufficiently well resourced not to call upon the public to participate. It then runs public services for its own convenience and local governance becomes little more than accountancy, revenue generation and debt collection. It prefers it that way. The cumulative effect of this is a public disconnected from government at every level and vice versa.

Being that there is then no feedback in the system the gulf becomes ever wider and more acutely disconnected. There is no means of correction and little in the way of accountability. Statutory obligations and EU targets dictate what and how it spends it time and money and the public have no authority over it. 

This allows government, national and local, to set its own agenda which is usually nannying, hectoring and absurd hobby horse politics and eco-fads that only a bureaucrat could ever think worth our time. Over the years we have become gradually accepting of this, resigning ourselves to the role of non-participating serfs whose only role is to finance it. The social consequence of this is the obliteration of community - particularly in those areas where quangocracy has replaced social enterprise.  

For years we have sustained this and could sustain it for some years to come by remaining in the EU but all the while as we lose our democracy and as we add ever more pressure to already creaking systems, things simply stop working without the means to arrest the decline. More is spend on entitlements, perks and salaried non-jobbers than actually getting things done. Naturally we won't see any serious attempts at reform from those within the system because the inefficiency and lack of accountability is in their direct personal interest.

The pushback we then get from our local government is that the gradual decay and dysfunction is the result of cutbacks and a starvation of funds even though the state is already taking nearly half of our total income through one tax or another. Our bloated and creaking system of government is one that we can no longer afford and it is no longer in our interests to maintain it. Since it will fight us to a standstill to stop us reforming it and do everything it can to prevent us having a say it the running of it, it seems we have no choice but to torpedo it.

This is why I am convinced that Brexit and only Brexit is sufficient a catalyst to bring about a complete rethink of government and democracy as we know it. And if we are going to rebuild it it must be rebuild to our own designs rather than the integrationist agenda of the European Union. A bit of creative destruction is long overdue.

We are told that remaining in the EU is necessary for our economic wellbeing. This overlooks the fact that the anaemic growth we have is largely underpinned by immigration. This we are told puts no pressure on roads, rail, sewers, water, education, healthcare and housing. Strangely, a sceptical public do not believe them. They must be racist or something!

As weak as the economic status quo is, immigration is used to mask faltering economic policies and the more egregious breakdowns we see ie Somerset flooding and Grenfell, a totemic of a system that simply isn't working. These incidents are the consequence of years of neglecting the basics. Whatever it is we are doing we need to do it radically differently. And that is not possible if Brussels is creating the governance frameworks and we cannot reform them locally.

But then I am less concerned with the economic arguments. The economics will attend to themselves when we have resolved the political dysfunction. With a political deadlock trapping us in a centre left social paradigm and a liberal economic regime devoid of public consent, it is a matter of urgency that we reboot our politics. We then also have a chance at resolving some of the social problems that welfare serfdom has exacerbated. 

The essential problem of our system of government is that its base assumption is that the people cannot and should not take responsibility for their own affairs and that their poor choices should be subsidised. For as long as we maintain the economic and political status quo we will lock in the inherent dysfunction while providing no incentive to correct it. 

Economically, socially, politically and democratically Britain is stagnating. The central problem is an obsolete politics set in its ways that wouldn't change even if it could. We have seen in recent years that elections make no difference and that whoever we vote for we will still be ruled by the same deadbeats and wastrels whose loyalties will always be to Brussels rather than the people. We are told there are things we could do instead of Brexit - but we won't - and that's half the problem.

We are told that Brexit creates great uncertainty. That much is true. I don't know what politics will look like even three months from now or what the country will look like in two years or even ten years. And I'm ok with that, because remaining in the EU means I can tell you exactly what things looks like. Pretty much the same as now but with the vitality gradually draining from all areas of British life, as political competence seeps away and things that should work break down so slowly that we can't ever remember that things once did work. If that is what political certainty means, you can keep it. 

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