At the End of the Day

Louise Mensch, squabbling Congresses, and the rise of extremism

I note that Guido Fawkes is championing Louise Mensch as a brave defender of our freedoms. If you go to the MP’s twitter thread, you’ll also note that other boobies are showering her with praise. She’s clearly enjoying the fan mail.

Ms Mensch’s bravery so far in the Hackgate saga can be summarised as follows: she made two accusations under the safe umbrella of Parliamentary privilege; they were both wrong; her consequent apology to Piers Morgan has given him an annoying reprieve; and she fobbed off an alleged blackmailer by admitting to the accusations anyway.

I want if I may to focus for a para on the last of these courageous acts. First off, none of the accusations were serious. Dancing with some obscure personage while inebriated isn’t a capital offence yet. Second, there is no address on the ‘blackmail’ letter. It has no printed letterheading. It is amateurish in the extreme. My suspicion is that it is at best a prank, and at worst a fake. The latter alternative would beg the question, ‘Who faked it and why?’ Either way, in dismissing it, Louise Mensch has shown all the bravery of a battle-dress squaddie swatting a fly.

Over in the US, the Democrats blame the Republicans, and the Republicans blame the Democrats. The Left tars the Right with risking higher interest rates that will wipe out what the Americans call their middle class; the Right says debt reduction has to start somewhere – and only by sticking to its guns can that start right now.

Back over here again, Hackgate is quickly degenerating into a purely Party political issue. After a week in which the only thing the Guardian has highlighted about Piers Morgan is Louise Mensch’s apology to him, we now look forward to another week in which Tom Watson is hungry for new scalps….provided they don’t work for left-wing newspapers. Tom is a good bloke with a dry sense of humour, and a penetrating style of interrogation. But he doesn’t want to investigate either Tom Baldwin’s exceedingly murky past – or the incompetently corrupt Mirror Group management under which (it is now clear) Piers Morgan got up to lots of things on a par with his close mates Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson of News International.

What do all these apparently random news developments have in common?

Quite a few things actually, but above all:

1. Blind partisanship and hypocrisy.

2. Showboating and grandstanding.

3. Scant regard for the ramifications for the ordinary citizen.

4. No interest at all in arriving at an objective truth.

“Ah yes,” we all observe, nodding with more than a hint of tiredness at the end of the day, “That’s politicians for you”.

For Western political ‘leaders’ in 2011 – be they Italian, Australian, German, British or American – the missing ingredient is easy to summarise: honesty about reality. They are, all of them, like fee-seeking consultants arguing the case for medicatory or surgical intervention, while the patient dies of a congenital condition.

I call again and again for Accountable Leadership and Radical Reality. But what we get is unaccountable blame-storming and backwards-looking fantasy.

Now there is a lot more to my thesis tonight than rhetoric. My original discipline was political history, and since 2006 I have been using the Weimar Republic analogy. That is, I have been saying for five years that despised, democratically elected buffoons can be very quickly replaced by authoritarian leaders. In 2006, I was dismissed as an alarmist crank – but not today.

Consider the parallels with 1930: a global economic mess, a widely distrusted political class, minorities offering an outlet for anger, and a media set continuing to behave in a manner so irresponsible, it almost seems to be begging for neo-authoritarian regulation.

Take dear old Boris ‘Harmless Really’ Johnson. He started off calling Hackgate ‘a load of left-wing bollocks’, but now his enormous weight has been added to the already creaking anti-media bandwagon. As a rabble-rouser, he has the capacity to lay into Islamics and Bankers in one fell swoop. Thus, his appeal can be both National (Muslims) and Socialist (Bankers). Even worse, both of those groups has behaved in a staggeringly insensitive manner.

National. Socialist. Nazional Sozialismus. Nazi.

Don’t get me wrong: nobody is more critical of the Matthew Goodwin-to-Peter Hain axis of invented ‘Nazi’ enemies than I. But BoJo could do all the things he needs to do to take charge in Britain – the ambition to do which obviously consumes him – and look nothing like Hitler or his SA, SS or any other parts of the 1930s paraphernalia. History won’t repeat – there will be no torchlit rallies and jackbooted goose-stepping – but as Twain remarked, history rhymes.

Or take dear old Harriet ‘Obviously Bonkers’ Harman. She has an even more clever rhyming strategy…..a limp-wristed, spineless pillock as the front-man for her own brand of fascist correctness. In fact, she can do exactly what Josef Djugashvili did: demonise both police and right-wing press as the allies of greedy bankers; and put forward the case for a Caring (Nanny) EU State as the antidote to globalist free-market Friedmanite drivel. Again, all of her potential targets currently display the sensitivity of a Chinese policeman in Tibet.

Socialism in One Country (1931) followed by repelling the foreign Nazi hordes (1941). Stalinism.

It really doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing a corrupt and weak democratic regime or a smug, insouciant Tsarist State. When nobody in authority displays the slightest sign of having an answer to the problems faced by that society – beyond taking a bribe – then the door is wide-open to the opportunist power freaks. Add to this a general populace in the UK sinfully ignorant of history’s lessons (and woefully fed bread-and-circus dumbness) and you arrive at Plato’s greatest nightmare: the uninformed, distracted electorate.

We already display in Britain (and the US for that matter) all the signs of an extreme culture that cannot compromise about anything, preferring instead to stick with dated beliefs based on bad science. Examples of this are as eclectic as, on the one hand, a free-market model insisting that everyone must look after themselves – a thought in complete denial of the certainty of becoming old and frail; or the insistence by media contractors that lasting talent can emerge from risible talent shows that are nothing but a vehicle for the cruel egotism of people like Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan – an idea unable to grasp that no great star today graduated from this school for scoundrels.

The growing awareness that tabloid ‘concern’ and television ‘reality’ are both of entirely bogus manufacture is a healthy sign. But the revelation that Westminster is devoid of ideas, research, ethics and solutions is, while welcome, an incredibly dangerous threat to our liberties. We no longer have an erudite electorate capable of understanding either the importance or responsibilities of liberal democracy. Given the careering truck of global fiscal disaster heading our way, the chances of that liberal democratic ideal surviving look depressingly slim.

I’m sure Louise Mensch is a well-meaning person. Unfortunately, she personifies what’s wrong with the people who stand for election in our country: that is, Ms Mensch is a half-baked, badly-briefed lightweight more interested in her own media profile than effective governance. Her interventions are nothing more than spanners thrown in the works of cultural management.

Such are the people swept away by revolutions than could never happen here.

21 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. John, I am so full of admiration for your erudition and couldn’t possibly match your ability to reply in such an articulate manner. However, I agree with your comments about Louise Mensch and thought that the whole episode was an exercise in self-promotion, proper research and quoting accurate facts didn’t really come into it and she just ended up making a fool of herself. Her overall achievement was garnering cheap headlines for a few days in the press. Dorothy Parker will be birling in her grave. I was disappointed in Tom Watson’s defending her and hope he isn’t being nobbled, but I continue to admire Chris Bryant and hope he continues to squirrel away in the background. He deserves more recognition. Why don’t you and he join forces and form an Independent party.

  2. Many people today including self look at the current and changing lot of morons in the establishment with amused contempt and follow their own agenda regardless.

  3. I am in a quandary ! I cannot decide whether I want these fools to get the come uppance they deserve via the (what I believe is approaching) mass revolt or revolution type process and subsequent ‘reign of terror’ which would likely ensue (because the political/banking/elite ‘class’ deserve this). Or for Rip van Camerloot to spring refreshed out of his coma and actually start tending to the national catastrophy through which he is sleepwalking.
    One thing is for sure, the yah boo sucks, type solutions are not going to do anything other than push the former solution into the fast lane of autobahn UK.
    The crunch is going to come sooner rather than later, even people who have not got a clue what is going on (the devotee’s of the mass entertainment bilge) know this. They just do not comprehend the potential for their lives being totally and utterly degraded and in the end go back to their lobotomy boxes because it is the path of least resistance. In their concern they occassionally turn on the ‘news’ where they are inevitbly fed more uninformed chat show type soma. They are unprepared and uninformed.

    Until they cannot afford their food, and their energy, and their wages (if paid) value an amount equalling £1 1s 6d at todays inflationed away and over taxed prices, the propaganda meister controller will remain their comfort blanket of delusion.

    Like I began – I am in a quandary as to which solution I would prefer now ! I am almost past caring what happens to either the ‘elite’ who should be doing more, or the ‘Solyent Green’ class who follow like sheep on ritalin.

      • I have a feeling somehow that the can will be kicked further down the road ! Thus the eventual global crash will be much harder and harsher when it comes.
        Though when it comes the only way through it will be the destruction of the Global institutions which is likely for the people to be a good thing ! A bit of protectionism is likely to be the only way to force business to act socially and concientously in the search for profit. – In essence – employ in this country or do not sell your goods here !

  4. With a majority of just 176 and an almost certain collapse of Lib Dem votes (mainly going to Labour?) it must be certain that Louise Mensch is a one term MP, unless she is positioning for a better seat come the boundary changes.

    Her purpose can only be to make the right friends for a post Commons career.

  5. After the markets have sorted out this government’s failure to rein in government expenditure,a couple of Libdem departures from the cabinet,and much wailing,perhaps we will have a general election in December.

  6. So called liberalism can indeed morph into a kind of fascism. Harriet Harman and Jacqui Smith are both good examples amongst many others. Let us also not forget David Blunkett, and Ed Balls. Why these people are still given serious airtime after the incredible mess they have left our economy in defies logic. All in the interests of a free press?

    The most benign construct one can put on it, is the old aphorism “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!”.

    The sad reality is you can never over estimate the naievety of The Great British Public (aka by you favourite politician as “hard working families”).

  7. I too believe that a strong man will emerge in the foreseeable future and it will almost certainly be a socialist-fascist who increases the power of the State by dictat and turns us into the proletariat.

    The irony is that we do need a strong man, but one who gets stuck into our bloated & corrupt system of government, takes a machete to Civil Service powers & their obscene pensions, seriously cuts back State employment and brings govt spending back down to earth. Taxpayers’ money released by that would significantly improve the economy.
    I *think* Cameron’s Big Society was intended to tackle this problem, but as we can see it’s not succeeding. It’s not at all clear to me if BoJo would follow that path or reveal that he is another secret fascist.

    • At the risk of being repetitive, try Googling “Sean Gabb Enemy Class”

      http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc047.htm


      …we want the past back in the sense that we want to be free again – free to live as we please without having to explain ourselves to the authorities, and without having to seek permission from them, and without having to hand over much of our income in taxes and fees to pay for the enlarged, supervisory state under which we are now compelled to live. We also want back the sense of place and unforced pride in community that is inseparable from living in a free society.
      That is what we wanted from the Conservative Governments that held office between 1979 and 1997. It was not delivered, and was never really on offer. The Conservatives did not dismantle big government, but saved it by making it more efficient. They did not cut taxes, but stabilised them as a share of national income. They did not stop the policy of cultural demolition, but let it continue with accelerating force. Beyond this, they put our Common Law freedoms through a legislative shredding machine, and tricked us into joining a European superstate. For all their occasional rhetoric, their project had nothing to do with rolling back the frontiers of the State.
      In part, this was because most of the Conservative leaders were not of the right. All they wanted was the smoothly corporate state that they eventually created and then handed to New Labour. In part, though, it was because those few leaders who were of the right had no understanding of the class war waged against them. If they did think about class, they dismissed it as just another failed socialist idea, rather like nationalisation and price controls. But there is nothing specifically socialist about class and class conflict. They are discussed by both conservative and liberal thinkers … and are essential for understanding how societies function. Loosely defined, a class is any group of people who conceive their interests to be different from those of the wider community. In this sense, the Conservatives may have won four general elections, but they still chose to share power with a distinct and nearly always hostile class.
      What I will call the Enemy Class exists in and around the public sector. It comprises the great majority of those administrators, lawyers, experts, educators and media people whose living is connected with the State. Its leading members … articulate and advance the interests of perhaps a million other people, from television producers and heads of executive agencies, down through the university lecturers and social workers and white collar bureaucrats, to the lowest grades of civil servant and local government officer. Add to the list all the racism awareness and anti-aids consultants and the workers in those non-government organisations that receive money and status from or via the State.
      These are the people who really govern the country. They are the ones who decide what statistics to gather and how and when to publish them. They decide what problems can be identified and what solutions can be discussed. They advise on policy and implement policy. Because of their numbers and education and beliefs, and the formal and informal bonds that hold them to each other, and because of their ability and willingness to give and withhold benefits, they set the tone of society. They can require not only external conformity to their will, but can even to some extent shape the public mind so that conformity seems right and natural. They provide the boundaries and language of debate. They define the heretics and schismatics, and arrange for them to be persecuted. They are the Enemy Class by virtue of their legitimising ideologies. While many of these contradict each other, and while some may overlap at their fringes with positions accepted on some parts of the right, they all have in common that they are essentially ideologies of state activism. It is belief in an active, interfering state that justifies the collective power, money and status of the Enemy Class…

      • Thanks, I’m not new to Sean Gibb and from where I stand think he talks a lot of sense and articulates himself very well.

        In the piece you quote he certainly was right on the button w/r/t to the Conservative Govt of 79-97. But there’s one thing I’m not sure he’s right on which is this: “…there is nothing specifically socialist about class and class conflict. They are discussed by both conservative and liberal thinkers …”
        IMO, although the Right talk about class (rarely IME), it is nevertheless a socialist preoccupation and underlies a huge amount of socialist policy and action (in the UK by Old/New Labour, Trade Unions and the uninformed illiterati that support and vote for them). The truth behind so much of it is pure hatred and jealously. And of course, anybody who pays attention soon realises that when Labour talk about ‘equality’ and all the rest of their cute slime, what they really mean is equality for *us* but not for themselves when in power. Hence Mr Blair being one of the first offenders caught abusing the M4 bus lane into London from Heathrow. No wonder it was quickly nicknamed ‘The Party Lane’ by astute observers. The pattern of behaviour under Labour always mirrors the old Soviet Union. In essence, socialist devotion to class and other such nonsense is entirely false …but it has managed to fool the masses for many decades and get them into power, whereby they set about destroying everything in sight and impoverishing the very people they claim to be in government to help.

      • I’d intended to add that Sean Gibb’s analysis of “The Enemy Class” is spot on. I’ve said for years that the whole government machine has long been deeply penetrated by socialists (and increasingly their jackboot colleagues). It hardly matters which political party wins power throught the democratic process, very little changes because it is these unelected/unaccountable/faceless/nameless apparatchiks who really control the levers of power and write the rules. It would take an exceedingly astute and dedicated political overlord to see all this and make changes that really count. Very few achieve any of those things but prefer to focus on 1-2 eye-catching policies to grab the public’s attention in time for the next election.

  8. I believe it was the Romans that said that revolution is only three hot meals away. Volunteers wanted for soup kitchens!

  9. “But he doesn’t want to investigate either Tom Baldwin’s exceedingly murky past – or …”

    What about wishing to deflect attention from the activities of the bunker crew – Brown, Balls, Watson, McBride and Draper? One wonders what information gathering techniques they employed – they can’t have just made it all up all the time!

  10. Well I am going to move the air rifle from the broom cupboard to the loo and buy some anti vermin pellets rather than target ones. I’ll get some extra tins of beans in and set up a catapult in the garden for when the hordes come. I cant bear hordes of revolutionaries ! All waving sticks and reading copies of socialist worker. Wearing Che Guevara t-shirts and wrapping scarves round their faces in case they get identified. I thought they were fighting for strongly held beliefs? why would you not want to show your face and be proud of what you are prepared to break stuff in the name of? I am going to get stuck right in and tweet my outraged indignation to my 14 followers

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