Question: Why not a political party that fights the causes of Brexit?
By TruePublica Editor: Voters all over the UK have, for years, been frustrated and fed up with their lack of influence over political decisions made in their name. It is true that politicians rank amongst the lowest of professions for untrustworthiness and for good reason. They lie about manifestos, no longer promises but ‘pledges’ and U-Turn when it suits. Essentially, their ideologies are built around lying their way into power and then doing as they please.
The result today is that politicians and the two main political parties in the era of Brexit can no longer contain their disparate factions having divided the nation and its people and currently on course to tear the Union apart in a world that more than ever needs stability and calm.
In short – the political order that once characterised Gt. Britain – is disintegrating.
The double-barrelled evidence is pointing straight at us. The Scottish independence referendum of 2014 was about the fragmentation of the union. That fracturing now looks as great a threat as ever – now almost a foregone conclusion. The dissatisfaction in politics to help the working class led to the inevitable rise of a radical left leader in 2015. The crisis of daily life as a result of the 2007 banking collapse led to pauperisation from the poor to the middle classes in the guise of austerity to enrich besuited mobsters that then held the nation to ransom. It was never going to go unanswered.
But politicians made it worse. Inequality is now the same in Britain as it was in 1929 (more on this in a report tomorrow entitled ‘War On The Poor) – one year before the great depression.
From worker exploitation in the guise of zero-hours contracts and the gig-economy to rising poverty, homelessness and all manner of degrading public services. Tens of thousands have ended up dying (see Killed by the State) waiting for help while politicians looked the other way. Then an out of touch, out of depth politician, little more than a corporate lobbyist gave the nation a protest vote – hence the Brexit result of 2016. The squabbling and infighting of 2017 and 2018 has led to the creation of the Independent Group by former Labour and Tory MPs, the biggest split since the 1981 formation of the Social Democratic Party. It is simply yet another symptom of the disintegration of the political order.
But even here, democracy in Britain is failing. The UK’s archaic first-past-the-post electoral system, one of only a handful globally that still exists, represents a formidable barrier to any political uprising – its a two-party politics club game designed to stop such insurgencies.
In 2019 what are we to expect? Crashing out of the EU with no deal? Political implosion, a rudderless country? We don’t know because our political system and the people within it have created a world of instability and uncertainty for everyone else. The economy will falter because of this alone.
In David Cameron, we had the worst Prime Minister ever, in Theresa May we have worse. She is leading the most secret government outside of the war years and threatening the nation with a style of authoritarianism that would make China’s President Xi Jinping blush. It’s her way or nation gets it. There is no unity, only dissension and discord.
Brexit has not been decisive at all. All it has shown is that democracy in Britain has failed us all.
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So what could a new party do that would get the nation behind it?
How about a party that proposes to outlaw the lobbying of politicians? A law that bans corporate donations and corporate leaders and wealthy individuals off-shoring due taxes? How about a law that protects the NHS from privatisation and guarantees inflationary increases, a law that unlocks national builders landbanks to end the housing crisis, abolishing university fees and bringing back grants. These would certainly be on the electorate’s wish list.
Or, how about citizen’s juries, instead of politicians deciding on such things as the environment, that way, corporations would not be able to influence the outcome.
The USA has the longest tradition of formal regulation of lobbying – and yet it is considered by many as the most corrupt political system in the democratic world because of its global impact. Britain is heading in the same direction.
Just look at the biggest poll (2017) of the most popular manifesto pledges made. In the top five was protecting the NHS, giving it more resources, capping property rents, increasing the living wage and capping immigration. All failures by a government who promised to fix all those things and didn’t.
The poster child outside of Brexit for political failure at every level of government – top to bottom – has been its inadequacy to deal meaningfully with climate change and it being universally corrupted by the fossil fuel industry.
It’s the same for the economic disaster represented by the north-south divide, which was about shutting down industry by a free-market right-wing ideology against a workers rights left-wing ideology. And then there’s the political aggrandising with ego projects that no-one believes will work to fix it like HS2 or forcing fracking upon small communities. People don’t like it and are starting to react.
And the government response to this rising dissent is what? The creation of a 5,000 strong government intelligence unit to combat expected rioting on the streets of Britain due at any moment. That’s it. Oh, and to put the army on standby. And army reservists. And the police.
The government has illegally constructed a 360-degree surveillance architecture the East German Stasi would have been proud of and infiltrated every household, community hall and grass-roots movement to identify potential dissenters. Laws have been changed. Non-violent protestors quite rightly motivated to protect their villages and towns from being destroyed by fracking have been arrested on charges of terrorism – where will that lead to? Without political debate, the government has now announced a centralised biometric database, and another forcing all medical records to be centralised to allow government agencies access without an identifiable reason. What next – Social scoring?
These are all signs of extreme political anxiety. They fear that their policies will end up causing dissent, protest and then violence and that anxiety may be well founded.
This is what Britain is being reduced to. Fear of itself from within.
One thing that could happen with a new political theme at the heart of a manifesto could be, as mentioned, citizen juries. Ireland’s public juries comprise of randomly selected citizens. What it undoubtedly proved was that it helped fuel informed, constructive debates ahead of important big public votes. For instance, Ireland fully demonstrated the power of citizen juries when it even dampened the risks of foreign money being spent on social media ads to swing the abortion ballot. If that had happened in Britain’s EU referendum the result might have been different, or maybe not – either way, they would have been informed – not conned, misled and lied to as they were – as is now evident.
The big problem with this is that it takes power out of the hands of the corporations who fund the corruption of politicians who ultimately rely on them for their existence in the first place. For example, since David Cameron became Conservative leader in December 2005, the amount of money the bankers and hedge funds gave to bankroll the Tories went up fourfold to the point it was donating more than any other source, including from national membership. Labour allowed them to be bailed out without the slightest pain, no arrests, no confiscations – they just walked away and the taxpayer dutifully paid. Call it what you like – that is corruption plain and simple and we all know it.
For Britain to have any chance of negotiating its way in the 21st century it needs to modernise. The leaders of both parties have fully demonstrated that they are not capable of even leading the people that support them, let alone everyone else in the country. We need something new, not same old, same old. It could start by fighting the causes of Brexit. Then and only then will Britain be able to hold its head up high as a nation unified in a world order that is breaking down. It might even be able to do that outside of the European Union – but that will need people at the helm who possess vision, courage and leadership, characteristics of which our current crop of leaders are unburdened with.