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Cummings condemns England’s political duffers. But our problems are structural | Owen Jones




reCummings’ latest disturbing statements should not be treated as revelation, but rather as corroborating evidence of what should, in a functioning democracy, be treated as Britain’s gravest peacetime scandal. A prime minister sent tens of thousands of his own citizens to premature graves because he valued other considerations more than human life.

We knew Boris Johnson had resisted the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies requests for a nationwide lockdown in September, even though Johnson’s former senior adviser now fleshed out the PM’s reasoning: that most of the dying were 80 years old, including disproportionate political loyalty to the Conservative Party was rewarded by its leader who did not care whether they lived or died. It was already clear that the Johnsons administration wanted Covid to sweep the country because they briefed privileged journalists that collective immunity was their official strategy more than 17 months ago. Britain has a more severe death-per-million population than the United States in part because Johnson alongside Rishi Sunak, whose reputation Cummings sought to whitewash, wanted to put the economy first on life, and ended up devastating both.

But what about a democracy incapable of preventing a humanitarian catastrophe of such a totally preventable scale? One of Cummings’ main frustrations is that he is such a convenient pantomime villain, clearly savoring his notoriety, that he allows Liberals to believe that Britain’s problems are not systemic, but the consequence of degenerate leaders lacking in knowledge. ‘honesty and integrity. Consciously or not, this is an audience Cummings is playing when he repeatedly points out Johnson’s inability to hold political office, even admitting to MPs that he shouldn’t have been in the center of power either. If only the truth-telling public-minded leaders ran the show, many liberals conclude, then Britain’s supposed age of decency could be restored. We could all experience the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics even more.

It’s a logic that has been taken to its extreme by Brexit, in which much of the political center has merged an abandonment of Occams’ razor that the simplest explanations are most likely with conspiratorial thinking. Britain’s break with the European Union was so blatantly an act of self-harm and an affront to liberal values ​​which had remained intact regardless of who held political office, that it should simply be treated as illegitimate: an absurd failure in the matrix won by Machiavellian means the bickering (between Cummings), Facebook algorithms and foreign interference. More obvious explanations for the poisoned role of right-wing oligarch-owned media for decades and the festering disillusionment of ex-industrial communities that were long ripe for exploitation have been largely dismissed.

In his interview with BBC Laura Kuenssberg last night, Cummings smirked when asked about the deception of Turkey’s impending EU membership, which was a deliberate attempt by the Vote Leave campaign to exploit anti-Muslim bigotry : but it only worked because this acceptable racism has long been fueled by newspapers ranging from broadsheet like the Times to tabloids like the Sun.

The belief in the substitution of the ignoble for the honorable finds its apogee in Sir Keir Starmer; Yet many who see him as the antidote to Johnson’s machinations openly demand that he reject the promises he made to Labor members to preserve the radical domestic policies of the Corbyn era. In other words, to commit deception: which, in fact, has already happened, leading to a membership collapse this has brought the opposition party to the brink of bankruptcy, despite unsuccessful attempts to woo wealthy donors who, anyway, expect clout for their money, further corrupting our strongly cautioned democracy. .

One source of dismay is Cummings ‘admission that he and a like-minded network considered plotting to oust Johnson days after the Tories’ landslide victory in 2019. The unelected and irresponsible manipulate our precious democracy like a chess board that God forbid! Is this really new in a country where media moguls shamelessly use their empires to secure their political ends, and where Tory MPs tell reporters their desire to cut taxes is driven by financing of rich donors to the City?

While it is indeed true that elite factions, be it the Vote Leave cabal or the Carrie Johnson court, can easily manipulate our democracy, our beef should not be with the players but rather with the game. t is not a country where the people are supposed to be sovereign, a title literally bestowed on an unelected monarch. Our leaders love to brag about our mother of all parliaments, but our democracy lacks a true democratic culture. Over half a century ago, the political essayist Perry Anderson remarked that Britain’s endless systemic crisis was due to the nature of the state. Like, say, France, we had a revolution, but a revolution so premature that we claim it never happened in the 17th century, and many of our institutions have remained preserved in the aspic of that time.

Things are changing, of course. See the rise of the City, how money wields power with various levers, from donations to political parties, lobbying, the revolving door, various PR agencies, and how Thatcherism brought centers to heel. alternative powers, including unions and local government. But archaic power structures can easily be manipulated, even when there is a split among our ruling elites, which happened throughout the Brexit drama when Johnson and Cummings shamelessly used the powers bestowed by our dictatorship elected to ensure their ends.

It is not pointed out enough that the calamities of the Covid and Brexit era could have been avoided had there been a fair calculation of our democratic failures after the war in Iraq. Even the very mention of Iraq causes black looks and whispers of oh, move on, often from individuals cursing Brexit on their deathbed in the decades to come, as some see a crisis in trade. British and liberal values ​​is seen as far more important than the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Arabs.

But how did a clique around Tony Blair and the intelligence agencies drag this country into a war deemed illegal by the UN Secretary General, all in the wake of a far-right US administration under a false pretext, and suffered no consequences? The only resignations came from opponents on the Labor front, as well as top BBC officials, constantly hampering our public broadcaster as a way to hold the government to account. Thirteen years after the invasion, the Chilcot investigation yielded modest accountability, but it ultimately did not have lasting consequences. Our establishment takes care of its own. And if our political elites could get away with the hell of Iraq, they could actually get away with anything as Covid and the various Brexit debacles have pointed out.

So what is the legacy of Cummings’ latest intervention? It is likely to be nothing more than another slap in the arm for the liberal illusion that Britain’s troubles are the consequences of decisions made by wicked men. Rather than a compelling alternative vision that would actually transform a broken democracy, all that is needed is the appearance of integrity and honesty by real, rational and competent, however illusory, public officials. From Iraq to Brexit to Covid nothing is learned, just more illusions, and so this country will stumble from unnecessary disaster to self-inflicted calamity, seemingly forever more.




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