Friday, October 30, 2020
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Reader’s comment: Our post-democratic society

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In response to Andrew Cadman: Has-beens and nonentities hammer down the lid on Parliament’s coffin, Mike Jay wrote:

The underlying problem is that we live, and have lived for some time, in a post-democratic society: one that continues to have and to use all the institutions of democracy, but in which they have increasingly become a formal shell.

Across Europe political elites have morphed into a homogeneous professional class, withdrawing into state institutions that offer some degree of stability in a world of fickle voters. In parallel with this, non-democratic agencies and technocratic practices proliferate – exemplified by the European Union itself, an organisation that depoliticises its member states and whose notorious ‘democratic deficit’ reflects the deliberate intentions of its founders. Unable to rely on authority generated by a relationship between the state and society, governments across Europe have relied increasingly on the EU as a place where they can rule at a distance.

It is hardly surprising that Brexit should bring the hollowness of our domestic politics into sharp relief. It has revealed a political class at odds with the majority and determined to oppose Brexit rather than represent it.

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