“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.”John Adams
The majority Referendum vote by the British Electorate to leave the European Union (EU) and its immediate aftermath have tossed the pieces of the political kaleidoscope into the air. Whilst it is still too early to know where they will all eventually settle, some major observations from events so far relating to the practice of real democracy and good government are still possible.
Playing fast and loose
Many politicians, their sycophants and members of the ruling Establishment were (and presumably still are) prepared to ‘throw’ responsibility, integrity and good judgement ‘to the wind’ in pursuit of a political objective or of their own narrow self-interests. No holds are barred and the end justifies the means. We suspected then and now know that ‘Project Fear’ was largely a work of gross exaggeration, if not of fiction. Yet it would not have been possible if the individuals concerned had acted with any sense of integrity, honour, duty or professionalism. Surprisingly there were a few, but alas not many, dissenting voices who were prepared to refuse (presumably against Establishment pressure and groupthink) to participate in acts of deceit and manipulation against the Electorate.
Boldly go where facts, knowledge and analysis are missing
We now know that many politicians, members of the ruling Establishment and their fellow travellers in the main stream media are prepared to comment on (or in the case of politicians even make) apparent policy statements with only a superficial knowledge of the subject or issue; the proverbial ‘fools rushing in where angels fear to tread’. Obviously they are highly likely to get it wrong often and the much superior alternative based on facts, knowledge and thoughtful, perceptive analysis gets ignored. Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne by hamstringing the Civil Service over any sort of BREXIT Plan have highlighted how little the political Establishment actually knows or understands without the apparatus of government to fall back onto.
Poor democrats and worse
Many people appear to have a weak commitment to democracy and understanding of its ramifications, whilst many in the ruling Establishment are active in undermining or circumventing it. Thus we are seeing REMAINiacs (with deep pockets) involving themselves in legal action (dressed up in sophistry), and various politicians trying to ignore or reinterpret the Referendum result. Many also do not appear to understand, that whatever their claimed justification, they are not entitled to ignore democratic aspirations or deny the Electorate government by consent. Very few had realised that a vote to REMAIN in the EU was actually a use of the democratic process (of the Referendum) to frustrate the aspirations of others who wanted a return of democracy and government by consent through a restoration of United Kingdom sovereignty. Today frustration of democracy is still continuing through, for example, talking down our country’s prospects in the media based on often spurious or selective ‘evidence’.
Out of touch ruling Elite
The ruling Establishment’s agenda supported by much of the main stream media is not shared by many of the Electorate; the major parties having in effect turned their backs on their natural supporters and the wider public. Consequently, large swathes of the Electorate,particularly the socially conservative, patriotic, individualistic, financially prudent, are no longer represented nor have a voice in the ‘corridors of power’.
The Establishment generally comes across as having common values, views and interests, including: globalism and destruction of national identities; remaking society into a sort of permissive, compliant image; intolerance of nonconforming views;pursuit of increasing statist or corporatist control; seeing the Electorate as being wrong, ill-informed and/or misguided and in need of being changed; finding someone to ‘blame’ or even persecute for the Electorate’s ‘obstinacy’.
The dichotomy between Electorate and rulers in the Establishment points to a physical and communications gap and even to a difference in philosophical outlook, how each sees or interprets the world.The Establishment then live in an isolated world largely formed of their views, self-interests, and questionable assumptions, including about the Electorate and lives of ordinary people. In their isolated world, spin (with its abandonment of precise language) and resulting superficial depth of thought have replaced humanity, patriotism, experience, actual knowledge and careful analysis. Their objectives (pursuit of globalism and corporatism, self-interest etc.) are likely as not to be working against the wishes, aspirations and best interests of much of the Electorate leading to the People needing some form of protection.
Traditionally in our country, protection against abuse of power has been provided by the workings of democratic accountability and transparency and of longstanding systemic (Parliamentary and legal) checks and balances. However, this needs all parties concerned to ‘play the game’. When a ruling elite effectively control the apparatus of government and have a stranglehold over the economy, as we are seeing, existing functioning (and essential) precedence can be ignored and dismantled. It is a slippery slope where we become playthings for their sociological experiments and a resource to be exploited. As democracy dies, and so too does its checks and balances, like the workings of a political version of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, extremism, inhumanity and intolerance rises on all sides to fill the gap.
Democracy, then like freedom, has shallow roots and needs to be constantly re-invigorated primarily through education, freedom, respect for just laws and involvement by the Electorate or, other imperatives (often of the ruling elite or Establishment) will cause it to wither away.