The Years of Culture Begin In Earnest
December 2014 I named 2014/15 as the Year of Culture.
In that piece I described the first signs of a rise of social/political blocs based not on economic rationale, (the ‘traditional argument’ about the production and division of wealth), but on sub national groupings I characterised as cultural constituencies.
I described examples of Cultural Constituencies around the world, including the Scottish National Party in the British Isles. I predicted that the recent referendum for Scottish independence (although it ended in defeat), was far from the end of this cultural dynamic and that the rise of the Scottish National Party would inevitably have an effect on British polity.
So much has been proven to be the case, but the results of the recent British General Election offer more insight into cultural constituencies.
Against every prediction and poll that preceded the election, the Conservative party managed to obtain an outright majority in the House of Parliament. This means that they can implement a political program without the need for coalition.
In contrast their Liberal Democrat coalition partners saw support in the country collapse. This was another cause for some surprise. After all the logic goes, if the Conservatives get credit for the past five years, why do Liberal Democrats get condemnation for exactly the same program?
The Labour Party, despite the anticipation (at least on the ‘left’) that their campaign would take flight, stalled in mid air and then nose dived straight into the airstrip. Again, everyone professed surprise. Not me though.
From U.S.E. November 12 2014:
‘Ed Miliband is being slowly skinned alive by the press in England. Every day there is a fresh story detailing Millibands latest fall in the polls and warning of the terminal damage he is doing to Labours chances of getting elected next time. It’s not only the press pack who are on Milibands tail. It seems that an ever larger group of his own MP’s are openly briefing against him as well. So what is the cause of all this dissension and hostility?
….Ed Miliband refused to go along with the stitch up on Syria last year. ….That makes him downright dangerous.’
I made it clear that the question of Ed Millibands ‘fitness’ to be prime minister was decided there and then. The press and political insiders continued their campaign of vilification. The result was inevitable.
But this alone wouldn’t explain the story of how Labour busted out in their traditional heartland of Scotland- reduced to just one seat! The Scottish response to Milliband was an exact mirror image of the English response. Whatever the English liked about Milliband, the Scots detested and visa versa.
This in turn has provoked an intense battle to interpret the meaning of the election result -just as the meaning of the referendum is still contested long after the result was supposed to be sealed and delivered.
The key to this struggle is Gaelic identity (characterised in Saxon media as ‘dangerous’ and ‘destructive’ ‘nationalism’), against Saxon identity. It seems that every Saxon pundit has been mobilised across the territory to destroy the very idea of an alternative to the Saxon mindset in these islands. This is especially true of the so called Saxon ‘left’. It looks like a national media wartime mobilisation reminiscent of EuroMaidan Kiev.
The more strategic elements of this Saxon Maidan are now looking down the road of federated agreement between Scotland and England and the creation of an exclusively English parliament. Two key elements that work in tandem with this new arrangement are:
Abandonment of the European Convention on Human Rights and its replacement with a Saxon Bill of Rights and
Redrawing the electoral boundaries within England, making it virtually impossible for the Labour Party to ever win an outright majority again.
In the midst of all this domestic constitutional upheaval, more conflict is set to crystallise around the promised referendum on EU membership. The Saxon Maidan could quickly start to look like a northern SYRIZA fighting against the continental Germans.
With this rather more sober perspective on a Conservative victory, it starts to look like success for the Conservatives might prove to be something of a poison chalice. So why were mainstream Conservative Party hacks willing to bid themselves into a potentially perilous and marginalised position?
The answer can be found in the fate of failed party leaders Ed Milliband of the Labour Party, and Nick Clegg leader of Liberal democrats.
Consider the striking image of three main party leaders at the Cenotaph for the VE DAY celebrations, two of them political dead men walking (their resignations were already common knowledge). This is a graphic illustration of the danger of failure in this febrile contemporary political atmosphere. Political ghosts at a political funeral. And the system and the position of its major actors is even more brittle than appears on the surface.
The cost of political failure has gone up considerably because the analysis underpinning individual politicians is no longer trusted. In the Good Old Days there were a couple of alternative approaches to politics based on economic rationale. You were either in favour of redistribution or you were not etc.
Individual politicians might be challenged, but the ideas behind individuals were sacrosanct. It was simply a matter of finding individual politicians to represent the idea. But now Ideas are to be discarded along with the people who came up with them. Because these ideas don’t represent economic rationale which is universal but cultural constituency which is specific. The politician no longer REPRESENTS the universal ideal, the politician IS the cultural specific.
Once you understand this, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and David Cameron and Jean Marie Le Pen and Vladimir Putin all start to make a very clear kind of sense.
There can be no doubt that this VE day marks the end of an era. For the first time since the end of WWII ‘western’ leaders refused to turn up for the Victory Parade in Moscow. The message here is unmistakable. Another major piece of the international post war settlement is broken off, dead and gone. But this is an indicator of something even more profound. Just and the international post war consensus is over, so the domestic post war consensus is finished also.
Which brings us to the Conservative surprise victory and in particular the size of their majority which exceeded even revised exit poll estimates produced on election night.
The difference between what the Conservatives were predicted to get and what they actually got can entirely be accounted for by accommodation to the Saxon cultural constituency. Lets look at the Conservative Party program in terms of characteristics of a Cultural constituency as I have described them:
They make permanent rather than transitory demands
Conservatives are committed to:
- Permanent reduction in the size of the state and welfare.
- Permanent budget surplus
- Privatising the National Health Service
- Redrawing electoral boundaries to permanently advantage their constituency
- Withdrawing from the European bill of Rights and creating an Anglo Saxon Bill of Rights
- Substantially renegotiating the terms of the European Union Agreement with, and
- Possibly leaving the European Union.
Willing to compromise on periphery, completely unwilling to compromise on core; creating new spheres and forums for co-operation, even international organisations that encompass Cultural Constituencies. But less and less willing to negotiate with their own national governments.
Conservatives are floating the idea of federalisation with Scotland, this will cause consternation throughout the old guard of the establishment.
In addition to this innovation, as part of ongoing negotiations with the EU they will try to form a bloc of nations to enhance their bargaining power. This will confound the commentariat in the press.
The Conservatives can reach an accommodation with the SNP but NOT with the BBC and the British Medical Association and the Guardian and so on. What commentators don’t understand yet is that cultural constituencies are all about settling internal scores, in some sense externalities are almost an irrelevance.
So initially it might seem a little odd to think of a Conservative administration in conflict with ‘government’, after all they are supposed to be the government. But the conflict is between Saxon cultural constituency and the British establishment the ‘deep’ state and the post war settlement. As I explain cultural constituencies are:
Condemned by the post war establishment; Pundits and politicians of the post WWII order are not going to like these groups. And they are going to act against them.
And the key cultural characteristic of the Conservative majority is perhaps most tellingly:
Economic demands secondary or irrelevant.
Profound realignment of politics within constituencies; Less and less will traditional areas of contention and politics operate within cultural constituencies. The members will tend to see what they have in common over what they have in difference.
The Saxon cultural constituency is an economic disaster for working class people. It will achieve for the material well being of English society as a whole what the Kiev government has achieved for the majority of Ukrainians.
The Conservative party is run by a cabal of elite public school educated multi- millionaires that express the material interests of a tiny minority of English society. This observation is not seriously challenged by anyone within the English media. The gulf between the political elite and the hoi polloi is summed up by the incident in which David Cameron forgot which football team he supposedly ‘supported’!
The bizarre dislocation between fact and fantasy illustrated by Camerons gaffe went largely unremarked because now there is an unspoken agreement among the Saxons. There really is a conspiracy here! No more dissent within the ranks of the Saxon cultural constituency.
The fact that Poroshenko is a billionaire and represents the interests of an economic elite makes no difference to the Ukraine Maidan. Just as ‘Economics’ makes no difference for Maidan Ukraine, ‘Economics’ will make no difference for Maidan UKraine.
At a fundamental level, what is striking about the Conservative cultural constituency agenda is the extent to which it exactly mirrors the program of Monetarist Tony Blairs New Labour program. This illustrates the intimate relationship between Monetarism and Cultural constituencies. As I explain here:
So here is the American/Saxon dream as summed up by Tony Blair*
‘The centre ground is as much a state of mind (!!!!-AP), as a set of policies. It means that we appreciate that in today’s world many of the solutions will cross traditional boundaries of left and right. (ref cultural constituencies). We need not just to be comfortable with this; but actively to seek out the alliances to embrace those outside our tribe as well as within it.’ (ref cultural constituencies)
‘We win when we understand the way the world is changing and make sense of how those changes can be shaped for the good of the people.’(by which he means Saxons ref cultural constituencies.)
Here Blair plays the role of a slightly noisier ghost of Banquo with some evident relish. But who can blame him, after all:
“blood will have blood”,
which encapsulates cultural constituencies to a tee.
Yikes! That was quick..
Tories go to war with the BBC
David Cameron, infuriated by the corporation’s election coverage, appoints BBC critic John Whittingdale to “sort out the BBC” ahead of the royal charter review next year
Chukka Ummuna widely seen as the heir apparent to the ‘Modernising’ wing of the Labour Party threw his hat into the leadership contest and then…er took it out again. Now why would that be I wonder?
The politician no longer REPRESENTS the universal ideal, the politician IS the cultural specific.