Democracy = fool's gold

Our democratically elected politicians seem more interested in working against, rather than in favour of the wishes and interests of the people who vote for them, writes Christopher Goff.

In the 2016 referendum on our continued membership of the European Union, some 17.4 million people voted for the United Kingdom to leave the supra-national organization. A figure not to be sneezed at, you might think.

Britain's heart was never in the European Union in quite the same way as that of some of our European counterparts, like especially deeply Eurocentric France and Germany. Instead, Britain has always more closely identified with the Anglosphere, and so has been a country more inclined, both historically and in a more recent timescale, to look further afield than just to mainland Europe in its search for trading partners and strategic allies. Add to that the problem of uncontrolled low-skilled migration, our loss of sovereignty and general loathing of EU bureaucrats, and for many the case for leaving the EU was a pretty compelling one.

But what of those claims that exiting the EU is not actually in our interest? While those who say that leaving the EU will 'make Britain poorer' certainly have a point, I would remind these people that only a tiny proportion of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU did so thinking that Britain would have a brighter economic future outside of the supra-national bloc. In other words, the 'Britain will be poorer outside of the EU' claim is somewhat besides the point.

Politicians only think they know best. As if winning an election and then taking an oath confers great, all-knowing wisdom. Those politicians who think that Brexit will make the country poorer might have no more knowledge of macroeconomics than you or I, but because they have been elected as an MP their utterances take on extra meaning. Under a system of democracy the words of elected politicians often carry more clout than they deserve, sometimes even dangerously so.

And where are we now on the issue of Brexit? While on the one hand the British people voted by a clear majority to leave the EU, there is at the moment not the possibility of a consensus amongst politicians being reached in favour of any type of leave deal. In addition, there is the nagging problem of those Remain MPs whose sole 'contribution' to the Brexit process has been one of trying to prevent Brexit from happening. Brexit has become a damning indictment of British democracy since we are now left in the situation where a large chunk of the political class is actively conspiring against the will of the people. And as things stand there is a high chance of Brexit not happening at all.

But I am not surprised that Brexit has come to this, and this because I am no believer in democracy. I came to the conclusion long ago that democracy is a hollow concept. Fool's gold. Something which can on one day mean one thing, but on another day something entirely different. Democracy is merely dictatorship in disguise. In fact, today's democracy is an even more insidious form of dictatorship than the nuts and bolts type of days past, and this because new style, velvet-gloved dictatorships are more heavily reliant on cunning and deceit for their smooth running.

And what better example of what I mean by democracy on one day meaning one thing but on another day something else than the ripping-up by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, of age-old parliamentary rules in order to allow the passing of an amendment tabled by Tory arch-Remainer Dominic Grieve which forces the government to come up with a Brexit Plan B within just three days of the defeat of Theresa May's proposed deal? A tactic, which I am told, provides Remainers with greater opportunity to try and prevent Brexit from happening. In response to criticism of his decision, a decision I would add that was reportedly taken against the advice of the Clerk of the Commons, Bercow said that he was "not setting himself up against the government, but championing the rights of the House of Commons". But what of the will of the people, one might ask?

If Brexit has been good for one thing, it has been in helping to expose democracy as the fraud that it patently is. The Great Brexit Swindle – as this episode in our history might one day be known if Remainers get their way – will set a new benchmark for democracy. A new benchmark of deceit which will by some considerable margin surpass the previous one set by Tony Blair after he successfully hoodwinked parliament into supporting the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq after claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. In a 'Tony Blair kind of way' you can make democracy anything you want it to be and dupe the people into thinking anything you want them to: 'Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction', 'Brexit will be a catastrophe', 'Hitler will invade Britain next'. Had there have been time for the holding of a referendum in the period immediately prior to the beginning of the Gulf War I doubt Britain would ever have invaded Iraq, just as Britain may not have made the monumental mistake of entering into war against National Socialist Germany had a referendum been held prior to the outbreak of that which has since become known as the Second World War.

Democracy takes away from ordinary people the process of decision-making and instead gives it to cliques, cabals, factions, those with ulterior motives, members of the political class, liberal elites and other vested interests. But we are a parliamentary democracy, some might say. Yes, but such a reality does not preclude the holding of referenda every once in a while, and especially referenda relating to highly important national issues like our continued membership of the European Union. While 'government by referenda' would be a wholly impracticable proposition, a system where greater decision-making ability was invested in a single person, or in a much smaller group of people than at present, would provide greater immunization against 'vested interests'. Such an arrangement might also mean that things actually get done.

Our political leaders view us in terms of people whom they can fool and deceive. This being something which has led me to think that Britain has in some ways become a modern-day version of the Weimar Republic – a democracy without democrats, a democracy in name alone. And does anyone need reminding of what happened to the Weimar Republic?

Copyright © Christopher Goff
Tag: Brexit
Uploaded: 19 January, 2019.