The dithering, vacillation and obfuscation of the Prime Minister as she tries to keep her party together is a sight to behold. Remainers and right-wing Brexiters are engaged in a tug-of-was with Mrs May birling in the centre, pulling first the rope on one side, then on the other. But her clumsy footwork in her kitten-heeled shoes only ensures that she gets thoroughly tangled in the rope and ends flailing on the ground, arms waving, legs cycling, pleading with her audience in the EU stalls to give in and let her have her way, otherwise the whole clanjamfry will collapse and they could have to start again. Perhaps with another leader, perhaps with another party.
They of course are stifling laughs and guffaws behind their hands, aware that the fankle is putting the UK on a direct course for a hard Brexit, yet at the same time feeling some sympathy for the hapless Mrs May, caught between a vice and a grape press.
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In her parliamentary, and parliamentary committee performances, and on television Mrs May looks to all the world like an incompetent performer, not on top of her brief, merely programmed to repeat a given number of phrases whether relevant or not, whether answering the question or not.
Yet behind all this bluff and bluster, looking like someone drowning or suffocating in a vortex of her own making, there is a niggling question of whether this charade is being acted out on purpose, if for no other reason than that it seems inconceivable that a UK Prime Minister could be so staggeringly incompetent.
At the beginning of the Brexit negotiations May’s stock phrase was “No deal is better than a bad deal”. It was repeated ad nauseam until she eventually moved on to another equally opaque phrase. At the time the expectation was that there would be a deal, though it may take time to achieve. But no sane commentator expected the foot-dragging, the chaining and padlocking themselves to the UK railings approach displayed by the Tory Government. The EU made their position eminently clear from the outset, a position signed up to by all twenty seven other members.
Mrs May has laid down red lines, refusing to cross or move them, whilst not accepting that the EU also has it red lines, accepted by 27 governments. A deal was there to be done but the UK seemed strangely reluctant to even talk about a deal, or listen to what EU negotiators were telling them. There was that famous photo taken on the first day of negotiations when David Davis and his team sat at one side of the table without one piece of paper in front of them, whilst the EU side sat behind piles of documents and reams of paper. It certainly looked as if only one side was serious.
In recent weeks, the no deal phrase has come back into use along with blame being heaped on the EU for being intransigent, unbending in their opposition to what they think Mrs May and her cohorts want, though they remain unsure exactly what this is. Is this beginning to look like a no deal strategy? She can say she has worked hard to negotiate a deal (albeit with the warring factions of her own party rather than the EU) but the EU has refused to budge. The EU is fast becoming a whipping boy to conveniently blame when the effects of a hard Brexit make themselves felt on the citizens of the UK. The message is already being dripped out. It’s all the fault of those nasty foreigners across the Channel.
Industrial scale job losses
Now it looks as if we are indeed headed for a no deal. But no deal might be eminently worse than we anticipate, might mean more than a massive hit to the UK economy, job losses on an industrial scale, businesses going to the wall and a huge hike in those living in poverty and those just managing with a struggle. No deal might well be the signal for the end of democracy as we have known it for over a hundred years.
A few days ago I read a piece on Richard Murphy’s blog about Donald Trump, Is the incompetence of May and Trump deliberate?
Murphy writes about a rudderless UK, May’s determination to use every change of direction and manipulative ploy to stay in power and keep her party together. He compares her with Trump, just back from a summit with Putin in Finland, and forced into an admission that he had ‘misspoken’, uttered the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’ when talking of the comment he made about Putin and his own intelligence agencies.
Set aside Trump and May’s avid use of expediency, their lack of principles, their incompetence – after all these accusations can be levelled against many in power whether in politics or business. Imagine for a minute their aim was in fact to disrupt democracy, do away with it as we know it. Rubbish! Fantasy, you might say. But it has happened in other countries, even some in the EU like Poland and Hungary, and some might even add Spain, in the light of their treatment of the Catalans.
Murphy goes on to say, “The two party systems of the US and UK have always been vulnerable. Suppose they fall? And suppose the fall is already in planned progress?”
Murphy then wonders whether, “ The possibility that the process of democratic failure in the UK is much further advanced than I had thought possible is one that I have to, at least, consider possible. The time has come when it would be negligent not to do so.”
With such dire thoughts ping-ponging around my mind I came across a tweet referring to a sequence of propositions in a book co-written by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, father of the ERG stalwart Jacob.
1) The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.
2) The rise of the internet, and the advent of cryptocurrencies, will make it impossible for governments to intervene in private transactions and to tax incomes, thereby liberating individuals from the political protection racket of democracy.
3) The state will consequently become obsolete as a political entity.
4) Out of this wreckage will emerge a new global dispensation, in which a “cognitive elite” will rise to power and influence, as a class of sovereign individuals “commanding vastly greater resources” who will no longer be subject to the power of nation-states and will redesign governments to suit their ends.
Cult of the billionaires, ‘the sovereign individual
Davidson and Rees-Mogg’s book has been described as “an obscure libertarian manifesto.” The Sovereign
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