We stand agog at the daily, in fact hourly, political machinations of the Prime Minister, Parliament and the establishment. We have witnessed the rewriting of constitutional precedent, a blatant disregard for manifesto commitments, the bending of rules and lies on an industrial scale.
All this to keep the UK a prisoner of the EU system and a milch cow for Germany and Brussels bureaucracy. No heresy allowed in the new inquisition.
What is astonishing is the apparent continued belief amongst our superior classes that “ordinary people” aren’t watching and understanding what is afoot.
Perhaps the establishment elites don’t care. After all, they think the peasants in this new Peasants Revolt will go back to their ploughs and merely toil on once it is all settled with hardly a murmur. I think not.
Pandora’s box is open and lid cannot be replaced, the Genie is out of the bottle. Recent opinion polls and my experience of people across the country supporting the Sunderland to London March To Leave tell me that there is widespread and deep disillusionment with our political system and with the application of democracy in our country.
Democracy appears to them to be not what people thought it was, not fair, observed in the breach, a tool for the establishment to get its way.
This up-swelling of discontent and in some quarters rage has the potential to have a profound effect on our political system and the current disposition of the political parties. The polls are showing a very significant proportion of the electorate saying they will never vote again. There are reports of Conservative Party members cutting up their membership cards and refusing to campaign.
This is not surprising since the PM has chosen to ignore the majority of her MPs and the majority of her cabinet, who now think no deal is the best deal, and instead collude with the opposition against her own party and, for that matter, the nation who voted to leave the EU and who voted for a Conservative and Unionist Government.
Not since the early years of the 19th century has a PM done anything similar. This was in support of the great reform movement and was at least for the good, for free trade and electoral reform, as opposed to an anti-democratic move by this current PM to maintain protectionism and high prices, to cede sovereignty forever. Even that incident, however, broke the party system and changed politics for decades.
The matter of Brexit is now so powerful in the psyche of many that politics appears to be and is likely to fragment along leave and remain lines. Even more powerful is the general and growing belief that the UK is no longer a democratic country, that our democratic system is broken and that both Westminster and Whitehall require root and branch reform. I have heard many Remain voting businesspeople saying this and that they would now vote to leave without a deal.
It is one thing not to vote in future as a protest. With any luck, this will extend to millions finding a legal way not to pay the BBC licence fee as well. But the declaration “I will never vote again” is usually presaged by the remark “who do I vote for? There is nobody to vote for”. It is certain that there is now a huge opportunity for a Brexit-orientated political alternative at the ballot box.
I am not sure changing the leader of the government will help this much. The likelihood is that compromise candidates will emerge as the final choice. Even if a red meat Brexiteer emerged that person would feel constrained by whatever diabolical deal their predecessor had agreed to and which the establishment wish to see adhered to. A candidate such as Gove, for example, would be like putting Dracula in charge of the Brexit blood bank.
A recent international research report looking at the disposition of governments around the world concluded that Macron is dead centre and May is to the left of Macron. The reality of British politics is that the centre-left is crowded and there is a vacuum on the right. Nature abhors a vacuum. Again a massive opportunity for a new alignment in politics.
Clearly, new centre-left groups have the potential to split the centre-left vote. The implosion of the Conservative Party has been brought about by a combination of the doctrinaire, absurdity of May and her coterie: Rudd, Gauke, Hammond, Letwin and the rest, the intransigence of the German-run EU and the recalcitrance of the CBI and other vested interest groups. That implosion will almost certainly lead to a split in the vote on the centre-right, as long as there is someone to vote for.
Whatever the outcome of all this, the nature of Genies flying and Pandora’s unexpected gifts is that nothing will be the same again.
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