Dear Nick Cohen – All Politics Is Like This And Always Has Been


It’s perhaps a slightly jaundiced view but there’s much truth in it. And we’re not exactly overjoyed about it either but we don’t think there’s anything new in this:

Party democracy is the enemy of representative democracy. Party democracy stops MPs speaking out against racism and warning of the perils facing their country. Party democracy makes politicians put their members ahead of their constituents. Party democracy makes them flatter coteries of arrogant obsessives. Party democracy is the enemy of conscience and judgment. To borrow a phrase, the party has become the enemy of the people.

Who does your MP represent? Who are they frightened of? You and your neighbours? What creaking haycart brought you and the rest of your yokel friends into town? “Control of politics has passed to unelected and irresponsible members,” says the historian Robert Saunders, one of the best analysts of British democracy’s decay. “Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt needs the support of about 70,000-80,000 Tory members to become prime minister. That’s roughly the size of one parliamentary constituency.”

Politics has always been done by the flapjaws and jackanapes of the society. On the entirely logical basis that politics is the only place where those entirely unencumbered by skill or worth can gain position and power. Sure, the specifics here are about the Tory party, or if we look at Grandpa Death about Labour. But that Caroline Lucas has even a modicum of power in our society is a proof of the same basic contention. The floaters in septic tanks are not, as we know, composed of the most fragrant after all.

Understanding this leads to the only correct stance to have concerning said politics. Sure there are things government must do. Democracy is the only way we’ve got of choosing who manages those things that doesn’t involve bloody revolutions at regime change time. So, we need to have that democracy therefore politics. But it is still and always will be a pretty shitty method of managing anything. Therefore we should and must restrict it to only those times and places where it must, but must, be done. Everything else which can be handled either inside or outside politics should be outside.

Yes, of course politics is dominated by the unworthy. That’s why minarchism.

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