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Exit Suella, pursued by democracy


‘ALL OF the people who have challenged the elite consensus of recent years are gone. Boris – gone. Liz Truss – gone. Suella Braverman – gone . . . what kind of democracy is that?’ – Matt Goodwin (5 minutes in).

In the past twenty-four hours or so, YouTube has been awash with reaction takes such as these, with howls of indignation and so many heads being scratched at the simultaneous sacking of Suella Braverman and recall of David (soon to be Lord) Cameron that you could even hear the cacophony in those far, far off lands beyond the M25.

Not content with being regarded as unelected and unpopular, Sunak thought it a good idea for his administration to appear both superannuated and even less accountable (as a peer, Cameron cannot of course face the elected House of Commons). At a stroke he has insulted his MPs – who now know their careers under his leadership are highly unlikely to be advanced – and lost the Red Wall.

Why on Earth did he do it?

In fact, if you understand the new rules of how society is structured from the point of view of high achieving ‘sovereign individuals’ such as Sunak or Cameron, it makes perfect sense. Once, becoming and staying a Prime Minister was the acme of what one could ever achieve. In the globalist era, being a British Prime Minister is a merely mid-level position in your career, and Sunak probably puts a lot less weight on remaining in post than making sure his network of personal contacts is nurtured for when he departs to California. It is also instructive that apparently the newly-minted Lord Dave refused any position other than Foreign Secretary – a position which is ideal to nurture and exploit his own global contacts.

We have seen this pattern of behaviour, indeed betrayal, from our leaders again and again. As soon as he was elected, Boris Johnson jettisoned the Brexit agenda he was mandated to fulfil and started rebuilding bridges with globalist, elite opinion. Theresa May approached the EU essentially as a supplicant during the Brexit negotiations, hobbling the outcome to this day. Most notoriously of all, international Brand Blair was built on the horrors of the Iraq War.

This atrophying of the representative model of democracy is a function of the information age and the globalisation that accompanied it, which the system was never designed for and cannot overcome. Any democratic model relies heavily on the paramount importance of vertical relationships and accountability, however weak and deeply imperfect they may be, between the elites and the people. Unfortunately, the rise of the information economy has substantially weakened vertical social mobility, consequently delaminating the elites from the rest of society. At the same time, it has created vastly more powerful horizontal, trans-national networks between the elites based on new modes of rich, intensive communication.

Although many are wont to see the hand of active conspiracy in many of today’s elite political decisions, the truth is usually far more mundane and a product of a universal truth of human nature: that we tend to align our thinking and actions, often entirely subconsciously, with those we communicate most frequently with and therefore come to understand the most. Even after highly disruptive events such as Brexit, the system has shown an astonishing ability automatically to snap back into the patterns of the pre-existing order. Consequently Suella Braverman, who with whatever faults she may have clearly cares deeply about the vertical relationship between the elites and the people, was replaced by David Cameron – a creature of the new, ultra-networked elite.

To answer Professor Goodwin’s question quoted at the beginning of this blog, the awful truth is that we do not live in much of a democracy at all, nor have we for some considerable time. Despite repeated attempts, the outdated vertical mechanisms of sporadic accountability via five-yearly elections have proved far too weak to overcome the strength of the horizontal networks of power and influence in the new information age. Only a new model of governance incorporating direct democracy can hope to redress the balance.

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

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