As we approach 2010, the rift between the governing class and the governed across Europe grows ever wider. In the UK, our political class act as though the filth of the Rotten Parliament is a thing of the past, and the BBC and the MSM are complicit in a pretence that nothing has changed, that the forthcoming election is just like old times. The gulf between the world of the Eurocrats and the British voter is even wider, and when VAT rises again not to 17.5% but to 20% or even 22% voters will need little reminder that this is a European tax.
Though the opinion polls seem to reflect the same old political duopoly, the stats are taken from a shrinking base of those 'certain to vote' at the election. With turnout bumping along at about 60% for the most recent elections, I would not be surprised to see it fall to near 50% in 2010 - which would mean around 22.5m voters effectively boycotting our failed politics. No government could truly claim democratic legitimacy from a turnout of under 50%, yet this too is a possibility that cannot be discounted.
The combined membership of the three main parties is now below 1% of the nation's 45m electorate. No longer mass membership parties tied strongly to local communities, but national consumer brands dependent on foreign governments and a wealthy semi-domestic oligarchy for their funding, the rift between the parties and the people has never been greater. The sleaze and corruption of the Rotten Parliament is in every way bound up with the failure and collapse of the political parties.
There are echoes of Tacitus in all of the above; an inevitability, a slow-motion car crash. We can see the rift, document and enumerate the disconnect between the political class and the people, and know that it's all heading in only one direction - towards a corrective social and political upheaval. So far we have only moved the cattle temporarily out of the Augean stables; we have not yet diverted the rivers that will scour the filth from our Parliament and our politics. And yet I am fearful lest the powers of those mighty rivers undermine the stanchions and columns themselves of our democracy; we need a strong and legitimate Parliament more than ever, but in our zeal to cleanse the filth and corruption within we must take great care not to scour away the very pillars of our democracy.