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Opinion: Alternatives to The Current Political Order Part 1

The following piece is put forward for readers and friends and we’re sure it will elicit discussion. It is reproduced from the blog titled “Position Reserved” with the kind permission of the author. Thought provoking and challenging, comments are on below, do give your thoughts…

There is widespread discontent across the so-called ‘West’ with the workings of ‘liberal democracy’. This is not a turn from democracy by any means but rather a sense that a political elite, buttressed by media and institutional structures disconnected from the voting population, is unresponsive and incapable of running extremely complex and interconnected societies. It is a crisis of representative democracy when representation no longer accords with public sentiment and the machinery that the representatives are supposed to manage on our behalf is out of their control. The lack of responsiveness is thus two-fold – our representatives have become creatures of a system they no longer fully understand and they have lost the will to represent those who elect them as they wish to be represented.

However, this is not going to be yet another impotent moan from another atomised individual in an impotent population. Such moans are simply ranting expressions of frustration and they generally change nothing. Atomisation means that there are few levers for individuals to exert power over the political process especially where all the institutional structures through which influence might be exerted are equally detached from us through professional bureaucracies and managements with no strategic national or community purpose – and that includes trades unions, churches and, above all, the five established major parties (if we include the Greens and the SNP). In all such cases professionalised bureaucracies and closed elites relate to each other within a similar conforming framework and compete for their own purposes – the survival aims of themselves. 

The only solution – other than an equally impotent strategy of violence such as we saw in the Capitol Hill Riots or the street explosions in France over pensions reform or protests against the placement of illegal immigrants in particular localities regardless of local wishes – is organisation but how do you organise resistance and reform when the agents and institutional structures of those claiming to reform society are themselves part of the problem, themselves embedded in a collapsing and dysfunctional system? One solution is stop thinking in terms of the value of each successive election where Tweedledum is invariably replaced by an equally incompetent Tweedledee and where politics has become a circus in which you cheer on one side only because they appear to be the lesser evil than the other side. The political cycle repeats like a broken national dishwasher where the dishes still come out dirty at the end.

The instinct of many people is just to rant away on social media and think that is politics. Meanwhile the mainstream media paint a distorted picture of reality and then try to undermine what little functionality is left in the system through sustained trivia. Many others are steadily withdrawing from the system in distaste no longer wishing to be complicit in the farce that is contemporary liberal democracy. I did not bother to vote in the recent local elections for that latter reason – my vote was futile since all it allowed me was a choice of four similar representations of dysfunctionality in a system that was already fixed in favour of our local bureaucracy and centralised authority. We are leaning towards the situation under the Soviets where ‘contested’ elections merely meant choosing between paper candidates amenable to current ideological ‘reality’.

I have identified three fundamental flaws in late capitalist liberal democracy and they are not ‘capitalism’ (despite what the Left likes to believe) or ‘the deep state’ as conspiracy (despite what many Right populists want us to believe). They are the corrupting effects of the businesses we call media and higher education, the bureaucratism of a state machinery and institutional structures whose prime purpose is sclerotically to preserve the system rather than transform it and the decadent state of the British political party which is now little more than a brand alternating between factions where the factions have no idea how to run anything effectively and are wholly disconnected from the populations they purport to represent. Much of this combines into the surprisingly large interconnected ‘new elite’ identified by Matthew Goodwin but the problem is even more structural than he implies. This analysis may unfold further in future blog posts but is not the purpose of the current series.

The question to hand is what can be done to counter control of the machinery of government by a failed ‘educated’ but incompetent and narcissistic factionalised elite whilst ensuring that democracy actually exists rather than is just a name used as rhetorical cover for the current playground of activists, lobbyists, managers and political professionals. Time and time again, we come up against the core of the problem that no one will face – Parliament and the way our representatives are chosen and are accountable at the point where legislation is made and the executive and its policies are approved, crutinised and controlled. Above all, it is Parliament that has failed and is failing.

This is not the time to go all ‘liberal nerd’ and come up with weird and wonderful ‘solutions’ based on constitutional tinkering. Citizen’s Assemblies, for example, are just shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic. I would have no problem with FPTP if it delivered competent, tough representatives who could explain reality to the people and yet enforce the wishes of the people within reality on the State. At the moment FPTP is not delivering and it looks as if it cannot deliver because of structural issues related to the nature of the political party, its choice of candidates and its supine approach to the media and its own ideologues. Proportional representation reluctantly becomes a necessity to break the power of the existing powers and let new blood into the decision-making process. Primaries look as if they could remove power from committee cliques manipulated from the centre. AI might be helpful in elucidating what the people want and in political education but none of these solve the essential problem which is a cultural failure that could take decades to reverse and where it may already be too late.

And this is the point. We are now talking about a long game. The 2024 election will be fought over by the usual suspects and whoever wins is going to be dysfunctional and incompetent because the system has been built to be so. Any political programme to restore the nation along democratic lines is a long play involving a deliberate over-turning of the existing form of liberal democracy (notably the parties) and weakening of the power of the current cultural elite and media alongside improved mass political education that by-passes our half-witted and trivialising media caste. This requires the courage to put forward alternative ideas with the aim of shifting cultural and political power away from the existing elite (accepting the dreadful necessity of occasional compromises) in a process that may not bear fruit until 2030 or even 2035 during which period the existing sclerotic and bankrupt elite will have ample opportunity to ‘fix’ the system through regulation, legislation and psychological operations to block change.

So, from where will a peaceful democratic and non-violent revolution emerge (with always the option of street action if the system fixes go over a red line)? The negative observers who say this is not possible must bear in mind that national democrats are in the position of the progenitors of the Chartists in the 1830s, the Labour Movement in the 1880s, the suffragettes in the 1890s and the Greens in the 1970s – and yet all those movements achieved a considerable amount in the subsequent fifty tears. Of course, democracy, the labour movement, feminism and the greens have all horribly degenerated in recent years but all four developments were socially constructive and, no doubt, national democracy would degenerate equally by the end of the century if it succeeded. The point is that national democracy and improved mass political education are needed now and, if a movement eventually create its own nemesis having done its job too well, this is how our species works – it fights for progressive change, the change becomes sclerotic, the sclerosis creates a challenge and the challenge becomes the next progressive change until it too needs replacement. 

In this series, we are going to avoid the nostrums of specific tinkering reform because the point is to get a thousand flowers to bloom, to break the stranglehold of a failed elite (or rather network of interlocking elites) and then to cherry pick the winning combinations for a national democratic revolution that will synthesise what actually serves our nation and population from both the current Left and Right. So let us start with one of the great problematics of our time – the political party.  This is because only the political party, tragically, has the potential organisation and will and approval (through the Electoral Commission) to displace the clowns and comic singers of the five daft parties that we are stuck with.

Of course, we must not be naive. The alternative parties will also have their fair share of clowns and comic singers but our aim is not to change humanity (which will always promote clowns and comic singers to the top of its system out of ignorance and laziness) but to change the system within which humanity expresses itself. We need clowns and comic singers who can actually make us laugh rather than rant like a BBC Radio 4 ‘comedian’ or send tens of thousands into a meat grinder like the President of Ukraine and who can sing the songs the people like to hear. We need to be able to switch them off or get them off the stage quickly if they lack talent. We need, in fact, a creative revolution in politics much as we get such revolutions periodically in popular culture.

So, I decided to analyse all the parties registered by the Electoral Commission (except the plethora of local residents’ associations, the vast bulk of single issue loons who do not understand how politics actually works and the obvious comedic loons who probably do but are just in it for the laughs) and then assess them on just seven broad if controversial grounds:-

1. Their general position on Ukraine/NATO – do they see the dangerous farce that is ‘defence of the West’ and how it is leading us towards penury and possibly war? If there is anything that demonstrates best the sheer incompetence of a ruling elite, it is the conduct of an ideological international relations strategy based on populist sentiment and ignorance about the actual conditions that led to the war in the first place.

2. Do they understand that a strong State is required to control borders and organised crime and that only a strong State will deal with the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century – including mass migration encouraged by weak-minded liberals and greedy business interests and the rise of artificial intelligence? In other words, do they get that a strong state requires the recapture of sovereignty by the people through the recapture of Parliament regardless of liberal ideology.

3. Will they maintain Brexit as an exercise in national self-determination? This is not about Remain or Leave but about democratic respect for the results of the 2016 Referendum and the failure of the bulk of the political class to respect popular democracy and implement the will of the people with systematic determination because that is what the population voted for.

4. Will they challenge the negative stance of our cultural elites to our inherited identities and free choices and maintain the right of all to dissent from prevailing elite ideology? This is important because, holding the levers of power, the existing system is trying to hide its dysfunctional nature behind ever more authoritarian and manipulative measures through ever more intrusive regulation and legislation with the paradoxical and self interested connivance of the mainstream media.

5. Are they committed to building a prosperous ‘one nation’ where public service is fairly rewarded, public services are fairly funded but efficiently run (not for the benefit of the managerial classes) and where the genuinely vulnerable are cared for on the basis of an open and entrepreneurial economy in which, in turn, energy and innovation are rewarded? In other words, do they have a sense of the ‘commonwealth’ which means a necessary war on poverty, ignorance and disadvantage and respect for the working classes and their values as much as the middle class and theirs.

6. Do they understand that resilience and eco-sustainability is a national issue and is being neglected in the rush to signal virtue at a global level with inappropriate extreme business-oriented Net Zero policies? Globalist solutions should be restricted only to the essential as direct state-to-state negotiations rather than be subject to huge and foolish international bureaucratic interventions that take no account of the realities of power in the world – our useless leaders have ended up not with the world government they dreamed of but two armed blocs competing at the expense of the developing world and at the cost of our own peoples.

7. Are they organisationally capable in the long run of displacing our incompetent and increasingly corrupted political class no matter how small and insignificant they may be at the moment?

This series of postings will unfold over the next few weeks and cover as many segments of the political market as follows with as much objectivity as I can muster. The process will be controversial because I am not going to accept common media assessments of the so-called Far Left or Far Right but will investigate their merits and demerits on their own account. When the project is completed (indeed as it progresses) I hope to have provided an eventual short list of candidates for engagement and support ranked in some reasonable order. 

I think we can safely say that the Tories, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the SNP will not be on that list (even if I was Scottish). All five of those parties are ‘busted’ for different reasons – the Tories are provenly inept at almost everything they have touched under successive Prime Ministers, Labour has become a grim exercise in power-grabbing under a second-rate cypher, the Liberal Democrats lied to their student vote over a decade ago and lying is in their constitutional make-up as opportunists, the Greens have turned into neo-conservatives in their desperate play for elite respectability and the SNP, well the SNP … ’nuff said!

There are likely to be perhaps six or seven candidates for engagement, a shopping list or menu if you like, with at least one to suit any particular revolutionary taste – and, eventually, one of these will displace the Tories and one of these will displace Labour and either Labour or the Tories will displace the Liberal Democrats. It may take many decades although perhaps not at the rate required by a country crumbling under the most inept elite since the last days of the Roman Empire. The key takeaway is that it is time for all of us to consider detaching ourselves from the parties we have been told to support for so long as electoral cannon fodder or out of a ridiculous tribal loyalty some of us might better reserve for Arsenal or Aston Villa and find opportunities for new parties that can compete and struggle to transform our nation through transforming the terms on which we, the people ‘do politics’.

3 thoughts on “Opinion: Alternatives to The Current Political Order Part 1

  1. Very well said. I started politics on the Left and now sit, apparently, on the Far Right.
    There really is a need to rewrite the Left-Right political continuum that has had its day and is irrelevant to our current deep crisis. Working people need, but do not have, a political home that can realise a decent future for their class and for wider society. Perhaps a broad movement that embraces politics from surprising angles is the way forward, starting with repudiation of the National Debt and that smashes some idols of traditional socialism.

  2. Mostly in agreement with this but you are completely wrong on Ukraine. They have been invaded by an ultra nationalist and we should be supporting them 100% , not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because if Putin succeeds in this he will be emboldened to invade other countries

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