The Failure of Democracy
The British Head of State is not de facto Head of State. During a period of just over 200 years, firstly, the Parliament usurped the ultimate authority of governance. Secondly the parties took control of the country. Belloc correctly pointed out that ‘the front benches’ of both sides represented government, that is, cabinet plus opposition ‘shadow’ cabinet ruled in see-saw. This meant that in turn party had ceded to elite rule. Thirdly that balance of a bi-polar committee was eroded quite swiftly into a transfer from cabinet rule to prime ministerial authority. Initially the socialist Harold Wilson and later the monetarist Margaret Thatcher stripped Cabinet of both power and voice. The end result was achieved by the mentally insecure and inexperienced Blair. He called himself by the diminutive ‘Tony’ to mask his authoritarian policy.
The socialist party leader had failed in an election because judged hysterical and untrustworthy. The next leader died of alcoholism. The third in line was the flashy lawyer, Blair, backed by a formidable and viciously republican advocate wife.
He transferred the responsibility for civic order from the people’s police to the secret police. He abolished the House of Lords, guardian of Parliament against factionalism, and also protector of civic rights.
In the shortest time Habeas Corpus was rescinded. Right to trial after arrest. Right to remain silent. Right to severely limited detention.
This soon resulted in the authorisation of torture, granted by Thatcher, being followed up by rendition.
Here was a Prime Minister, emotionally unstable and unfit for governance who suddenly fell under the spell of the needed father-figure, the US President. It was the role not the man he needed to legitimise his own inadequacy.
He declared war quite unilaterally.
The Cabinet did not want it.
The Party did not want it.
The Parliament did not want it.
The Nation did not want it.
Democracy had become dictatorship.
For a detailed analysis, or perhaps more appropriately, for a blow-by-blow description of the failure of democracy I refer you to Peter Oborne’s magisterial Opus: ‘The Triumph of the Political Class’. Oborne holds the political class itself responsible for the acquiescence in dictatorship.
He says: “The Political Class has won its battle to control Britain. The civil service, Parliament, the political parties, the judiciary, the intelligence services and the media have all been captured or compromised. In an unannounced takeover of power, the public domain has been seized by the Political Class.” He demonstrated how: “Their key weapon was the media.”
The current financial crisis – itself a linked disintegration with the collapse of democracy – actually opens up a creative possibility – renewed discourse which may lead to a re-structuring of the instruments and institution of governance.
Brown, now in name Prime Minister, as Chancellor must be identified as author of the financial debacle in Britain. He cannot blame a handful of unpaid mortgages in low-income American housing. He de-nationalised the Bank of England. Today as Premier he is forced to re-nationalise a whole raft of banking institutions. This is the end-game of a capitalism, he, as a socialist, has and does defend.
With a rhetoric of not surrendering national sovereignty to Europe, he and Blair lashed the British lifeboat to the American Titanic. Well, it is going down now.
We must look to a new situation which by historical logic should result in the restoration of monarchic power with limiting and guiding Councils.
Oborne concludes that, “The next movement will come from outside the Political Class.”
I say it will come from a re-instated Monarch supported by the cohesive, coherent, and moral body of Britain’s Muslim society.
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