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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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HomeDemocracy in DecayDemocracy in Decay: A Tory betrayal

Democracy in Decay: A Tory betrayal

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TUESDAY was the fourth anniversary of the 2019 General Election, when the Tories achieved a surprisingly comprehensive victory under Boris Johnson. Even the most cynical of us who had, much against our better judgment, voted Tory thought this might well herald a new beginning for Britain: the much-delayed Brexit referendum result and all that it implied – reduced immigration, levelling up, cultural conservatism and the like – would finally be implemented after years of Parliament’s obstructionism.

How distant and naïvely trusting that all seems today! As Allister Heath notes in the Telegraph, too many Tory MPs simply hate their own voters, especially those within the newly Conservative Red Wall. Once again, the Tories played their time-honoured, cynical trick of throwing what they patronisingly call ‘Red Meat’ at their electorate, only to lapse into lazy fatalism and cynicism once in office.

Labour Radicalism

The Tories, then, could be described as sheep in wolves’ clothing, repeatedly promising robust action that amounts to nothing, opting instead just to go with the flow of the intellectual zeitgeist. With Labour, however, we have the opposite problem of ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing. An old tactic of the Radical Left is to hide their radicalism behind a mask of moderation. For instance, during the Spanish Civil War communists in Republican-controlled areas would allow the more moderate socialists to occupy the most senior positions while stuffing the ranks of mid-level posts, thereby able to control policy below the radar.

Similarly, the New Labour government under Tony Blair presented itself as one of moderation, focused on public service reform. In fact, under the cover of spin and smears, it embarked on a highly radical agenda for which it had no mandate, as the columnist Peter Hitchens has often noted. The most transformative and destructive politician of the modern age is someone many people have probably never heard of – Barbara Roche, Minister of State for Immigration from 1999 to 2001. During those three years she hugely liberalised immigration policies towards one of mass migration, one that has never been reversed, with the calamitous consequences for social cohesion, public services and the economy that we see today.

Many senior figures within New Labour had spent short times as Trotskyites or Communists in their youth, including allegedly Blair himself. Some of that can no doubt be put down to youthful idealism, but we will never know to what extent the Labour Party was subject to the old Trotskyite tactic of entryism, or how much it might be today. Sir Keir Starmer himself spent time as a left-wing ‘Pabloist’ radical in the 1980s and may well still hold these views today. Stunned by the Brexit referendum and the march of the ‘far right’ across Europe, we can surely expect a radical left-wing agenda aimed at irreversibly cementing the woke technocracy we live under once Labour get into power, including changes to the voting system and deeply sinister anti-blasphemy laws.

Total Recall

Again and again, we see that both major parties treat general elections as nothing more than a necessary pantomime which invariably hides their true intentions. Representative Democracy has become Unrepresentative Shamocracy. However, it is not all that surprising when you consider that the way politics is conducted is quite unlike any other form of transactional process in the modern world.

Imagine, for instance, that you decide to get an extension on your house. You invite tenders from a few firms, choose one, agree a price and specifications. However, a few weeks into the project you note that the plans are not being followed. You duly confront the project manager who states that his firm has no intention of obeying the original terms of contract and has decided to knock down your house and build a seven-storey block of flats instead. Moreover, there is nothing you can do about it for five years and, yes, they will be sending you the bill.

This would, of course, be both intolerable and ridiculous – but it is precisely what happens in representative democratic politics time and again. Is it any wonder that politics attracts the shysters and opportunists that it does? Those who say that a Direct Democratic model of petitioned referendums and Right of Recall are dangerously radical fail to explain why this model works reasonably well in all other matters of contractual agreement for complex projects: referendums can be regarded as akin to contractual change orders, right of recall as essentially firing or project cancellation – the ultimate sanction for poor individual (MPs) or collective (government) performance. It is interesting to note that after her stint as Immigration Minister, Barbara Roche’s majority halved on a massive swing in the 2001 general election, and in 2005 she lost her Hornsey and Wood Green seat in a shock result. By then, of course, it was too late. Had she had to face an ever-present threat of Right of Recall or the prospect of facing a referendum on mass immigration, perhaps she would have tempered the arrogant, profoundly anti-democratic and highly destructive radicalism she plainly thought she could get away with.

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John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe (pseudonym) is a political analyst.

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