SS Westminster heads for black hole
Westminster is fast becoming the political equivalent of an emerging black hole, with the political elite engaged in an increasingly futile struggle to overcome the collapse of their own system into a region where nothing, including light, can escape.
The edge of a black hole is known as the “event horizon”. It marks the point of no return. There is a strong possibility that point has been reached, judging by the mayhem in the mainstream parties, which an astounding opinion poll is bound to reinforce.
A dramatic Guardian/ICM poll reveals a previously unrecorded decline in 30 years of surveys in support for the Tories, Labour and LibDems at the same time. Support has literally drained away at a rapid rate of knots, washing up at the door of the right-wing populist Ukip under Nigel Farage.
Ukip has soared to 18%, while the Tories have plummeted to 28%, Labour to 34% and the LibDems to a miserable 11%. The patent disintegration of mainstream politics has led to a rapid Titanic-like rearranging of deckchairs as the SS Westminster heads for the iceberg.
In a desperate bid to thwart Ukip’s anti-Europe stance and a backbench rebellion, David Cameron is rushing out a draft bill to introduce an in-out EU referendum, even though it has no chance of getting through parliament and could break the Coalition.
Vince Cable is allegedly involved in a dastardly plot to oust Nick Clegg as leader of the LibDems to prevent a wipe-out of MPs at the next election.
Labour is under pressure to sack the under-performing shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who is closely associated with the failed policies of the last Labour government. Ed Miliband is also being told to go down the “Blue Labour” path of being tough on immigration, benefits and spending or face the chop as leader.
The decision of Lord Sainsbury, formerly one of the party’s biggest donors, to stop giving to Labour can only strengthen the Blairite/Blue Labour factions.
The pressure on Miliband will also grow as a result of a report that shows traditional Labour supporters are more and more unsympathetic towards welfare recipients. A big group is saying that individuals are responsible for their own predicament. After more than 15 years of New Labour/ConDem propaganda along these lines, it’s no surprise that social attitudes have shifted.
Ukip have rounded up voters who – rightly – feel powerless and dominated by forces beyond their control. These include the massive, impenetrable European Union bureaucracy, the major corporations and banks and an unresponsive political system at Westminster.
Add into the mix a spurious fear of Rumanians and Bulgarians heading for Britain in their millions, and it’s a heady, dangerous brew that Farage is stirring. Ukip’s trajectory is unpredictable but the emergence of right-wing nationalist politics is succeeding where the fascists of the BNP and other have failed.
Clearly, the response to Ukip cannot be to urge support for the mainstream parties. Labour, for example, is opposed to self-determination for Scotland on the grounds that it would create a permanent Tory majority in England! Hardly the stuff of principle.
Political and economic institutions, including the European Union, are indeed broken and oppressive. Events since the collapse of the financial system in a number of countries demonstrate that a virulent, dangerous, anti-democratic nationalism is making headway against the old order.
There is a real opportunity to pose a revolutionary, democratic alternative to the present state, both here and in the EU. We need to campaign for that right now, not wait until the political system becomes so unstable that dark forces within the state emerge to enforce order. They were ready to do that in the 1970s. Don’t think they are not waiting in the wings now.
14 May 2013