I regret that I shalln't be among those gathering at the Old Swan but I'll be there in spirit at least, for the demands and effect of the original Chartists have long been lauded on this blog. The original Charter broke the stranglehold of those who believed in their right to rule us. Today we face the same menace, the same arrogance, the same Rotten Parliaments, the same cabal of self-interest and peculative self-enrichment that deny democracy.
Amiable but brainless buffoons in the blogosphere and media who advocate 'politics as a career' are advocating the democratic process as a road to enrichment and self-advancement; the big three parties have lost over 3m members since the 1950s, and now between them have fewer than 1% of the electorate as members. The Tories alone lost over a 1m members between 1979 and 1997 - when in government - as it disempowered local parties and drew power into a metropolitan elite clustered around Westminster, Whitehall and Victoria. A tame and drugged press became willing partners with the elites of the big three, swallowing press releases being much easier work than real journalism. The mandarins of Whitehall have done all they can to establish the dying parties as the permanent Parties of State, to lock a simulacrum of democratic process to the central command and control they've been unable and unwilling to abandon in peacetime. And above all the dark malignant shadow of the Berlaymont, an influence so baleful and evil that it crushes democracy, squeezes the very breath of freedom from the chests of its subject peoples, and makes Satraps of the compliant political class.