BRITISH Shamocracy is dead. Whatever happens now, the current system, laughingly called ‘Representative Democracy’, will not survive in any credible form. Contrary to many reports, it did not die with the events of last week: they just exposed it for what it has been for a very considerable time, perhaps for ever. Over more than half a century, British politicians of all stripes with their officials conspired successfully to hoodwink the British people and manoeuvre the people deeper and deeper into an anti-democratic supranational entity. Plainly their attitude has always that the people could have control over the small things, whereas the elite still controlled the really big things. Brexit has just exposed the painful truth that our governing institutions have long been rotten to the core.
It follows that the furious debate over Theresa May’s execrable withdrawal agreement is a lot, lot bigger than Brexit now: faith in the system is shattered, never fully to return, and the minority of politicians who still retain their integrity should think very carefully about what to do in that context. On their shoulders, everything post-Brexit rests.
Reports are now flooding in of major buckling in the ERG and other Eurosceptic ranks: backed into a corner by a lying, duplicitous Prime Minister and her ministers, one by one leading figures are backing down.
That, quite frankly, is a course of action that can lead only to total long-term calamity. Of course, we all know being trapped in the backstop and all the other 40 horrors of the withdrawal agreement is bad enough, but it is a lot worse than even that. The strategy of the British Establishment down the centuries has been to give rebellious sections of society just enough crumbs to satisfy them while retaining power, and May’s deal is very much in that tradition. The price paid is that for many at home and abroad the credibility of our ‘democracy’ has been destroyed for ever. As Allister Heath wrote in the Telegraph last week, Britain’s attraction as an investment destination is based very firmly on its political stability and the reputation of integrity of its institutions. Permanently crippled, the system may well limp on for a while but Britain, now an EU vassal state, would decline slowly but remorselessly.
In time, as the full calamity of what has happened came to be realised, people would naturally become even more resentful and angry. However, there would be no major political players within established institutions left that were trusted by the people, no one public opinion could regroup around.
Far better to bring things to a head, for the ERG and others to stand tall on a matter of absolute principle, namely that under no condition should Britain sign itself into being an EU vassal, betraying not just those who voted for Brexit but all those in previous generations who died for our democracy. There is always a chance we could leave on No Deal, particularly if one of the 27 EU countries vetoed extension of Article 50. Alternatively, if a lengthy extension were granted, the immediate failure of our elites would be much more glaring, and their removal potentially much more rapid. May’s government would be gone, and perhaps the old legacy parties permanently hobbled as new parties arose. Importantly, we would not be trapped in vassal status, and it would be easier for a new administration to extricate us from the EU properly. However, most importantly of all, individuals would remain inside the system whom the people still trusted and looked up to, and who had the experience to steer politics to a safe harbour from very dangerous waters. In time, it would fall to them to help design and implement very different democratic mechanisms of governance than the rotten and discredited structures we have today.
So hold hard, ERG, once more unto the breach you must valiantly go. It isn’t just about Brexit, or the EU, or even our doomed political system. It really is all about you.