The reappearance of democracy's third 'barking dog'

Energized by a strong showing in the local elections, the contemptible outfit that goes by the name of the Liberal Democrats is also expected to perform well in the upcoming European elections, writes Christopher Goff.

The last time democracy's third 'barking dog' made an appearance is when, under the leadership of Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with the Conservatives. That was in 2010. Clegg served as its Deputy Prime Minister until 2015, and then for another two years as an MP before losing his Sheffield Hallam seat to Labour in 2017. Interestingly, Clegg is now a California-based, head honcho for Facebook. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if he were the person overseeing the closing down of all the right-wing channels as part of the company's well-publicized act of corporate Stalinism.

One of the Liberal Democrats' flagship policies for the 2010 general election was their pledge to scrap higher education tuition fees, something that was said to have attracted the party the votes of lots of young people. Their pledge, however, was dropped in the manner of a proverbial hot potato soon after the election as a pre-condition of the Lib Dems entering into government with the Conservatives. In a letter sent to his fellow MPs at the time, Clegg told of how he had "struggled endlessly" with the issue and how abandoning the pledge would be "one of the most difficult decisions of my political career". In 2012, he eventually apologized, only not for breaking his party's pledge, but for having apparently "made a promise we weren't absolutely sure we could deliver". True words of a democrat if ever there were!

Go back a little further and the Liberal Democrats also enjoyed a measure of success under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown. An unremarkable man, history seems to remember him for just two things: his 'beyond the realms of normal' agitation for Britain's involvement in the war in the former Yugoslavia, a place where Britain had absolutely no strategic interest, and also his romantic liaisons with his secretary, something which at the time earned him the nickname of 'Paddy Pantsdown'. He even continued his warmongering into retirement, saying in August 2013 of a vote in the House of Commons against military action in Syria: "In 50 years trying to serve my country I have never felt so depressed/ashamed. Britain's answer to the Syrian horrors? None of our business!" The sanctimonious Ashdown felt it was the prerogative of Britain to interfere not only in places and countries where we had no right to, but also in places and countries where it was not remotely in our interest to do so – just like a certain Tony Blair.

The Liberal Democrats of today are avowedly anti-Brexit. Paradoxically, they are on one hand a party which enjoys the support of people you would normally describe as 'advocates for democracy', but on the other hand the Lib Dems believe they are justified in ignoring the will of the people of this country on the matter of our continued membership of the European Union, as expressed through a national referendum no less.

In defence of their anti-Brexit position, Lib Dem MPs can be heard to say, 'But my constituents voted Remain'. This, of course, being a deceitful way of thinking for it totally ignores the fact that in the case of a national referendum the constituency is the whole of the country and not just some poncey part of West London or middle-class swathe of Somerset. While Labour's opposition to Brexit is veiled, the Lib Dems have come up with the sublimely crass 'Bollocks to Brexit' slogan, something which sticks two fingers up at the democratic ideal one thinks that Lib Dem supporters might ordinarly hold in high regard. But hey, whatever suits them and at whatever time.

The Liberal Democrats are evidently the party of hypocrisy. They've become expert proponents of the art of political transvestism, where they stand for not much in particular but most things in general, and where they chase the votes of naïve and awkward types like a terrapin might stalk baby ducklings on the surface of a muddy pond. The Lib Dems are opportunist feeders swimming around in the foul waters of politics, and their policies often amount to nothing more than vote-catching gimmicks.

'We'll give every child a hot school meal' was one such gimmick, the implementation of which turned into a huge farce after Government officials discovered that lots of schools lacked suitable kitchen facilities for the preparation of hot meals. Nonetheless, the idea of giving every child a hot school meal became a holy grail for the Liberal Democrats during their partnership with the Conservatives, sometimes even at the expense of more important policy matters. Forget about the world economic downturn, cuts in police numbers, the lack of affordable housing or the crisis in the NHS … the Lib Dem policy objective of 'Kids must be able to have a hot meal at dinnertime' was pursued with religious zeal. In a similar vein, you will not be surprised to learn that Lib Dems are, by and large, supporters of the legalization of cannabis, a policy idea based on nothing more it seems than the possibility of this stance attracting the party some votes in exactly the same way that they hoped their school meal policy would.

But, guess what? There are actually people out there who view voting for the third 'barking dog' of British politics in terms of an act of rebellion. Yes, I kid you not. Only I suppose therein lies the usefulness of the third 'barking dog' of British politics for it can at times act as a safe repository for protest votes. And this because mainstream politics is the preserve of people with painfully small and limited horizons; people who cannot see beyond the bounds of the miniscule world in which they live; and people who really do believe the Labour Party's 'socialism', the Conservative Party's 'conservatism' and the Liberal Democrats' 'social democracy' to be genuinely competing ideologies.

Both Britain's politicians and its political parties are like marionettes, to be paraded before the people at the appointed hour and then withdrawn from the stage once they have served their purpose, and from time to time to be replaced by other performers. And so it follows that the supposedly 'new' policies of today are usually nothing more than the re-packaged, dressed-up and failed policies of yesterday.

Britain's is an oligarchic government which operates in a purely nominal framework of democratic institutions and procedures. Far from these institutions and procedures serving the people, they operate in favour of an oligarchy which has at every twist and turn of recent and not-so-recent history worked against the interests of the ordinary folk of this country. It is an oligarchy which has at its core the betrayal of nation and people. And if anyone wants to see an example of the practical functioning of this oligarchy they will find none better than the relentless promotion – by all of Britain's main political parties – of multiculturalism, notwithstanding that is the existence amongst ordinary folk of a groundswell of opposition to the mass migration of non-Europeans to the UK that has been there since the very earliest beginnings of the phenomenon.

What we have in Britain today is only the illusion of democracy. A fraud. A deceit. A deception. Rather than mainstream political parties representing a means to an end, like political parties ought to, they operate merely as ends in themselves. And no matter which 'barking dog' is in power, nothing actually changes.

Copyright © Christopher Goff
Tag: Politics
Uploaded: 17 May, 2019.