This article is doing the rounds among Kippers, some of them known to me. You can tell a lot about a group by what it reads and this is very illuminating. It is an amalgam of left-wing socialist dogma with pesudo-libertarian dogma. It has a certain coherence about it - it's anti-capitalist, anti-corporatist, nativist and very, very BNP circa 2006. A chorus of dog-whistles. It even speaks to *some* of my own feelings (as does most generic propaganda). That's what populism is.
It comes as no surprise Ukip is proving seductive to Spiked Online groupies either. It's an all singing, all dancing crap at the world; a world of bewildering contradiction and complexity. Some of what it says rings true in that corporate media and the think tank sucklings have an unhealthy influence on the national debate, and the likes of KPMG have more say in local government than the people. We are all passengers in a life raft, tossed around in their wake. Any movement for change is rapidly identified and crushed by a process of isolation, fragmentation and smear.
The article speaks of the emptiness of the issue-free election campaign and speaks of a consensus we are all acutely aware of. There is no ideological divide and as this blog has remarked, government is more overlord than servant. We can argue over the specifics til the cows come home but the simple fact of the matter is that they have the power.
One thing we will see after the election is a plethora of recycled verbal material about electoral reform and the need to dismantle First Past The Post. This is something we should definitely not do. For all the evils of the present system it has provided one thing. Continuity. Even through a global economic crash, Britain has remained a first world, functioning economy and has used its influence to prevent the system collapsing. And as much as we might nihilistically say we'd like to see that happen, the consequences would have been awful and in reality, nobody wants that. In the absence of a viable alternative we have to put up with it.
As bad as things are, I cannot imagine anything worse than a populist rise to power. Nothing good can come of it. So it becomes a question of asking ourselves what we really do want and how we go about getting it. And this is why I parted ways with so many of my compatriots. We all know there's something deeply wrong but taking power only to tackle the symptoms does not get to the heart of the issue. And the issue is power. Who has it, and how it is wielded.
The chief issue for me is not that government is too big or too small. It is a question of who it serves. We are seeing a gradual consolidation of government with power increasingly sucked toward the centre, beyond the reach of accountability, with services run for the convenience of government, not the people. The police, the courts and councils are becoming increasingly corporate and serve mainly as a means of collecting revenue while removing any means of redress - when they're not crushing dissent that is. Changes are imposed on us without consultation and without our consent, and this dynamic doesn't change no matter who wins elections.
The likes of Ukip think that replacing the present bunch of councillors and MPs with their people will yield results. It won't. Tweaking policies this way or that is still working inside the same paradigm, and while we could have a smattering of referendums here and elected health boards there, it is simply the installation of more democratic furniture, which is not actually democracy in itself. Police and Crime Commissioners ought to demonstrate that much. In most respects institutions of government have lost touch with what they are for and who they serve.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that so much of what we treat as a domestic issue, is in fact a global concern and is regulated at a global level. Often the reason issues are absent from elections is because changing such policies is no longer within the gift of our own government. But as much as we are keen to blame the EU, simply leaving the EU doesn't change a thing without recognition that the people are sovereign.
That will require a require a revolution in democracy - one which our present framework cannot deliver. The rise and fall of Ukip proves that the establishment has the power to stop insurgencies and party brands can be discredited. I've known this from the outset which is why so many of my predictions have turned out to be correct. A competent Ukip aware of the game it was playing could have made a breakthrough but even then the impact would be limited so long as it is framed along the lines of symptoms and not causes.
It's no use complaining about corporate media bias. Complaining about that reality is as fruitless as complaining about gravity. It is the reality of the mountain we must climb. Playing the political party game is fighting the battle on their chosen ground. Ukip has chosen to court the attention of the media and by living by that sword it shall soon die by that sword.
Thus any movement for change who wants to succeed is going to have to acknowledge the realities of the battle ahead in that there are certain pitfalls and obstacles one simply cannot overcome. It is a heavily fortified Maginot line we must go around rather than hit head on. If we fight them at their own game then we will lose every time. Immigration as an issue is a loser. It didn't work for the BNP and it doesn't work now. The racism card is too strong and the arguments are weak. The negative effects of immigration are felt by too small a constituency and the EU issue fails to inspire.
But one thing I think all of us are agreed on is that democracy is in very poor shape, if indeed it exists at all. That concept can unite left and right and all points between - every class and every tribe. Ironically, one thing we will not get is democracy by voting for it, for democracy means people power - and our voting rituals are the channelling of sentiment into the establishment paradigm.
Thus I take the view that in order to force our government to do as we wish it to, we shall have to deny it power over us, frustrating its efforts wherever it tries. We will have to force it to listen. It is for this reason that after this election, I will actively be encouraging people not to vote and to remove their mandate. Extra-parliamentary action is the only way to achieve change. Parliament is not the repository of democracy, rather it is the guardian of the status quo. The only reason I shall be voting in this election is simply because I want an EU referendum. Leaving the EU is not the solution but it is the first stepping stone.
Many argue that it will be a false referendum and a rigged one. They are probably right. But the truth is, while they have the power, it will only ever be that way. The only free and fair referendum we will get is if a party of government wishing to take us out of the EU holds it. That is never going to happen. Ukip won't do it and whatever rises from the ashes won't do it either. The system is rigged.
Personally, I'm playing to win. I will fight it with everything I have got. We could lose it, and we probably will. What matter is that if we are to lose, we lose well. A rigged referendum will plant it in the public consciousness once and for all that democracy is shot all to hell. From that there is fertile ground to build a real movement for democracy, having the old and stale EU issue buried. It gives a democracy movement a fresh start and a chance to learn the lessons as to why it has failed for thirty years or more.
The EU debate is still framed in decades old dogma and it cannot inspire a democracy movement. It's technocratic, it's stale and it's of a narrow appeal. We need a new vision and a fresh start, and if by happenchance we do actually win an EU referendum then that's great too. But any such movement will have to be a movement based on a grander idea, a positive premise rather than the negative message of Ukip. It will have to be an affirmation of public sovereignty and it must have no leaders. Farage shows just why leader cults fail.
This blog has said from the outset that Ukip is a bed blocker, preventing a real movement getting a foothold. It is for this reason I look forward to watching it slide back into the abyss in May. Ukip is a failed experiment and if there is to be any hope of winning an EU referendum then we need Ukip out of the way, silenced and discredited. Then we can get down to the real business of revolution and raise a real people's army, not a cult of followers.