The movement against democratic change is gathering momentum.
1. We have just seen a lying campaign against the Alternative Vote, in which it was claimed that it was all too complicated and expensive and would result in (name of political party the audience is expected to dislike) getting more seats in future. The result was not an overwhelming vote against, but an understandably apathetic reaction to well-stirred muddy waters: 67.9% of a 41% turnout is, in effect, 28% for the Noes. How the abstaining 59% – and many of that 67.9% – would have voted had they been fairly informed, who knows? But it was the Daily Mail (among others) wot won it, with front pages like this one:
2. Half-jocularly, Ted Kopple in the Washington Post advocates ditching democracy. This, in America.
3. In last week’s Spectator, Ross Clark explains why it’s a bad idea to let local people decide local planning issues.
I have just read a book by the late, and I am beginning to think great, Sir James Goldsmith, namely “The Trap” (1993). (By the way, he was one of the few to call the 1987 crash correctly, selling his holdings on the Paris Bourse that summer. That, I think, was the first shifting of the tectonic plate and the quakes haven’t finished yet.)
Mais revenons à nos moutons. Goldsmith, who started and funded the Referendum Party to claw back some democracy from the EU (I shall always treasure his treatment of David Mellor), has this to say (p. 184) about the arrogance of the Enlightenment:
Enlightenment liberals today believe that if the world consists exclusively of democratic states there will be no war. Therefore, the corollary must also be true: radically different regimes cannot coexist in harmony. That is how Enlightenment thinkers have concluded that worldwide cultural homogenization is a precondition of peace. It follows that any community which resists the absorption or destruction of its culture by the West is a threat to peace.
Of course, tyranny begins at home, so no wonder some countries had to vote and vote again on ever-closer union until they agreed with the sea-green incorruptibles. But that doesn’t stop the managerial West tidying up the Middle East as well. How odd that democracy is aggressively promoted abroad, and suppressed, subverted and suborned at home.
Confusion, apathy, a servile (and self-important) Press and commentariat, plus the vigorous encouragement of self-intoxication and cultural trash among the people are all useful tools in the construction of the Great Tower. The Scots may eventually, through a plebiscite, express the settled will of their people to undo the Union, but assuredly the people of Britain will never be permitted to express their settled will in a clear, radical, in-or-out EU referendum.
It would all be so complicated, and expensive.