I’ve no doubt Dominic Cummings (or as the hashtag on Twitter goes: #shortcummings) is intelligent, but it seems to me he is an evident sociopath. The means seem to justify the ends.
Thus short termism reigns.
Brexit, even if achieved – deal or no deal – will not of course not be the end, just the end of the beginning.
But Cummings is allegedly ‘out of’ the government after having achieved the leave mandate to exit the EU.
There is a ruthless desire to achieve one thing – and to hell with the consequences – for anyone or anything.
He it was, it seems, the person who was influential in the North East’s rejection of the referendum on a regional assembly. Yet where on earth did that get us?
A narrow focus to achieve one result is pretty easy. Achieving a broader objective is much more difficult.
And, interestingly, it looks as though even his narrow focus on one result is now coming unstuck.
Perhaps Anthony Barnett is right – the power of us can stop this.
Over there [in a demonstration] are two ladies holding a banner that looks as if they made it this morning. It says “OFF WITH HIS HEAD”. They are very peaceful-looking ladies with nice smiles who would be happy to make you a cup of tea. Yet they are holding a bloodthirsty slogan.
This is only possible because of our history. In any other country they could be arrested for incitement to extreme violence. But we all know they are not calling for the return of the death sentence. They are summoning up the spirit of the Levellers – the first modern democrats in the world. Those who before any other society called for political equality. They were women and men who in the epochal, seventeenth-century English of Thomas Rainsborough demanded “that every Man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own Consent to put himself under that Government”.
That is certainly something our current government has no conception of..
Indeed as the article continues:
….consent does not mean government you agree with. It means one that accepts the rules of democracy.
But for me it goes deeper.
For although we have historically been only very recently a democracy that we could understand as such (and I agree that, even now, that is doubtful) we have, historically always accepted petitioning and even in the 1700s these were prevalent.
From the same linked article we learn:
Although not on the same scale or intensity of later mass-petitioning, responsive petitions to parliament in the later Stuart and Hanoverian period performed an essential role to the functioning of the state and acted as its eyes and ears in a locality….
As Paul Langford wrote, if Britain was indeed governed by a landed oligarchy in the eighteenth century, it was a consensus-seeking one, permitting and seeking out a wide variety of non elite opinion and interests.
The current Conservative government doesn’t know much – and, when it choses not to include those outside its own narrow views, it is clear that it does not meet our current democratic requirements, which is remarkable for a ‘modern’ age.