Almost every UK “news” site I go to now seems to have one of those countdown clocks telling us how many hours, minutes, seconds and centuries there are to go until the General Election. Both sides are trying to whip the debate up into being something important. In truth, it is neither important nor engaging, because the real issues are being ignored – certainly, more than in any other election in my lifetime.
Both the Tory and Labour press have stuck to one message each: respectively, these are “Labour are all over the place” and “the Tories are cruel and heartless beasts”. As time has been whittled away – and the Dead Heat result increasingly more certain – the “one last heave” dimension has grown, and the name-calling reached risible hysteria: Labour will spend us into oblivion, the Tories are just trying to engineer a constitutional crisis…and so on, andonandonandon.
Well, the Slog has maintained since its inception that that we face a cultural and constitutional crisis, so perhaps it would be apt if the econo-political situation wound up producing one. Because it really is the Constitutional protection of the citizen that’s at the heart of this election. It’s at the very core of the thing chiefly because all Parties seem blissfully unaware of the threats to our rights….but especially the Old Guard.
The key dangers come from nine areas of contemporary life: corporacratic control of the political process, the rise and rise of Islam, overpopulation, the decline and fall of the European Union, the secessionary desires of the SNP, the appeasement of unrepresentative minorities, the perversion of our due process of Law, the failure of science to get beyond fossil fuel energy….and above all, the chaos in fiscal and banking affairs.
It is my contention this morning that all the Parties involved in the 2015 playground mud-fight are putting largely irrelevant (but urgent) Party needs before the central needs of importance to the British People.
In effect, they are putting politically motivated (but misguided) ‘policies’ before the Constitution. This is, in my book, the ultimate betrayal of the electorate….made possible by the fact that voters themselves are too baffled and dumbed-down to put what’s going on into some form of critique.
The SNP is using the election as a tactical means of getting leverage at Westminster – with a view to secession from the UK. Ukip is using the closeness of the result and disarray in the eurozone to further its case for secession from the EU. The LibDems are marshalling their very capable local machines to ensure that losses are kept to a minimum, and they retain the balance of power. The Labour Party is trying to be everyone’s Lady Bountiful with its ‘six pledges’….and by getting into Government via some form of SNP arrangement. And the Conservative Party wants to rule on its own, the better to serve its corporate multinational masters in commerce and the City.
Just reading those six – I think fair – assessments, the threats seem to me obvious. But I try to summarise all nin below anyway in a bid to put the attack on liberal democracy into the sharpest possible focus.
1. Corporate money and influence in politics (be it from industrialists, bankers, the TUC, vocal minorities or influential media owners) has been a problem in our system for decades, but the situation is now out of control. The biggest single visitor traffic footfall into the Palace of Westminster now is from monied lobbyists. The Daily Express backs (and helps bankroll) Ukip, the Guardian and Mirror back Labour, and in particular the Unite-driven TUC candidate of the Harman-Dromey faction, Ed Miliband. The Daily Mail backs the Tory Right, the Times backs Tories that don’t like Cameron, while the Daily Telegraph backs banks that pay them money – and their candidate, Boris Johnson.
All of these obvious links represent a threat to Parliamentary sovereignty, and openly influence what politicians say and do.
2. Islam is rapidly becoming a subject nobody dare discuss without being called an anti-multicultural racist. It is nevertheless probably the biggest single issue where MPs are hopelessly out of touch with voter concerns, and idiotically unwilling to accept the dangers that have come with previous, thoughtless policies. In turn, Thatcher, Blair and now Cameron have enthusiastically embraced the trigger-happy attempts of the US to tick off pretty much every Islamic schism abroad, and then appease the reflection of them at home. Miliband’s latest vow to “outlaw Islamaphobia” strikes most thinking people as a law to put Islam above the law…and a naïve response to Islamic “community leaders” constantly demanding more power for them – and less toleration of any other viewpoint.
3. Still largely uncontrolled immigration is often viewed as just another aspect of Islamic extremism in Britain. In fact, Jihadists are totally unrepresentative of most Muslim attitudes; the problem here is that ‘fellow-travelling’ by many especially young UK Islamics, and the (until recently) neglect of obvious radicalisation centres, allowed the problem to increase hugely between 2005 and 2012. But a much larger and, in the long term, more important issue to do with immigration involves three vital matters: local authority resources, housing pressures, and our ability to grow enough food in Britain.
Far too few UK commentators take enough notice of our obvious inability to be self-sufficient now. Endless excuses are used as a smokescreen put up to hide the failures of wishfully unthinking fluffies with regard to migration control: we need more trained workers, multiculturalism “is good”, the numbers are not that big, we make a net gain, we must do as the EU says and so forth. They’re all risible in ignoring ancillary knock-on effects: but ultimately, the problem is one of trade deficit.
Our import bill for food is horrendous…and the more houses we build, the worse the land-availability gets.
4. The European Union remains the huge elephant in the British room. It’s been covered endlessly elsewhere at The Slog, but suffice to say – again – it is an unaudited, gangster-fascist, anti-liberty and economically dead trading partner with perhaps the most incompetent fiscal control mechanisms in State history. Yet every Party except Ukip wants to embrace it – Labour by being “more at the centre” and the Tories by “reforming from the inside”. Both myths have been shown up as such during the course of the Election.
Take these 3rd and 4th points together, and the threat to our continued existence as an independent State – and the Rule of Law – is obvious. If we can’t pay our way and we can’t feed ourselves, then malign external influences will take advantage of that….as indeed they already are doing.
5. The secessionary ambitions of the SNP (a) don’t reflect either the last referendum result or (b) the feelings of the Scottish majority today. In turn, (c) they are not backed by any balanced view of Scotland’s economic future, and (d) they will produce destabilised currency and market roiling we need like a hole in the head – while (e) producing the possibility of a hostile State north of the border that’s in the EU when we aren’t.
Again, the threat is obvious and compelling. But above all, gaining what they want by interfering in English politics makes the Scottish case a potential pariah among the English and Welsh.
6. Appeasing unrepresentative minorities has been the spineless policy of the Westminster-Metropolitan bubble going back to the early 1970s, but it seems to me increasingly obvious that more pressing socio-economic issues – and the encouragement of the vocal – is heading rapidly towards a backlash. Both major Parties have been guilty of this in former times, but Labour is, sadly, by far the worst offender on the contemporary scene. I say ‘sadly’, because the UK Liberal-Left axis has suffered a serious plot-loss in recent years – almost to the point where they need to get back to it, and/or change their name completely. Those forgotten folks currently labouring under the most right-wing Conservative corporatism since Thatcher (both here and in the EU) really do not care a fig for the concerns of transgender citizens, extreme feminism or Islamaphobia: like me, they want to know when majority rights being hammered into the ground by the EU and the Tory Party are going to be tackled head-on…and the welfare system offer them some hope rather than a hard time week in week out.
Of course the Labour leadership wants better benefits, more job security for the poor, and a better future for ordinary Brits. But they (especially Miliband) show no real guts in taking on the economic/bourse/banking model – and the EU diktat-machine – that have landed us in a terrifyingly weak position. The words are there, but the fire isn’t. I’m aware of the cruel and mendacious attacks on Ed Miliband from Dacre, Murdoch and the Barclays; but I’m afraid that, in reality, he does not engage easily with mass-market voters, while Ed Balls (like his original mentor Gordon Brown) makes even the simplest ideas too dense to follow.
7. For me, easily the most dangerous immediate threat to our freedoms is the rape of our legal rights since the 1990s. While this is often referred to as “creeping”, the reality is that these attacks are now gushing like a major oil find – and almost all of it from the Commons, or the appallingly named Ministry of Justice.
Some of the stats involved are horrifying: for example, legal instruments that can ignore any and all debates in some cases have doubled under the latest Administration – as they trebled under New Labour. But real, properly considered legislation in a statute has halved under the Coalition. We are in effect now suffering some 14,000 instruments that together represent illiberal and anti-democratic ‘sub-laws’ of much greater force than the Emergency Powers Act passed by Hitler and Goering in 1934 Weimar Germany.
This too is never discussed. But then – given that over-representation of lawyers at Westminster was, last time around, a staggering 8,300% – it wouldn’t be. Also, as a neutral it remains my view that the controlling nature of both the Big Two Parties is driving this trend. One day soon we are going to wake up and find ourselves living in a de facto dictatorship.
8. As a nation – indeed, as a western world – neoliberalism, oil interests and commodity market manipulation have meant a poor level of concerted research into future sources of viable energy. But few people have screwed up the potential more than Britain.
In the 1970s and 1980s, both Labour and Conservative governments ripped through our North Sea oil reserves without giving a moment’s thought to renewable energy. But after 1997, New Labour in general and Ed Miliband in particular went to the opposite extreme and adopted wind power despite the obvious evidence available (and offered to them free) from the Dutch government pointing out its two key disadvantages: unreliability and huge maintenance costs. The Nimby Camerlot regime then compounded the maintenance issue by shifting new wind power offshore (that trebles the after-sales cost) and beginning a ludicrous and woefully ill-informed campaign to frack for oil underneath the British ground…a water-greedy extraction method used on a tiny over-populated island where the water supply is already straining to meet demand, and more and more evidence shows fracking to be a dead-end technology of only short-term usefulness.
If Labour returns to power, no doubt the commitment to wind-power will increase yet again…storing up for future generations Trident-style problems of maintenance….and an approach incapable of coping with Britain’s power demands. On the other hand, if the Conservatives retain power in some form, they will press ahead with Chinese involvement in nuclear power generation – quite the maddest idea any 21st century UK Government has had to date.
The chop-and-change shambolic nature of our energy policy reflects (like our traffic load, fiscal, health and educational planning) the triumph of thinly backed-up ideology and commercial interests over good governance. These areas of government inform my view that many central government functions should be mutualised – and then become matters for more consensus as well as more local power to experiment. To me they represent socio-constitutional national interests that should be above politics and as far away from bourse economics as possible.
9. One of the bigger mammoths in the Election room (in that I cannot now recall hearing it mentioned at any point in the debates and soundbites) is obviously the fiscal-cum-banking liabilities Britain faces. I posted last week about the clarity of just how big the UK’s exposure to eurozone collapse contagion still is, but to widespread indifference. The state of RBS when it comes out, however, is going to evoke anything but apathy. Panic might be closer to the mark.
The obvious threat to our safety as the citizenry here is the deposits we have in banks like Lloyds and RBS….as both Cyprus and the largely hidden Coop Bank scandal have shown. As to the £85,000 protection scheme, I do not think it would be wise to assume any level of financial certainty from that one – whether we have a change of government or not.
Nine things that rarely speak their name, and even less often get debated publicly. It is all part of this new century’s desire to take flight from the real and the unnatural, to seek out new virtual worlds, to believe the palpably discredited – but never to step outside the intellectual and physical position of The Belief Tribe. It explains why we still have Tory v Labour with no truly viable alternative around, why there are so few new ideas around….and most of all, why our Constitutional rights are taking last place behind the big Party machines and their own pernicious donors.
We must, soon, put the British Constitution (and its legally fraternal application) back where it belongs: above any other consideration.