by John Ward
Although the outcome of the Brexit saga remains opaque, the time has come to see it as a symptom of a much bigger trend. I continue to feel that sovereign withdrawal from the EU is nothing like as important or risky a change as the Fifth Remainers Column insist – not least because every “example” of future disaster they present is so easy to laugh at. But the saga is more important for showing up a near-generic problem in Western States: division among the vox populi, and the power-grab being effected by the Great Unelected. This essay puts forward a less dramatic but potentially more effective approach to undermining those who would dump democracy and trade our freedoms in return for geopolitical power.
Today being December 1st, in theory the Season of Goodwill is upon us. The Prime Minister has told both staff, Whitehall and MPs that Christmas is cancelled this year, which is probably entirely appropriate, as there won’t be much goodwill around whatever the result of The Big Vote on December 11th.
Despite the decrees of Mrs Scrooge, however, for almost everyone outside the bubble it will be an exciting time for those with young families, a normal time for for everyone in the emergency and charity services, and something of a non-event for wrinklies like me. Today, I want to talk for a change about all the real people, as opposed to the Legislative & Business classes who dilute our life quality with their permanently engorged egos and (it has to be said) genitals.
Fear not: this isn’t the overture to some happy-clappy Christmas and God bless Tiny Tim lachrymose platitudes. On the contrary, it is (I hope) a timely – perhaps valedictory – reminder that only those with wise compassion, common sense and community spirit well beyond the self-styled élites are likely one day to maximise the fulfilment potential of the most citizens possible.
Elites & Culture
The British – and, by and large, American, Dutch, Greek and German élites – enjoy a powerful distance from their subjects not equalled since Mediaeval Europe…..and yet one that is far more invasively cruel than the Roman Empire.
Above all, it is technology that has given them this distant control.
In (say) the 12th century, distant power was based on land ownership, the Church, rudimentary tax collection, and reliable armed mercenary forces to retain and maintain the principle of serfdom.
In the 21st century, technology provides the capacity for mass surveillance, electronic money to make tax collection (aka theft) universal, influential media to persuade the gullible majority, destructive weaponry to quell any sign of rebellion, security services to claim that the Realm is under threat, social media to offer rich data about individual opinions and behaviour, and robotisation/automation guaranteeing a greatly reduced bargaining power for human labour.
Although historians will argue about this until a silly cow comes home from Brussels with what we voted for, there was a century – stretching roughly from around 1875 to 1975 – when mass production and near-universal suffrage gave labour powerful voting blocs in western legislatures, creating huge improvements in public health, education and civil rights. (It is notable that, in those countries lacking peaceful power sharing, there were anti-democratic revolutions – in Russia, Germany, China, Korea and Vietnam – that caused pointless wars and left The People with, effectively, no freedom at all)
In the First World, power was consolidated among the unelected classes after 1975 as a result of several factors. The most significant were improved material conditions in the lower middle and middle classes, better raw material access, increasingly globalised business acting as the catalyst for developing world gdp, monopoly control of a dominant energy form, the creation of fiat currencies, satellite communications, increasingly fast computers with huge memories, digitalisation of information, the rapid establishment of a global internet….and perhaps above all, the use of rigid belief systems as the cynical rationale for more and more power with less and less accountability.
The last point above sticks out like a retrograde septic thumb after all the scientific, fiscal, economic and energy stuff that came before. I would argue that, as time went on, the last point was in many ways a reaction to the technical developments.
The four main and easily deconstructed ideologies in play today are Neoliberalism, Socialism, Feminism and Islamism.
The first arose as the “basis” for a comeback for capital as first Reagan and then Thatcher (and the Bushes and Blair) began a systematic critique of social capitalism, and its creation of the worst elements of a welfare State. It spawned a credo that rapidly morphed into greedo. It also acted as an apparent extension and revitalisation of the increased material wellbeing of the earlier so-called ‘affluent society’.
The second in turn has enjoyed a comeback via Democrat and Labour Party pc politics on social issues and race, as the rate of diaspora and migrancy after 1955 matured into increasingly multi-ethnic societies where minorities were being left behind.
The third developed after the mid 1960s as more women with degrees poured into the workforce. It has now joined hands with the “Left” pc branch, and is at times indistinguishable from the entire MeeToo-equality-sexuality-gay-LGBT-anti-rape-racism axis that has come to predominate in politics over more simple economic debates.
The fourth collided with Arab and US attempts to secure energy profits and access respectively, causing a highly flammable chemical reaction from which fundamentalist Mohammedan Islam benefited hugely. Without the cruel violence associated with Islamic tradition, there could’ve been no Jihadism; and without US energy obsessions, Jihadism would be of minimal world influence.
Taken together, these apparently diverse belief systems can nevertheless be seen to have many common elements. The most significant, I would argue, are cynicism, greed, divisiveness, narcissism, and above all a truly remarkable lack of scientific basis: wealth clearly does not trickle down, intolerant socialist doctrine produces censorship and removes liberties, women and men are chemically and biologically very different, criminalising homosexuality is barbaric but glorifying it is anthropological nonsense, and Islam is not and never has been a religion of peace, gender equality and sexual tolerance.
Overall – bizarrely and yet predictably – the advance of media science has provided the persuasion required to convince otherwise sensible people that preposterous rationales are rational. They are not.
The Cultural Shift and Party Decline
Blairites, Clintonists, Cobynistas and Friedmanites all love to peddle the myth of (for example) “the innate wisdom of the American People” and “the British Bulldog spirit of fair play”. In France, Macron woffled on endlessly during his election about “the third way free spirit” of the French people. From 2010 onwards, Greek leader Alexis Tsipras built and gained power for his “alliance of Greek left decency”. They were all engaged in their own regional and national game of pretending that there hasn’t been a massive cultural shift over the last forty years.
The shift is obvious and threefold: from Labour to Capital, from Party membership to political Executive power, and from elected power to unelected “Alt State” power. All three are interconnected.
I’ve already looked at the new ascendancy of power based on obscene inequalities of wealth. But even before that process began, from the early 1960s onwards mass Party activism had been in steep decline. Material wellbeing in the middle orders, social mobility, home ownership and social media techniques have all contributed to this; and at the same time, decades of politician exposés, overspends, cockups, ‘media training’ and broken promises have led to cynicism and apathy among the electorate. Two in five Brits regularly fail to vote. In the French Presidential runoff, three in five didn’t bother. Trump was elected for many reasons, and one of the biggest was black voter abstention.
This created a massive problem for political Parties, who had traditionally relied upon both mass contributions and rich donors. In the UK, for example, since 1955 the two “main” Party memberships have shrunk by 90%. Fund raising from donors and corporations, by contrast, has become a big business in its own right…..and increased “lobbying” (the inverted commas are well-deserved) has become a barter system: we pay you $30 million, you ensure full government support and minimal red tape for the development of fracking if elected. We pay you £15 million, you start a full-on house-building drive and relax the planning laws.
The unelected business, banking and globalist élites have not been slow to take advantage of such legalised corruption. As time passed, the process became more formal, involving more and more interaction between them and the equally unelected Whitehall (and Town Hall) bureaucrats. From the NHS to Plymouth Council, from British Airways to Western region rail, private sector high fliers regularly gain employment by Whitehall, and retired civil service mandarins join the Boards of major plcs. It’s a long time since they were balancing factors in constitutional government: today, they’re cooperating élites with very blurred lines of responsibility….and no accountability to the taxpayer.
Needless to say, they also in many cases have glaring conflicts of interest – what the media love to call ‘moral hazard’, and what real people call crony capitalism. But the bottom line is that, to the cultural shift to divisive ID politics and the shift from Labour clout to capital power has been added the shift of telling government policy power from elected legislatures to unelected cliques of (variously) bureaucrats, globalists, bankers, energy providers and arms suppliers.
The threat first identified by Dwight Eisenhower as the ‘military industrial complex’ has come to maturity….but is now a much bigger club embracing hitech, media in myriad forms, and those bankers increasingly engaged in the unstable financialisation of capitalism. It includes the Pentagon, MI6, the CIA, NATO, GCHQ, Interpol, oil barons from Texas to Saudi Arabia – and of course, those engaged in the development of Bloc superpower Corporate States.
Brexit and Corporate State Repression
The British People are not going to get the Brexit for which 53% of them voted – and for which, I suspect, even more would vote were there to be a second referendum today. In truth, they are not going to get their national or citizen sovereignty back, because Corporate Stateist aims dictate otherwise.
Commercial and Trade bureaucrats do not like democracy, because it “makes mistakes”. Security and surveillence bureaucrats do not like liberty, because it “gets in their way”.
The European Union does not like democracy because it is run by bureaucrats. It does not like national freedoms because it is run by federalist zealot bureaucrats.
NATO does not like democracy because, given the choice, the European Peoples would always vote for Peace not War today. It does not like liberty because media freedoms and independent ownership would reveal what a ruthless, CIA-enmeshed Pentagon puppet it really is.
Whitehall does not want Brexit because it would mean huge swathes of their number becoming unemployed, because it is infected by corporate corruption, because the EU has rapidly become a further stepping stone to bigger horizons and larger salaries, and because the last thing it wants is more democratic access in the UK alongside elected power being returned to Westminster. The pinstripes have made their feather bed, and they are determined to continue lying in it.
The British People are not blameless
All of that somewhat depressing landscape having been laid out, it would be ridiculous to absolve the British electorate itself of any responsibility. Voter culpability is there in a dazzling and at times inexplicable display of all the sizes and all the colours:
- The gullibility of a radically chic but miserably narrow LibLeft that not only cannot see the myriad examples EU duplicity, incompetence, corruption, illegality, bullying and witch-hunting, it also really thinks that the likes of McDonnell and Abbott are going too give power back to the People. Hardline socialist States behave exactly the same as corporate States.
- The astonishing judgement of Scotland’s SNP that they would have more freedom to run their own affairs in the EU than they do under Westminster, when every last shred of fiscal and historical evidence in relation to Brussels and smaller member States (like Greece and Hungary) suggests the diametric opposite.
- The sick-making willingness of English southern counties Tory voters to reject all criticism of Theresa May “because she’s the leader and we don’t want Corbyn to get in”. Corbyn hasn’t got a cat in Hell’s chance of getting elected Prime Minister in his own right.
But in reality, all this shows little more than the situation I described earlier in this essay: a tribal, divided, ideologically dominated, narrow and distracted country that is (sad to relate) easy meat for a Corporate/Bureaucratic takeover. If one surveys most first world countries today, the same applies: the US has never been so ideologically divided, nor indeed France, Austria, Italy, Greece, Poland, Spain and even, increasingly, Germany.
Electorates throughout the West are beset at the moment by top-down negativity. They can agree that much of the political system is in dire need of reform, but beyond that there is no united alliance or “front” against the steady loss of democracy and freedoms from which the citizenry suffer. Indeed, the latest poll conducted in Britain suggests that only 46% are in any way aware of what’s happening, and probably under 30% view the process as a problem. (It is however worth noting that – in the case of media bias and censorship – over 80% of EU citizens now say they “don’t trust” what they read, see or hear via the “old” media)
Equally, there is a growing sense of hopelessness (among the roughly half of all citizens aware of their loss of influence over government) that it is pointless to protest, “because it never makes any difference, they just do what they want anyway”.
I have been blogging now (at first as Notbornyesterday and then as TheSlog) since 2003. During those fifteen years, I have consistently argued that any new political “Party” that is formed will inevitably join The Establishment sooner or later. I have supported protest movements like Waspi, 2020, anti-Care Home abuse and so forth over that time; I have also been anti-Brussels since around 2000, and anti-Globalism since 1978. But there is no Party in either local or national government that is anywhere near what I would like to see happen, because in one way or another they are all hidebound by ideology and backwards-looking outlook. (The only exception is the revamped SDP, which of late has taken communitarian ideas to its breast. But that is a very new development, and as yet I am nowhere near endorsing them.)
More than ever now, I feel that top-down revolutionary reform is not the way to tackle things. First, the Establishments will attack any organisation like that with all the illiberal powers at their disposal…….and others you wouldn’t even want to think about. Second, the organisations themselves are often either illiberal racists or thinly disguised Stalinesque Communists anyway. Third, they nearly always refuse to rule out violence as a means to an end. And finally, the FPTP voting system plus habitual tribalism of core Tory and Labour voters will always make a Parliamentary breakthrough strategy doomed to failure: Labour needed a Liberal alliance in the 1880s, after 1920 the Liberals, SDP and then LibDems failed one by one. In thirty years, UKIP has never elected a from scratch candidate to the Westminster Parliament.
The only thing that could succeed, for the time being, is the creation of means by which the positive effect of Bottom-Up organisation and tactical muscle can change both the culture as a whole, and the sense among the élites that they can happily ignore us with no ill-effects whatsoever.
Towards a facilitation Platform
This part could so easily decline into Geekspeak, so for those who prefer plain English, here’s what I’m talking about: a central hub or portal where those in society engaged in change by example can link up with other organisations for more critical mass, or purely to swap ideas and compare experiences.
Many organisations working on extra-political cultural change already exist – some people in Britain call it ‘bridging’ – but I am unaware of any online platform where, for a minimal fee to cover overheads, they can make contact with others, get news about the sector as a whole, use techniques with proven efficacy and so forth.
Online, some balancing factors are moving forward to counteract Establishment power already. Lone bloggers are, slowly but surely, giving way to alternative news and popular philosophy sites. But I suspect it is only a matter of time before ‘national security’ and the two-speed internet dilute or even remove their power. There is no humbug too disgustingly sugary for the controllers up top.
My simple point is this: we can’t win a battle involving head-on collisions with the élites. From bitter personal experience, I can tell you that the dark forces and their political whores will censor, lie, ban and if necessary bury anyone who looks like being effective. After fifteen years, I am firmly of the opinion that coordinated culture-building and the creation of nimble groups among “real” people – often entirely apolitical – is more likely to triumph in the end.
Perhaps the simplest and most ironic reason for this is that the Establishment will, by and large, ignore the changes being wrought by the citizenry until it’s too late.
Over the last week, I have been looking into the organisation involved in creating such a platform. It is considerable, and would (even initially) involve a dedicated team of net-savvy, organisational, financial and writing staff. At the age of seventy, I lack the time, skills, network and energy to put together and run such a thing; in particular, I am engaged in changing my personal circumstances at present – a task likely to take up much of my time for the next few months at least.
I would be happy, however, to hear from anyone who has had the same idea, or is already involved in such activities….and more than happy to write about their progress over time. The address as always is email@example.com.
As for The Slog, that too will have to change – probably radically – in order to reach a wider audience and attract some crowd-funding. But that’s in the Too Difficult to Solve file at the minute. There will be more news in due course.
Thank you for persevering with this post. Enjoy your weekend.
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