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Friday, 4 May 2012

Democracy and Legitimacy

I have been two weeks off line, as I moved home and took stock of my personal assets and liabilities. I come back to active intellectual life on the day when it is confirmed that a Chinese investment operation has bought Weetabix. The assets involved in that purchase are a modern factory in Leicestershire, Middle England, and a product range based on what [as a four-year-old] I called 'little haystacks': these are woven parcels of cereal which are usually taken with milk as a breakfast food in lieu of bread, which used to be the staple morning diet of the labouring classes. I cannot conceive the Chinese replacing their traditional regional breakfasts with this bizarre concept of 'cereals', so I do not think that the investor wants to own the brand for introduction to China.  This business yields a steady return with is largely recession-proof. Thus owning it is an access point for cash income not dissimilar to public utilities in Britain that are now mostly owned by foreign investors [a recent example being the purchase of 8% of Thames Water's holding company by another Chinese investor]. Successive British governments have destroyed industry and disposed of utilities to owners who understand the value of access to captive consumers. Thus the relatively simple story of Weetabix is a perfect example of how sensible foreigners strip the cupboard bare of available assets while the British state ignores material realities.

The state is run by politicians, who play stupid electoral games which enable them to ignore the horrible truth. As two-thirds of the British electorate was determining not to vote in local authority elections [held yesterday] the Members of the House of Commons were treated to an almost-Hitlerian outburst of apparently-genuine rage by the Prime Minister, who had been summoned to defend his personal integrity in the House when he had wanted to engage in pompous speechifying in the run-up to the election. His gratuitous rudeness to the 'national treasure', eighty-year-old Denis Skinner, will be remembered long after his daft talk of a 'big society' is forgotten.

No material difference will be made to any of the dozens of boroughs that will pass from the 'control' of other parties [or no party] to Labour 'control': a pompous ex-dissident who became a Labour minister has declared that these result vindicate the leadership of the stumbling Ed Milliband; as if this will affect any substantial policy in the country. And the Prime Minister will not suddenly reconnect with the grass-roots of his party who are totally disillusioned with his coalition policies: if the coalition unravels, he will loose office in the subsequent election; not because Labour carries any confidence but by default in a low poll where many millions will simple vote against the people they despise the most.

In the upcoming French presidential election, there seem to be sharp differences between the candidates: but this is a sham. French policy is dominated by European treaties and by arrangements made under those treaties that cannot be abrogated without disastrous consequences. Immigration is a major issue; but France now has such large alien, alienated 'communities' that they can threaten such severe social and economic destruction that they have an effective veto on policies pursued by any government. The idea that an election victory somehow empowers the winner is absurd, while the participants are constrained by constitutional rules and by the courts.

The model of democracy that is derived from the British Civil War and the French Revolution is past the point of bankruptcy: that is the stark truth to which this blog returns.

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