Is Britain now on the verge of repeating a dangerous moment in its own history?

21st February 2020 / United Kingdom
Is Britain now on the verge of repeating history?

By TruePublica: Amid the Brexit chaos of the last few years, the social division and economic uncertainty it has created, overall public faith in Britain’s political system has reached rock bottom. It doesn’t get much worse than this before something rather unpleasant happens. It might appear that things are bad right now, but we are actually on the cusp of something that may turn out worse.

 

It was only last April that the Hansard Society, formed in 1944 to promote parliamentary democracy published its audit of political engagement.  Unbelievably, it is now lower even than at the depths of the crisis over MPs’ expenses – and that was the worst on record by some margin.

Almost three-quarters of those asked in Hansard’s audit said the system of governance needed significant improvement, and other attitudes emerged that “challenge core tenets of our democracy”, the audit’s authors stated. It predicted that Britain was on the verge of actually ’embracing authoritarianism’. And so it has come to pass – we have Boris Johnson. Since his election in December, he has promised to do what the people seemingly want, that is to tear down ‘the establishment’ and rebuild it, presumably this time, for the benefit of everyone – not just the few.

So far, we know that the four pillars that uphold the current workings of civil society are to be ‘reformed’ as they like to phrase it. This reformation of the judiciary, legislature and media are to bend to the will of the executive – and henceforth, Britain will have its autocrat (Boris Johnson) supported by a tyrannical (Dominic Cumings) and fanatical government (Gove, Patel, Raab et al).

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But what happens when the voting public finds out that the ‘reformation,’ far from being reconstructed to their benefit, is A) making the wealthy more so and B) no longer giving the right to democratically change it?

And soon, the British government – more precisely No 10 Downing Street will be completely immersed in scandal and drowning in disgrace. The Russia Report is set to be explosive, the emergence of new information is on the edge of spilling into the public domain. The Arcuri scandal will soon blow open, open racism and a new Windrush disgrace is bubbling away and at the heart of government open warfare between ministers, advisors and the civil service is tearing away at the seams at the thin veil of coordinated governance.

The Hansard Society’s very first subscribers were Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee and they would be turning in their graves if they were aware of the current state of affairs. This institution was warning a year ago that the system was so badly rigged and that the toxicity of Britain’s political system is so soaked in corruption – it will likely fall to a populist.  What they also predicted was that if a post-Brexit economic downturn became a reality, we will see a huge rise in right-wing extremism and a new ‘leader’ will emerge. It’s not clear if they meant Boris Johnson, but I doubt it.

 

We are on the verge of a “toxic recipe for the future of British politics” and in a “potentially dangerous situation”

– effectively a war without an enemy.

 

Rosie Carter, a senior policy officer with the group, said: “We are facing a crisis of political mistrust. And when people do not trust traditional political systems, they look elsewhere. That’s when support for political extremes grows.”

Nearly 60 per cent of people in Britain think the country is in decline. About half believe they have no influence in elections. About half believe referendums solve nothing. About half think Brexit will solve these problems, the other half thinks it will make matters worse. But no-one thinks it’ll be the same. We have left versus right, Boomers versus Millenials, black versus white, nationalists versus internationalists. Scotland wants independence, England won’t give it. There’s nothing in the middle, no compromise, no agreement.

The last time Britain was in this mood, the English Civil War broke out. That was also a battle of two ideologies and about the political governance of the country, which dominated the land for over a decade. It was also about England, Scotland and Ireland. And when it was over – a military dictator emerged. The country was soon facing complete anarchy and in the end, after a considerable amount of social and economic upheaval, the ‘restoration’ period came about.

Hope Not Hate, which monitors extremist groups, said the suspicion of politicians if coupled with a post-Brexit economic downturn, would be “fertile ground for a far-right populist surge”. The Hansard Society says we are on the verge of a “toxic recipe for the future of British politics” and in a “potentially dangerous situation,”  – effectively a war without an enemy.

The study, compiled annually by the democracy charity, found that when people were asked whether “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules”, 54 per cent agreed and only 23 per cent said no. In all, 42 per cent of respondents agreed with the idea that many national problems could be dealt with more effectively “if the government didn’t have to worry so much about votes in parliament”. You read that right – over 40 per cent of the adult population of Britain thinks democracy is now a waste of time.

We are on the wrong path. It’s a trajectory and you can see where it’s leading already. If the economists, government advisors, experts and captain’s of industry are right – that post-Brexit economic downturn is almost upon us. What next?

 

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