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.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 -
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?
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.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 -
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.
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.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.
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.
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)