This election is round one in an existential war to win back popular democracy. Ranged against the people of Britain are the globalist powers of the deep state and their dags who have infiltrated and taken control of our national institutions.
The strength of the people has always been made manifest through the actions of what Robert Nisbet called our intermediate institutions - the little platoons that Burke found foundational in creating a national identity. Nisbet locates the chief cause of the feeling of lostness in modern man in the weakening of the intermediate associations that stand between the lone individual and the State; without our local bodies, our little platoons, our guilds, churches, watch committees and town councils, we are hugely vulnerable to the depredations of the central state. This is why I am so committed to Localism. The battles against the deep state globalists are not to be won in SW1 but in our parish halls and meeting places, in places real and virtual, by physical or remote contact. Popular democracy needs local moots.
One of the most sustained assaults on popular democracy since the middle of the last century has been by the central state on our intermediate institutions. Many have been destroyed beyond any hope of resurrection - but our future lies not in replicating the past, but in creating new forms of local identity using the tools and relationships enabled by technology. Localism need not be limited by geography, defined by place but by purpose. This blog is also valid as a local moot. Your own family is an intermediate institution, and a powerful nexus of a belonging, an allegiance, a strength that the central State cannot defile.
Robert Tombs in the Telegraph today also delineates the battles ahead;
All across the democratic world, more and more power has shifted away from elected national governments towards non-elected bodies – international organisations, law courts, treaties, quangos. Governments have voluntarily surrendered their own authority. But in doing so, they have limited democratic choice: voters are told that there are things they cannot do, choices they cannot make.It is those virtues that the technocratic elites claim as liberating - individualism, egality and the supremacy of central or supranational authority - that Nisbet found destructive of popular democracy;
This has gone furthest in EU member states. A void has been created between rulers and ruled. Two networks of power, influence and patronage have grown up: one based on domestic politics, the other based on the EU institutions. These two networks – two establishments, one national, one trans-national, which include politicians, civil servants, academics, business lobbies, non-governmental organisations – overlap in every EU country.
What is often overlooked, as Nisbet points out, is that in making individuals independent of each other and of society, Rousseau would also make them dependent on the State. The State would ensure the individual's equality and liberty. But "liberty" in Rousseau’s terminology, of course, means submergence of the individual will in the General Will. The citizen will be "compelled to be free." He will be protected from the discriminations of society; the State, in Rousseau’s mind, is to be the great protector of the individual’s rights. But, in turn, the individual must be willing to relinquish any of his own wishes that conflict with the dictates of the General Will. There would be no room for rebellious intermediate associations. In Rousseau’s would-be State, even "religion must be identified, in the minds of the people, with the values of national life, else it will create disunity and violate the General Will." Thus does freedom become identified with obeying the guidelines of a central authority.The struggles of the past three years to re-assert the supremacy of popular democracy are not the end of it. This election is but one battle, with a struggle ahead. All those who have fought so hard for UKIP or The Brexit Party have not fought in vain, nor are their efforts ended. That commitment to the powers of the people of this nation under democratic norms is still needed. Democracy doesn't always mean winning, as Tombs concludes
Democracy is not a system for discovering the "right answer" to political issues: we can rarely if ever be sure what the right answer is. Democracy, rather, is a system for creating consent and solidarity by allowing all to have an equal vote. For making people feel that the way they are governed, though not perfect, is at least one in which they are fairly consulted and their voices listened to. So that, even if they do not get their own way, they accept the outcome without trying to sabotage or evade it.
That is what we have come perilously close to losing. Next month we have the chance to regain it, with all the opportunities and risks that democracy entails.