Monday, 28 December 2009

The growing rift

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.


English Pensioner said...

True, so many people have lost any interest in politics, which is obviously why the government is trying to encourage postal voting in the hope that people just might bother to fill in a form if no effort is involved. It of course removes any chance of a free vote in the many patriarchal families in this country.
My wife and I will be voting UKIP. It will make no difference in this constituency where our Tory MP has one of the largest majorities in the country and has already been re-elected by the 20 or so members of the local party executive. I suppose that we are lucky that he had absolutely no involvement in the expenses scandal, the worse complaint being that he bought his office tea and coffee from Waitrose when they would have been cheaper at Tesco!
Nevertheless, I hope people will vote UKIP. I don't expect them to get any seats, but a good vote (particularly if there is a hung parliament) could make the Tories have a re-think on Europe.

Anonymous said...

English Pensioner: Are people going to elect to power a party seen as "turkeys voting for Christmas" or are they, like me, thinking of those UKIP eyes gazing longlingly towards the Brussells trough? How long would we wait for a referedum: ten years, or twenty years? How many delaying excuses are they going to find? If only we could trust any one of them, but they are politicians, aren't they?

English Pensioner said...

I believe that they would get out as soon as practical; they talk about a referendum within a few months (although why, if they were elected, one should be required I fail to understand).
Of course you can't trust politicians, but are they any less trustworthy than the other parties? After all, both Brown and Cameron have reneged over the Lisbon treaty, and the LibDems are firmly in the Euro camp, so what option do I have if I want out? The BNP perhaps?

David Blackie said...

Right. But as you infer it goes beyond our parliament and into so many of our institutions. An institution of which I have more experience than I would wish is the British Council. Is it a charity? It is certainly registered as such. Is it a branch of the Civil Service? Employees are on Civil Service holiday and pension arrangements. Is it an arm of government? It gets a cash subvention of half a million per diem from the FCO (i.e. the taxpayer), and enjoys closed contracts with government offices, diplomatic status, use of diplomatic premises and privileges overseas. Is it a business? It competes with legitimate business at home and overseas with a serious advantage: taxpayer funded premises worldwide and diplomatic status excluding it from local tax obligations. Oh yes, and it has a wholly owned company (BC Trading International ltd) which earns sponsorship money from international companies (Deutsche Bank, Renault, Hilton etc) by giving them access to the UK's diplomatic network, paid for by the taxpayer. The company pays no tax because it donates its profits to charity. Guess which charity. OK you worked it out. I'm a regular reader of Raedwald so I hope he won't mind me putting a link to my blog about this. The common point is that the privileged have no sense of noblesse oblige, only of cornering advantage. And it all needs radical reform.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"No government could truly claim democratic legitimacy from a turnout of under 50%..."


And yet our real government (the one in Brussels) has no democratic legitimacy whatever - being unelected, and maintaining itself in power by such devices as the Lisbon treaty, repeatedly rejected by even those few people temporarily given the option).

Truly the age of democracy is over - and we've only ourselves to blame: the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and when it came to it, Big Brother and the Premier League seemed more important.

Alas for our country.