Thursday, October 19, 2006

Matricide

An interim report on political party funding has been released, It offers a number of ways to bail the Labour Party out of enormous mess it has made of its own finances reform the process. The Labour Party's reaction:
Labour chairman Hazel Blears said the party was "absolutely committed to increased transparency and accountability in political party funding".
This is the party whose leader knowingly and deliberately took the decision to circumvent the very transparency rules he introduced. Absolute commitment, my arse.

Blear's statement is a perfect example of the way the Labour Party operates under Blair. They appear to believe that if they endlessly repeat the same words and phrases, those words and phrases will be the truth. And it doesn't seem to matter to them if these statements are utterly fatuous, ridiculous, hypocritical or downright wrong. All that matter is that repetition equals truth.

Yesterday, as well as repeating a completely inaccurate description of the results of the Iraqi elections, Blair yet again conflated a disparate series of problems into one all encompassing evil. He appears not to have any concerns about the fact that many informed observers are asking whether he's a simpleton who doesn't understand the realities of the world he lives in or a mendacious liar who deliberately attempts to mislead the British public. He cares not. All that matter is that the endless repetition of words and phrases equals truth.

The question is, how do you deal with this situation? Clearly, it isn't democracy in any meaningful sense when the Prime Minister and his party are allowed to mislead the electorate on a daily basis without being challenged. What do you call a society in which the ruling party is able to present their own propaganda as the truth and where any dissenters will be shown "no quarter"?

When General Dannatt spoke out about the Iraq war, there were those who rather laughably suggested that it was the beginnings of some sort of coup. For them, the military has a duty to follow orders and keep their mouths shut in all circumstances. The obvious problem with that attitude is summed up in one word: Nuremberg.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that our action in Iraq is directly comparable to the Holocaust.
The point is that the Nuremberg trials established beyond question that members of the armed forces have moral responsibilities which stand above any orders they have been given by their commanders. In the case of Iraq, with the government adopting their "our words are the truth" policy while in the real world British soldiers risk their lives and hundreds of Iraqis die every week, senior civil servants and military personnel surely have a moral duty to speak out.

And that leads us back to the suggestion that General Dannatt was somehow trying to instigate a military coup. Not a credible suggestion, as I said, but an interesting idea nonetheless. I suspect I'm not the only one in this country who thought, perhaps just for a moment, that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea. The army dismisses parliament, introduces a fair voting system (they could use the Labour Party's broken promise on holding a referendum on electoral reform as a further justification), organises and holds new elections and we'll finally have something resembling representative democracy in this country. The very fact that Blair's mandate to subject the U.K. to his semi-dictatorial rule comes from only 22% of voters says everything about the current system.

A military coup might be just what we need. And if Blair complains, we'll just get some squadies to endlessly repeat "we're acting on the express will of the British people" until he is forced to concede that it has become truth.

In reality, this idea is very much tongue in cheek; a military coup to dissolve the mother of parliaments isn't an option. But even though I'm a committed democrat, there's some part of my brain which did genuinely consider the possibility. I strongly suspect I'm not the only one either.

That itself is quite an achievement for the man who once promised to clean up politics.

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6 comments:

Pete in Dunbar said...

"...the man who once promised to clean up politics..."

He was misquoted. He actually said he planned to "clean up in politics".

D-Notice said...

Wanna get tooled up? ;-)

Anonymous said...

No you aren't the only one to consider the possibility. The absurd thing is that our democracy is now preserved by the undemocratic. The lords, the judges, the military, the appointed people of the electoral commission. All of them are the only ones who seem to talk sense and stick up for the British public.

Meanwhile 'our representatives' are mindless automatons who bend to the will and whim of a dictator.

CuriousHamster said...

Pete, that makes a lot of sense. That'll be how he plans to clean up that enormous mortgage of his.

D-notice, the way this government operates, it isn't impossible to imagine that joking about this has got us both on an MI5 watchlist.

*waves to spook*

Tim Neale said...

I never considered a coup for a moment. No matter how bad New Lab is at least we still get to vote now and then. There really can not be any guarantee of that (or anything else) after a coup.

On the brighter side, there is a growing proportion of people who see this shower for what they are.

The emperor is standing stark bollock naked and does not even realise it.

CuriousHamster said...

Tim, it's a good point. I should say that it was only the frustrated, slightly irrational, angry young man part of my brain which considered the possibility.

I try to look on the bright side but I'm not inspired by the probability that the the choice at the next election will be between Cameron and Brown. Brown has made any number of statements recently which suggest he's going to be just as awful as Blair. And Cameron is about as deep as a free hologram in the bottom of a packet of rice crispies.

Nevertheless, as you say, the democratic process is the only way to do anything about it. A hung parliament is probably the best we can hope for at the next G.E. Bloody hard to campaign for that though.