In today’s Britain, there’s a disturbing trend of unpopular policies being foisted upon the public. It’s as if the elite is turning a blind eye to public opinion, says Allister Heath in the Telegraph. It’s time for politicians to start listening to the voters before things get out of hand. Here’s an excerpt:
Britain’s deranged war on cars, our looming ban on gas boilers, the de-banking scandal, the failure to prosecute crime, the attempted cancellation of women, the sabotage of the Brexit agenda, the scale of migration: welcome to anti-democratic Britain, where the beleaguered majority is increasingly subject to the whims of an entitled, activist elite that often seems to despise the people over which it exercises so much power.
All the policies listed above share a devastating commonality: they are deeply unpopular, and would be crushed in a referendum after a fair campaign, were the politicians courageous enough to grant the public a say (in the case of Brexit, they did, of course, and continue to this day to resist implementing the revolutionary change implied by the vote).
In a truly majoritarian society, one where the demos actually exercised kratos, no form of crime would be tolerated, and certainly not burglaries or muggings. Nobody would dare to indoctrinate school children with extreme trans ideology, and the green agenda would be centred around urgent technological innovation rather than seeking to prevent working people from flying to holidays in the sun.
Yet we live in a very different political reality, one in which public opinion is flagrantly disregarded whenever it doesn’t align with the views of the ruling class. Westminster has become cartelised: the large parties are committed to an unrealistic dash to Net Zero, refuse to discuss the gargantuan cost involved, and omit to mention that Britain’s carbon emissions are about 3% of China’s. On the great subjects of our time – family policy, the size of the state, the NHS and even planning rules – there is little difference between Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MPs, disenfranchising millions.
The intellectual conformity is stultifying, and has been reinforced by the emergence of an all-powerful Blob, the nexus of mandarins, policy advisers, quangocrats and other government agents, a class of “public servants” who don’t really like the public and are increasingly convinced that they have a constitutional duty to constrain and contain elected politicians. They are experts at delay, prevarication and lawfare, and are cheered on by the Left-wing activists who have taken over the legal profession, our cultural institutions, academia, charities and even many big companies.
Thus even in the rare instances when the Tories attempt to think the unthinkable and respond to public opinion, as with the Channel crossings, the system does its best to block any change, empowered by quasi-constitutional legislation such as the Equality Act, the Climate Change Act and our membership of the ECHR.
The upshot is an extraordinary disempowerment of the electorate: is it any wonder that some voters fear we risk becoming a democracy in name only? Take the absurd war on cars: a tiny minority of activists, council planners, devolved administrations and ministers are seeking to discourage the mode of transport that the vast majority of the population relies on. Or consider immigration, which is a lot higher than the public would like: all potential solutions to reduce numbers while preserving the economy are lambasted as gimmicks, meaningless or self-evidently stupid. The Tories have promised to cut numbers in every single one of their manifestos since at least the 1990s, and yet aren’t even pretending to try any longer. How does this not disastrously undermine trust in politicians?
Worth reading in full.