Does Cummings know about democracy?

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.

 

Comments

  1. Geoff -

    Cummings seems to be the UK’s Bannon and is just as ruthless. He was responsible for the Leave campaign as well as to deliver Brexit, that’s three years on now. Their plan was halted by Gove scuppering Johnson’s chances when May was elected, it was meant to be Johnson.

    I think we will see an increasing use of the populist language now, as witnessed today when he likened himself to Caesar sweeping away those in his way to herald in a new era. Trump did the same thing in his first speech saying this is the beginning of a new millennium.

    I don’t think it matters to Cummings what the policies are of the people who employ him, he likes the game and he likes to win.

    This video of him giving a speech on how he won the leave campaign offers a good insight into the man.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDbRxH9Kiy4&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3jZxipT1mjmhAHUK-lBRj66WnYnoA9e6N_1oEku5tXVy-GZEWKGM_MltA

    1. Peter May -

      I agree entirely. We have people in charge who are entirely unconcerned by democratic process – and Cummings is aged 49! but seems not to have grown up yet…

  2. Elaine Waldron -

    I think Cummings is clever and shrewd in certain ways, yes, but he is not the towering intellectual genius he fancies himself to be. He is rather immature and his writings are like that of a teen rebel without a cause, using lots of big words, priding himself on knowing lots of obscure historical references, but in the end not saying very much and in a very obtuse and confused way.

    I’m not sure he is a sociopath, I think he’s got some sort of personality disorder or some messiah complex dysfunction, whereby he believes he -and only he- has all the answers and he is some sort of visionary hero saving Britain from itself by any means necessary, everything and anything justified because he is doing it. He’s an angry, dangerous nutjob more than a sociopath.

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