In a withering polemic against the political class Brendan O’Neill points out that 68% of voters did not exercise their franchise on a day when seats across the country were up for grabs in this year’s elections for local councils. As he points out 68% could easily be described as a “vast majority” if applied to a particular candidate – ergo one could say that the vast majority of UK electors decided to go NOTA and vote for None Of The Above.
What the political class (politicians, journalists and academics) might describe as “apathy” O’Neill perceives as a quite justifiable indifference
There’s nothing peculiar about the majority’s refusal to vote. It’s perfectly logical. At a time when the political class is fantastically disconnected from everyday people, when mainstream political debate has been almost wholly colonised by suits and PR people and media darlings, it makes sense for people to deduce: “This has nothing to do with me.”
But it is not only at the ballot box that ordinary folk are manifesting a distaste and disregard for political activity. The political parties, for many years the main engines of popular political engagement, have become professionalized and reconfigured beyond all recognition. Once thriving hubs of local grassroots activity swamping the streets during elections and raising cash between them, and always jealously guarding their own manor against the central party they have withered away into glorified branch offices of the London machine. The big money comes no longer from subscriptions, coffee mornings and jumble sales but from corporate or union donors meeting with party professionals in swish London offices.
The established parties have now become corporations whoring themselves out to special interests and dominated almost entirely by a tiny Oxbridge educated metropolitan elite who segue effortlessly from university to media/academia/political consultancy with little if any experience of real work in office, factory, shop or in any area where they actually have to make business decisions.
Britain is morphing into an oligarchy, with a gaping chasm emerging between the spin-doctored politicians and Twitterati who “do politics” and the man and woman in the street who do not.
But this disconnect cannot survive the dark hours that will certainly overwhelm us when we realise that the vapid word games and pretentious promises with which the political class seek to appease us will stand for nothing as the frightening truth about their financial ineptitude is finally confronted. As usual Mark Steyn points the way.
There’s a famous exchange in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Someone asks Mike Campbell, “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways,” he replies. “Gradually, then suddenly.” We’ve been going through the gradual phase so long, we’re kinda used to it. But it’s coming to an end, and what happens next will be the second way: sudden, and very bad