Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
5 November 2013
Nice to have one’s standpoint confirmed by the great and the good.
Antigone1984 has a lot of trouble convincing people of the soundness of the views it is putting forward.
Our condemnation of the monopoly of political power by differently named but ideologically identical political parties – a system which we have called “partitocracy’’ – is a particularly hard position to sell, even to those you would think were on our side, such as the left-leaning intelligentsia.
Yet about a year ago in Paris we made a bootless attempt to interest the editors of the London-based bimonthly New Left Review in this largely neglected but – in our view – massively significant topic.
Last night we learned that the UK Friends of Le Monde diplomatique – a French monthly whose radical left policies closely resemble those of New Left Review – had turned up their noses at our offer to talk about the concept to their members.
Yet, lo and behold, in the London Guardian this very morning we find a front-page account of the political views of two mega UK celebrities – much-feared TV political inquisitor Jeremy Paxman and big-time media celebrity Russell Brand, a bohemian English comedian, actor, radio host and author – both of whom appear to hold views on the political parties that are not a million miles from our own.
Interviewed by Paxman on television last week, Brand asked him: “Aren’t you bored? Ain’t you been talking to [politicians] year after year, listening to their lies, their nonsense, then it’s this one gets in, that one gets in, but the problem continues?”
Writing in the Radio Times today, Paxman says he understands why Brand has never voted in a UK election.
“Russell Brand has never voted, because he finds the process irrelevant,” writes Paxman. “I can understand that: the whole green-bench pantomime in Westminster looks a remote and self-important echo-chamber…In one recent election, I decided not to vote, because I thought the choice so unappetising.”
Rounding on the three largest UK political parties – the Conservative (Tory) Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party – Paxman is damning about the opportunities on offer when the people of Britain go to the polls to chose their next government in 2015.
“At the next election we shall have a choice between the people [Tories] who’ve given us five years of austerity, the people [Labour] who left us this mess, and the people [Liberal Democrats] who signed public pledges that they wouldn’t raise student fees, and then did so – the most blatant lie in recent political history,” writes Paxman.
“It won’t be a bombshell if very large numbers of the electorate simply don’t bother to vote. People are sick of the tawdry pretences.”
And so say all of us!
It looks as if the dangers of partitocracy are finally becoming apparent to at least some of the country’s movers and shakers.
In an interview with Stephen Moss in the London Guardian on 28 October 2013, veteran UK leftwing militant Tony Benn said:
“How does progress occur?
To begin with, if you come up with a radical idea, it’s ignored.
Then, if you go on, you’re told it’s unrealistic.
Then, if you go on after that, you’re mad.
Then, if you go on saying it, you’re dangerous.
Then, there’s a pause – and you can’t find anyone at the top who doesn’t claim to have been in favour of it in the first place.”
And so we shall push on regardless.
Historical note: The governing rightwing Labour Party lost the 2010 UK parliamentary election, being replaced by an even more rightwing coalition of members of the Tory Party, the senior partner in the alliance, and the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.