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Saturday, 18 January 2020

Revolutionary fervour and the Parish Council

Anyone who imagined that the resolution of Brexit would be an end to the polarisation of public opinion in Britain will have been disillusioned by the appearance of  Laurence Fox on QT. I have long said that Brexit was merely the proxy for an underlying revolt against the takeover of the establishment, of the institutions of the State, even of the police by a woke metropolitan elite, and that the fight now will move to rolling back their suffocating control and sclerotic grip on our nation. Betz and Smith outlined the takeover in a semantic piece for the Bruges Group almost exactly a year ago
It seems that for at least twenty years the new political classes in Britain have been placing a bet on the political future. They are betting on the quiescence of the public at large, who will either not notice or not care that elites are entrenching their own power and interests. They are gambling that the public, kept compliant by political spinning, a constant diet of soaps and reality television, debt, social media pap, welfare dependency and the like, will not work themselves up into any state of anger of the sort anticipated by Nigel Farage if their political preferences are dishonoured. Or at least not enough of them will to make a difference.

In other words, for many years now, governments, along with a significant fraction of the population, have calculated that the bulk of the people can either be kept in a state of apathy or bullied into submission. How, it might be asked, have they reached such conclusions?
Conservative governments before Boris have been as complicit in this takeover as have the Blairite excrescences of 1997 - 2010. Secrecy, obfuscation, distortion, NDPBs and unaccountable State agencies of the sort loved by Theresa May have flourished. Little people faced smoking bans and wardens issuing £80 fines for dropping litter or putting out the bin on the wrong day whilst council bosses, police, politicians and the apparatchiks of the new elite condemned thousands of innocents to neglect, abuse and loathsome criminality through malfeasance, misconduct in office and maladministration, all in the name of prosecuting their woke social oppression. Robert Nisbet wrote of this in The New Despotism -
What we have witnessed, however, in every Western country, and not least in the United States, is the almost incessant growth in power over the lives of human beings — power that is basically the result of the gradual disappearance of all the intermediate institutions which, coming from the predemocratic past, served for a long time to check the kind of authority that almost from the beginning sprang from the new legislative bodies and executives in the modern democracies.
What has in fact happened during the past half century is that the bulk of power in our society, as it affects our intellectual, economic, social, and cultural existences, has become largely invisible, a function of the vast infragovernment composed of bureaucracy's commissions, agencies, and departments in a myriad of areas. And the reason this power is so commonly invisible to the eye is that it lies concealed under the humane purposes that have brought it into existence.

The greatest single revolution of the last century in the political sphere has been the transfer of effective power over human lives from the constitutionally visible offices of government, the nominally sovereign offices, to the vast network that has been brought into being in the name of protection of the people from their exploiters.
This takeover of the State, this takeover of our democracy, was not a coup, a plot or a deliberate strategy. It was not a conspiracy. Nisbet quoted Justice Brandeis -
Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the governments' purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
Allister Heath in the Telegraph is conscious of the deleterious effect of the loss of what Nisbet terms our intermediate institutions
Instead, as Michael Lind, the US academic, argues in The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Metropolitan Elite, the real clash is between a highly credentialed, entitled, managerial and technocratic class that has seized control of the most powerful public and private institutions and is using them to serve its economic interests and impose its faddish worldview; and an alienated, ignored and denigrated “working class” that has lost control.

In the British context, for working class read not just blue-collar workers but also swathes of the middle classes and anybody else who hasn’t got with the Left, social-liberal programme, including many ethnic minorities.

This revolutionary alliance used to feel they had a voice; some were even part of the old establishment. Now they feel they have lost their local institutions, clubs and civil societies, believe the wrong priorities are being pursued by unaccountable elites and that their (relatively) conservative values, their love and loyalty to family and country, are being mocked.

Crucially, their views in 2020 are quite liberal in a classical sense: they are tolerant, anti-racist and want to protect the environment. But they are aghast at the excesses of the woke agenda, at its totalitarian overtones, its obscure obsessions, and want to leave the EU, pay less tax, have better public services, and enjoy a drink at the pub.
And that has been the takeover of our nation, our democracy, that we are now engaged in reversing. Peacefully. Through the ballot box, and by re-forming the Little Platoons, the militia of meaningful democracy.

Don't forget to order your fireworks online, or visit a specialist store - they won't be in the local shop!
And others (no connection)


DeeDee99 said...

We, the great unwashed, may be attempting to reverse the takeover of our democracy but I see precious little evidence so far that Boris is "on our side." Yes, after procrastination, he supported Brexit; but for him it wasn't based on principle (unlike Farage). He famously wrote two articles, one in favour of remaining, one for leaving and came down on the side of leave.

And his actions since winning the GE haven't given any reason to believe he intends returning power to the people: Remainer Nicky Morgan, who didn't have the guts to face her electorate to account for her actions, elevated to the House of Frauds, along with Zak Goldsmith, twice rejected by his Constituents. And according to the DT, there are more to come: failed or rejected politicians given power where they are unaccountable to the people for their actions, but are (like the other 800+) paid by the taxpayer.
Not one word have we heard from Boris about reform, let alone abolition of the House of Frauds, unlike both Nigel Farage ..... and Rebecca Wrong-Daily.

Our governmental institutions, university sector and broadcast media is dominated by a left-wing "intelligentsia" imposing cultural marxism on us.

Nothing I have seen so far from Government indicates that that is about to change any time soon.

r_writes esq. said...

Yes, there are only so many occasions that you can pretend to appeal to a noisome minority without coming through and actually delivering.

I am still scratching me head over the mass indoctrination of CONservative Party "thinkers", that cannot tell the difference between the WA and the WA. They can see it going wrong, even if perhaps not directly against them (today), but they seem unable to think two or three moves ahead.

Speaking of moves, as Nigel pointed out when he formed the Brexit Party, he wanted a more professional outfit than UKIP, and then proceeded to make it exactly the same by inviting a bunch of failed Tories to bolster the attack.

Suffice to say, I buy my smoked salmon elsewhere now, and if I see Nigel before the next campaign, I will remind him that the Rees Moggs of this world are the kind of people that will let you down faster than one of the Seven Sisters, when they think the time is right.

Once bitten...

Twice bitten, shame, but it isn't too late.

JPM said...

The triumph of the populists is that they have managed to convince many people that it is an outrageous affront to their liberty, say, that they must go outside to smoke at a pub, or pick up their dog's mess, and yet that it is merely some universal Law of Nature, that says that their employer can cancel their occupational pension, require them to work at any time at short notice, or dismiss them with negligible redundancy pay.

Mind you, there's an eleven billion a year industry here devoted to convincing them of that, and even a few unpaid volunteers like Raedwald doing ther bit too.

Dave_G said...

By what rule is any employer 'obliged' to provide either an occupational pension or hours to suit the employee? People can make their own arrangements for both and, if they don't like them, change them (or their employment).
All you're doing is illustrating Raeds point that intrusion by the state (in this case employment law) is interfering with choice.
If someone published a comprehensive list of Quangoes, fake charidees and other state-supported hangers-on it would both surprise and disgust a vast number of right thinking people and, perhaps, give people the notion that perhaps Brexit is just the start of 'taking back control'.

Smoking Scot said...

What you're writing about is us staying within the law and peacefully expecting our politicians to do the same.

I cheered at those in America who did the same, yet observed at the transparent way their politicians and the swamp have done everything in their power - and beyond - to handicap the President.

I do not think they'll sit back and give our government, personified by Boris, an opportunity to cull anything of consequence. At least not within the sphere of domestic politics.

However both men had first rate strategists to get them the position they sought. Bannon was excellent and still is, but Trump let him go, in part to pacify critics. Much will depend on how Cummings manages his public profile and relations with the media.

Both advisors are far closer to what we voted for and Bannon has a far greater grasp of geopolitics. If he can handle Cummings and keep him on board, then I do believe real change can happen.

What's crucial is they both need a 2nd term in office and while I do not agree with what Trump did with the Iranian General, I have to say he needs to quit trying to come across as an emperor. He's having to fight hard for his 2nd term - and it shows. The General, we're he able to do so, would testify as being a consequence of the stress he's under.

(By the way I agree the General had to go, but not the way it was done. Get them in uniform at least. And by the way, his replacement is an evil bastard who in time will turn out to be way more lethal).

Boris must learn from this; keep good people real close.

John M said...

What I have found really confusing here (and I am probably guilty of reading the press coverage here) is that the woman in the QT audience who was taken to task was apparently a lecturer in "race studies" or similar from Newcastle University

Is anyone questioning what the f**k our country is even doing employing a lecturer in "race studies" in the first place? What possible use could that be in the working world to a person?

JPM said...

The Americans say "a deal's a deal", and generally it is when it comes to contracts.

Here in the UK, things are different. You can sign a contract that says that it is agreed that you will work a forty hour, nine to five week, and that there is an occupational pension scheme on whatever contribution terms.

Fine, you might say.

Well, no, that contact is binding only in common law and is therefore trumped by statute.

The Tories' employment law says that the employer may "vary" such contracts - i.e. tear them up - subject only to a few box-ticking consultation exercises, that is, telling you that he plans to do it.

It is not a law of nature.

It is State-legalised Breach Of Contract for employers.

But enjoy it - it seems that you voted for it, and keep fretting about not finding out-of-date technology such as tungsten light bulbs in the shop instead, just like the good, obedient little types that you are.

John Brown said...

After Brexit the next, and even bigger fight, to prevent “the takeover of the establishment, of the institutions of the State, even of the police by a woke metropolitan elite” will be that against the laws, taxes, restrictions and eventual rationing brought in with the excuse of combating man made climate change/planet extinction.

Having lost the battle against leaving the EU, the BBC is now turning all its guns on man made climate change as a reason for ever increasing taxation, further restrictions of our freedoms and for more government and unelected institutions control over our lives.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right Raedwald. The constant flood of diktat and regulations has a perverse effect by diminishing personal responsibility, common sense and initiative. The rules are aimed at a small minority of idiots and outlaws - the very people who will ignore them or find a way round them anyway. Trust between people and authorities has broken down.

Anonymous said...

"Is anyone questioning what the f**k our country is even doing employing a lecturer in "race studies" in the first place? What possible use could that be in the working world to a person?"

As a subject, "race studies" seems likely to be inflammatory and tendentious, and to turn out students with chips on their shoulders.

But a university degree course doesn't necessarily have be a training for specific jobs. Some are, such as Chemical Engineering. But others are purely educational, such as Art History or the classical languages that Boris studied. A student is entitled to study a subject that he or she finds deeply interesting, even if it doesn't lead to an obvious job. If the teaching is good, students will learn to think more clearly, whatever the subject.

Don Cox

DiscoveredJoys said...

I believe Raedwald is correct in that state-ism by stealth is the political default throughout the developed world. Some places worse than others.

I also believe that expecting Boris to completely reverse that trend is a triumph of hope over reality. These swings of the pendulum take decades. The Thatcher reversal of post war nationalisation took decades to bear fruit. The populist reversal of EU love has taken decades to bear fruit. De-stealthing taxes, building a bonfire of the QUANGOs, decriminalising lots of faddish laws (e.g. 'hate speech') will all take time. We can hope that Boris is the marker for the pendulum beginning to swing back. But the pendulum will swing back in a different direction as the developed world is getting to entangled to survive cowboy libertarianism or chaotic anarchy.

Still we can hope that ordinary people leading ordinary lives will become less bound by views and organisations of the trendy elite - it might take 30 or 40 years though.

Oldrightie said...

What many are missing to mention in this discussion is the election result. Labour, to quote Mark Francois, were slaughtered. Swinson totally destroyed. Bojo given a huge majority by mostly a "leave" vote more reflective of the fiddled referendum without the vast fraud of that 2016, time to plan, outcome.
My point is that the sore petulance by JPM and his ilk is a terrific indicator of how badly they lost. All his lofty, smug predictions for the election trashed. Deservedly. As for the WA, means to an end and it worked. Every possibility now of a WTO interim deal and billions saved! Whatever, rejoice.

JPM said...

I think that the brexit party on two percent of the poll take the wooden spoon, Oldrightie, eh?

And let's remember that Labour have many more seats than did the Tories in 1997, even with the SNP taking Scotland.

We'll be back :-D

(I don't recall making any predictions as to seat numbers etc., incidentally, but please point to them if you know better)

Mark said...

"We'll be back"

But the EU won't!

Dave_G said...

Labour will be back in the same way a broken clock is right twice a day. The other 23 hours 58 minutes Labour will be sitting in the opposition seats until they recognise and adopt policies the majority want to see in place - not policies they consider are 'good for us' because, apparently, we can't possibly know what's good for us....

DiscoveredJoys said...

A quote from Suzanne Evans on Brexit Central:

Take Back Control. That was the winning slogan and that’s still what it’s all about, but not just about taking back control from the EU, and controlling our borders, our money and our sovereignty, but about taking back control of our democracy too. There is so much that needs to change: the way political parties operate; how government and Parliament operate; how at both a local and national level politics needs to become far, far more accountable to voters. Then there’s the Civil Service; the Judiciary (which will only loosen itself from the influence of the EU courts kicking and screaming); our oppressive nanny state; and the quangos that shore it up and invent so much rubbish while trampling all over free speech. We’re run by elitist cartels and, as we have seen, they fight very hard and very dirty to maintain their own best interests. If the new government can run with a reforming agenda to right these wrongs, it will be enormously popular. But are they up for it?

JPM said...

Yeah, you've changed the subject because I hit the mark with it.

You'd rather be oppressed and enslaved by the English born-to-rulers than be set free by Continentals.

It's exactly as Tom Paine waggishly pointed out in The Rights Of Man all those years ago, and has never changed.

Dave_G said...

"You'd rather be oppressed and enslaved by the English born-to-rulers than be set free by Continentals."

You mean 'set free' by those Yellow Vest protesters? I always did wonder why those Continentals would be so upset by the system that you are so supportive of?

What ever it takes I suppose......

JPM said...

Freedom is relative.

The French have a far lower threshold of pain in that regard than do the English.

They are also protesting about national, and not about European Union matters - a bit like our miners once did, and those who set ablaze Toxteth and places around the country - though nothing like as destructively.

Remind me of who was in power then?

Mark said...


Simple question (not that you'll answer of course): Do you not wonder why the French have developed such a "low threshold"?

Anonymous said...

"You'd rather be oppressed and enslaved by the English born-to-rulers than be set free by Continentals."

Yes, much rather. Foreigners are likely to have a different idea of freedom from mine.

But the 19th century was a while ago. 150 years ago, there were many farm labourers and factory workers who were oppressed and underpaid (but not enslaved -- that was in Russia). Nowadays the only slaves are those foreigners who work in car wash setups, or white girls enslaved by immigrant criminals.

In the 21C, we are oppressed by a horde of well-meaning micro-managing officials. The descendants of the farm labourers are now working in human resources departments and social services.

JPM said...

Yes, Mark.

It is because they have become accustomed to genuine rights upheld by their Constitution which show up our paltry Human Rights Act for what it is. Also to proper T&Cs for employment, decent education facilities and much more.

And because they are Existentialists.

Mark said...

Which constitution is that, they've had a few? And they are about to get another.

And I suppose what's going on there now is a philosophicl discussion.

Are you familiar with that wonderful Australianism "cultural cringe"?

terence patrick hewett said...

It has always been amusing that those with a slave mentality love their slavery so much.

JPM said...


Don't worry.

None of those nasty Continentals would have stopped you from getting out your beer belly, tattoos, underarm hair, and beetroot-red shaven head in pub gardens when the sun shines.

The future was always bright.

Mark said...

"None of those nasty Continentals would have stopped you from getting out your beer belly, tattoos, underarm hair, and beetroot-red shaven head in pub gardens when the sun shines"

Never takes the troll long does it?

Raedwald said...

It astonishes me just how deeply the new Labour party hate the working class.

Dave_G said...

The working class are now the thinking class and we all know that Labour can't survive anyone actually thinking about their policies.

The last election proved that.

wg said...

It has always amused me that people like JPM think that a 'Charter' guarantees anything.
A charter of so-described 'Fundamental Rights' is not a charter, but a hierarchy.

The people at the top of that hierarchy are the lawyers who decide which position of the ladder the rest of us occupy.
Laws made by lawyers, taught by lawyers, and imposed by lawyers.

And if those lawyers decide that their financial position is improved by importing slaves from other continents - no matter the rape, murder, and bombings - they will invent laws and charters to impose upon those that disagree with that position.

Power and greed, JPM - what you suck up to; the much-maligned UK Jo/Joe on the street are used to dealing with the devils they know; and they've been fighting for their rights for many years - they don't need the Potemkin rights of a parasitic and damaging EU aristocracy.

JPM said...

Whatever, enjoy waving your sparklers anyway.

Revolutions unleash euphoria because they create tangible images of change and inaugurate, at least in the fevered minds of their supporters, a new epoch.

Brexit can’t do either of these things. The problem with a revolt against imaginary oppression is that you end up with imaginary freedom.

How do you actually show that the yoke of Brussels has been lifted? You can’t bring prawn cocktail-flavoured crisps back into the shops, or release stout British fishermen from the humiliation of having to wear hair nets at work on the high seas, or unban donkey rides on beaches, or right any of the other great wrongs that fuelled anti-EU sentiment – because all of it was make-believe.

Wasn't it?

Mark said...

What ARE you drivelling on about!?