I witnessed in the Lords the other day one Peer (unelected, with little experience of life outside the Westminster bubble, a Party hack who’d been pushed into the Upper House to make way for fresher blood in the Commons) saying how we must all respect democracy whilst the entire House actually had a debate and then an Adjournment to vote on….whether to adjourn!
What a shambles! One gleeful, bleeding-heart Liberal Baroness, as The Vote in the Commons was pulled, revelled with some vindictiveness in one more nail being put into the coffin of Brexit and rejoiced as the Remoaners’ policy of sabotage and tyranny continued to indulge in one of the great lies of the year: “We must respect the democratic wish of the British People” as she and her mates did everything to render that statement illusory. The average woman or man on the line or in the office throughout the land would be disgusted at the disgraceful behaviour, ignorance, naked political ambition and sheer incompetence displayed by those they elect to be in Parliament (and some 800 they don’t elect but who are there by order of those they do).
Throughout the democracies of the Developed World people are stridently and with some degree of nastiness taking sides, taking to the streets, voting (when they get the chance) to give the Establishment a good kicking and siding with populists whose messages are clear, easy to grasp ……. but always feature as the key component a recognisable target upon whom to focus at best disgruntled dischuffment and at worst pure hate.
Does “Make America Great Again” need to be the wrapping around mysogynistic and racist threads?
Do #MeToo’s laudable aims need to deliver a Society where men are suspected, vilified in the Court of Publicity and clearly guilty until proven innocent of unspecified crimes especially the obvious one of just having a penis?
Does the clear need to spend more of our tax pounds on Education and Policing need to cloak a movement which has in its core a hatred of Business, of America, of Israel? “For the Many not the Jew” might be a clever satire on the Corbynistas’ strapline but there is, as the Bard said over 400 years ago, many a true word spoken in jest.
Whipping up populist support by dipping into historic resentments is the oldest political play. The million new Muslim immigrants in Germany whose presence is the lightening rod for the rise of the hard right opposition in Germany aren’t the first people to feel the wrath of sectarianism and racial and religious difference in a European community, often playing on centuries-old prejudices and perceived or real slights. Sometimes it leads to tragic death and destruction (as in the Bosnia-Serbia-Croatia Civil War) and sometimes it just leads to civil indignation.
Spain is using the Brexit debacle effectively to demand restitution of Gibraltar, ceded to the UK by The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. This blatant popular opportunism awakens the sense of loss in the Spaniard and eggs on the bullying and settling of scores allowed by Brussels against the Brits. Spain conveniently forgets that its current occupation of Cueta and Melilla in Morocco has been (and continues to be) in flagrant breach of International Treaties for centuries (from 1479 to 1945!) but why let the facts get in the way of giving the Brits a good kicking and getting a better opinion poll rating at home?!
Because the UK Government is making a hash of something doesn’t mean people need to throw the moderate baby out with the political bath water and elect a bunch of Business-haters who’d turn the UK into Venezuela in the bat of a hate-filled eye (and, of course, blame it all on Brexit!).
Because you’re fed up with not mattering to the Establishment (from the Westminster Bubble to the Washington Beltway to the Elysee Palace to the Reichstag) don’t fall for the siren calls of the extremists and allow the haters to vilify others in your name.
People have seen, over the past few years, the near-collapse of many of the anchors in their open, democratic societies. From the sexual abuse scandals in Church and Showbiz to the phone-hacking disgrace in newspapers, from the near-destruction of the banking system to the inability of the political class to run a p**s-up in a brewery, from the massive change in the familiar shopping experience to the net increase in the UK population of a number the size of Sunderland each and every year breaking an already overstretched and creaking infrastructure, the ordinary woman and man has had the foundations of their Society whittled down to the point of impotence and loss of trust. Such insecurity is only exacerbated when the Establishment Bubble tell them there isn’t a problem! This is created a fertile reservoir of resentment in which nasty people can get to work. People don’t feel “connected” anymore. The world they’re used to can’t be relied on anymore. They’re swimming but they not only can’t touch the bottom anymore, they’re not even sure where the bottom is!
So how do we deal with the problem? Manning the barricades and falling for the seductive lies of the haters is certainly NOT the answer. But quality, inspirational, non-sectarian and moderately-inclined leadership (in our politics, our Businesses, our Trade Unions, our media, our Sport, our Public Sector) definitely is; political leaders who’ve actually done something with their lives before entering the political maelstrom, people who don’t just focus on the result but also on how they get there, people who want to take everyone with them (and show they mean it by their actions not just their fine words)…….
……and across the democracies of the Developed World, that seems to be sadly lacking.
Happy New Year! (which New Year I’m not exactly sure, but let’s hope it’s this one!).