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HomeDemocracy in DecayWill Starmer complete the unfinished Blairite revolution?

Will Starmer complete the unfinished Blairite revolution?


The writer is in Australia

FORMER Tory minister Robert Jenrick, in the Daily Telegraph, fears that the inevitable Starmer government will enact a ‘second Blairite revolution’.

For a revolutionary Blair undoubtedly was. Beneath the mild, benign exterior, Blair was an unreconstructed Trot yearning for ‘permanent revolution’. Only Blair’s revolution, like those of progressives the world over now, is not about changing what Marx called ‘the economic base’, but rather about transforming every aspect of society – social relations, culture, family life, privacy, religion, education – into a progressive image. Marx called this the ‘superstructure’.

Jenrick states: ‘For a preview of Starmer’s Britain, take a look at the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] case . . . in which the Strasbourg Court ruled that Switzerland had violated human rights by not decarbonising quickly enough. What should be the preserve of democratic debate is now being absorbed by a legal-administrative elite accountable to no one.

‘At the heart of Labour’s plans is a second wave of quangos. Great British Energy will be set up and granted a remit to set energy policy. Education will see a new “National Curriculum Authority”, reinforced by “Skills England”.

‘Bureaucracy will balloon. Already the laundry list is endless: a single enforcement body for workers’ rights, nationwide Climate Export Hubs, an ironically-named “Office for Value for Money”. There is seemingly no challenge that Labour believes cannot be fixed with ever-more powerful arms-length bodies. Rachel Reeves [Shadow Chancellor] intends to “hard-wire growth” with a new “fiscal lock” designed to give the OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility] the final say on budgets set by the government. Decisions will not be made by elected politicians, but by these “experts” who subscribe to the economic orthodoxy.’

There is not the slightest reason to question Jenrick’s analysis. Other than, perhaps, noting in passing that the Tories in office have done absolutely jot to overturn the first Blairite revolution.

This much we already know. The elites outsource decision-making to the unelected. Avoiding blame and avoiding accountability is one objective. To take more and more decision-making further away from voters. To render voiceless those they deem to be hideous deplorables and political eunuchs. The purpose of outsourcing isn’t merely to dodge the tedious business of justifying policies, though. No. It is to execute a revolution. To embed their plans, make them permanent, and resistant to counter-revolution. For they are, still, revolutionaries. The Blairite model, so aptly described on many occasions by Peter Hitchens, has become a global phenomenon. In New Zealand, for example, where the former Blair staffer Jacinda Ardern set out to change that country for ever.

But the critical element of the outsourcing process, perhaps less well known, is populating all the bureaucracies, quangos, NGOs, universities, (especially) woke corporations, an army of consultants and supra-national bodies, with your own people. Before you hand over policy power to others, make sure they are ‘on side’. Fill policy-implementing partner institutions with your own people. Who needs to ‘penetrate ze cabinets’, as the World Economic Forum’s Spectre-style leader Klaus Schwab commented, when you can simply ‘outsource ze cabinets’?

After all, Jenrick says, ‘Executive power is already seeping away from Ministers.’

Yes and no. Executive power is actually growing, massively. Power is, far more importantly, seeping away from Parliaments. And from the Burkean model of the dedicated, voter-facing, ‘freelancing’ backbencher. Those who actually stand up for we-the-people are booted off the team.

The political scientist John Marini’s 2019 book on unmasking the administrative state in the US tells this story in detail. He calls it ‘an existential threat’ to the American Republic. He is speaking of out-of-control agencies, unelected bureaucrats, and their corporatist mates, in whose service they typically operate and with whom they closely work, in a corporatist model.

But, more importantly here, the Executive is mostly willing to give away policy-making to outsiders. Jenrick is partly on to it:

‘Of course, Labour has nothing to fear from the quangos or officialdom that they wish to empower, because they are already ideologically aligned. They believe in racing at breakneck speed towards Net Zero, accept the supposed virtues of mass immigration without question, and recoil at our decision to leave the EU’ (emphasis added).

Outsourcing policy-making isn’t the only method of screwing the democratic rights of voters, of course. There are many others – bread and circuses, distractions, fake crises, the use of emergency powers for non-emergencies, the use of emergency powers for ramping up state control over our lives, creating new forms of governance (National Cabinet during the plandemic), forgotten (and binned) mandates, things never debated, often never even mentioned, during election campaigns but suddenly, or surreptitiously over time, introduced. Abortion, mass immigration, Net Zero, a Big Australia, Digital ID, online safety and so on.

But outsourcing policy is right up there.

One of the intentions of the Blair revolution, stated openly and often, was to prevent future (Tory) governments from reversing the radical changes Blair wrought. As if they needed to have worried. The so-called ‘centre right’ turns out to be part of the UniParty. On board with the radical agenda, or, at least, not opposing it with intent and force. Overall, they are useless if one is expecting resistance to the progressive march and some attempt at policy reversal when right-of-centre parties are in office.

Coalition (in Australia) politicians tend, like everyone else, to divide themselves into the four quarters of the quadrant of conformity. In Paul Graham’s schema: ‘The . . . four quadrants define four types of people. Starting in the upper left and going counter-clockwise: aggressively conventional-minded, passively conventional-minded, passively independent-minded, and aggressively independent-minded.

First, there are those who aggressively support the permanent social revolution under way and driven by the left. They are, in effect, already on ‘team progressive’. Manchurian candidates. They are just driving us towards the cliff at the speed limit.

Then there are the quiet conformist-progressives who are simply happy to go along and see others doing the dirty work. Leftists all, but they probably have an eye on pre-selections, and remain below the radar.

The biggest source of disappointment for the conservative and populist base are members of the third quadrant, the submissive, queasy types, who, often careerists, are simply bull-dozed into supporting progressive agendas they personally detest, or with which they at least feel uncomfortable. These people are the most disappointing of all. They know right from wrong but lack the personal courage to fight against the prevailing tide. They remained firmly silent during the Covid farce, for example.

Finally, there are the loud, courageous, freelancing opponents of the direction of travel. They occupy the fourth quadrant. In Britain, there is really only Andrew Bridgen, it seems. In the USA, DeSantis, and (sometimes) Trump. RFK Jr is an outsider champion. (Infamously, of course, Trump rolled over in March 2020 under the tutelage of Birx and Fauci.)

As future-proofing exercises go, outsourcing policy-making to trusted progressives dotted right across the spectrum of life-affecting institutions is pretty damned good. It is permanent, global, all-embracing, deep, broad, and suffocating. Reminiscent of Orwell’s total control in 1984. And all done on our watch, in our apparent representative democracies.

The devil’s greatest trick comes to mind as the model.

This article appeared in Spectator Australia on April 21, 2024, and is republished by kind permission.

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Paul Collits
Paul Collits
Paul Collits is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Quadrant Online

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