The unmaking of Britain

This is an interesting article from the former BBC and FT jounalist, Chris Cook, on ex PM Cameron’s book, which is well worth reading (the article that is – not the book!)

It is a pretty excoriating piece on the vacuousness of Cameron – with which sentiment, unsurprisingly, he suggests, Dominic Cummings amongst others, agrees.

The article’s conclusion is I think, worth quoting:

We currently have an even less serious person [Johnson] as prime minister. You can see a recurrence of the disease that afflicted the media under Cameron – treating a lightweight like a statesman. The dignity of office and the size of his majority will imbue banality with solidity. And, given the seriousness of the task ahead, this is a grave danger – especially for a state as weakened as the post-Cameron UK.

Cameron writes, at the start of the book, about being taught by someone who was a student of the “Great Man” school of history – the notion that history is best understood through a chain of biographies of the great men who shaped it. There’s a cruel irony to it for him.

It is a daft way to conceive of history. But in Cameron’s case, it works. Britain is diplomatically weak, suffering anaemic economic growth and underpowered public services. The country may fracture in the coming years; the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland may have had its last general election. The country has little capacity to act, yet is tasked with remaking itself and carving a new strategic posture.

This state of affairs is largely his personal failure.

The last ten, and the next five years look more and more to be shaping up to be the story of how the Tories will have unmade Britain.

And this in a largely vacuous and unplanned way.

They have ignored any duty of care towards the country and its residents that their predecessors might have had.

This has been reciprocated and absorbed by their supporters, who have drunk the individualist potion such that the same duty of care has also been forgotten by most of their voters.

I cannot come to a conclusion other than that they actually do not realise what they are doing.

Comments

  1. Richard Bond -

    I think they know exactly what they are doing and why. They are creating the conditions for a society where only a few people matter and they will all have been to the same schools. – Victorian values. Inside or outside the EU didn’t really matter, it just provided the chaotic cover for a stealth revolution. Remember JRM was happy for the UK to endure 50 years before economic recovery.

    The austerity scam has worked and people now accept the gig economy as the norm, soon to be made worse, according to the Queens Speech. Will the older generation regret what they have forced on their grandchildren? Doubtful that they’ll ever consider the personal is dependent on the political.

    Vacuous Ministers there may well be, but they are beholden to the PM as always and he acts like a stage magician by distraction. The SPADs are now the real power and Cummings is their King, with hire and fire powers completely outside normal controls.

    As others on this blog have said, RoI will not accept NI reunion without a long period of transition, which the current UK govt will not allow. Thus NI will be stuck as a colonial outpost of England for a long while to come.

    In Scotland the SNP have abrogated responsibility for independence
    (https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/12/london-will-never-give-independence-we-must-take-it/) and so will continue as a colony.

    A stealth revolution has taken place recently, but it started with the very purposeful policies of austerity and the hostile environment of Cameron’s govt.

    1. Andrew Dickie -

      The Refeudalisation of Society (see below)

      I have been saying for a decade – maybe longer – that Thatcher’s secret gameplan was the refeudalisation of society into the 1% Barons ( = business leaders and the super rich, who will have ALL the rights – including exemption from taxation – and NONE of the duties), and the 99% with ALL the duties, and NONE of the rights, having to pay for everything that used to be theirs free, as of right

      Thatcher knew this would take a generation to achieve, and she made the first moves by destroying organisations and centres of resistance, such as the Unions, followed by attacks on class solidarity, via e.g the Right To Buy. Phase 2 started in 2010, with attacks on Welfare. Stage 3 is now starting – the creation of an all-powerful executive, unable to be scrutinised. The top 25%age points of the 99%, from 74% to 99% are in for a rude shock when they find Johnson and co. don’t see them as “one of us”. Those below that point have mainly already grasped that point, and STILL some voted Conservative!! Beggars belief.

      1. Richard Bond -

        Andrew – we think along the same lines. I used to work in the Civil Service and the accelerating politicisation of its upper tiers was very marked in the Thatcher, Major and Blair governments.
        SPADs became much more powerful under Blair. I had the misfortune to meet a few and their utter disdain for anything outside their own bubble was crystal clear. I was fortunate to escape before the Cameron years.

    2. Sean Danaher -

      I’m not sure I have Samuel’s bleak assessment of NI’s prospect of joining IE, but think it should not be done without very detailed analysis.

      The worry from the Dublin perspective is more I think the hardline Loyalists and Unionists.

      The NI economy is also in the doldrums the ONS release is pretty grim. https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/bulletins/regionaleconomicactivitybygrossdomesticproductuk/1998to2018#toc

      From https://twitter.com/Ramseconomics/status/1207612025003790336

      Belfast saw its GDP in real terms fall by 0.7% in 2018. The worst performing sub-region in the UK was Mid and East Antrim. It’s economy shrank by a whopping 10% y/y (Remember this council area was home to JTI, Michelin & Wrightbus).

      Zoning in on Mid and East Antrim. The economic growth or rather lack of it are quite shocking. Fasten your seatbelts…
      The 10.1% fall in GDP in 2018 was better than the previous 2 years 2016(-11%) & 2017 (-25%).

      1. Richard Bond -

        Sean – Thanks, that’s some bleak economic prospect in Antrim. It looks like it had an effect in the 2019 elections, DUP -10+%, (unless that was Brexit or demographics).

        We English do like our colonies to pay us for the privilege rather than vice versa. Now that the party formerly known as the Conservative and Unionist party no longer needs the DUP and if it switches its slush funding in gratitude to Northern England, how do you see future election prospects?

        Will the seeming weakening of the Unionist vote make IE less wary?

  2. Sean Danaher -

    Richard

    thanks. The DUP did indeed get a hammering in the GE. Jeffrey Donaldson (tipped for the next leader) had his 19k majority cut to 6k, and Ian Paisley Jn had his 59% vote share cut to 47% in North Antrim.

    It is also true that SF lost vote share, though only one seat, Foyle but gained one North Belfast. It was a good night for the moderates.

    The big event in Jan. is the restoration or otherwise of the NI assembly. Over the past few years, the Tory government have quite blatantly pandered to the DUP in direct violation of the GFA. This has now changed and it also seems that Julian Smith, the new NI Sec. is actually very able – a surprise give the last three were incompotent at best.

    All the parties have come to an agreement apart from the DUP. The agreement has not been made public, but it is very likely that an Irish Language Act (ILA) is the sticking point. The blocking of an ILA is a matter of principle to the Orange Order and UVF (who seem to dictate DUP policy) so it will be very interesting how this plays out.

    If the DUP don’t agree an assembly election will be called and I expect them to loose seats.

    The other major event will be the release of the official RHI scandal report. Likely to be extremely damaging.

    The DUP will I think have to moderate their stance or go into terminal decline. I’m not sure if they are capable of doing so.

    1. Richard Bond -

      Sean – Thanks I’ll watch with interest.

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