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Nigel Farage is a gameshow king Post-Brexit politics has become reality-TV drama

Get out of there Nige. (Credit: I'm a Celebrity/ITV)

Get out of there Nige. (Credit: I'm a Celebrity/ITV)


November 16, 2023   6 mins

In all the hue and cry over Tory civil war, the scotching of the populist experiment, and — some say — betrayal of a once-vaunted political realignment, the week’s other political bombshell was buried. As 2015’s last great Blairite returns from exile as Foreign Secretary, the man most responsible for his departure is also back — as a villain on reality TV.

Nigel Farage, the most influential British politician never to have served as MP, is the controversial star turn on this year’s I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here!: an appearance that will, reportedly, net him £1.5m. Albeit somewhat muffled by Suella-related screeching, the press is already excitedly feasting: fans will reportedly “boycott” the series, friends worry it will “haunt” him, and haters grumble that the opposite might happen. After all, in the wake of his appearance in the last series, there are now people with a celebrity crush on Matt Hancock.

What may be less obvious, though, is that the latest round of Westminster court drama and reality-TV drama are the same story. And what they reveal is that far from being a failure, the much-hailed post-Brexit realignment has been a roaring success. It’s just not the realignment we wanted.

Since its advent with Big Brother in 2000, modern competitive reality TV has (perhaps unintentionally) existed as ironic comment on the official political process. Just like politics junkies (and in far greater numbers), reality TV enthusiasts follow the contestants’ ups and downs with the utmost devotion, argue over their merits, and cast votes with enthusiasm. The results are watched and debated. Reality TV is now even as dynastic as politics: Bobby Brazier, son of Big Brother’s most notorious superstar, the late Jade Goody, is riding as high in this year’s Strictly as Stephen Kinnock briefly was when elected in 2015.

The other comparison, as has grown increasingly apparent since Big Brother, is less cheerful. The net impact on audience lives of voting for or against Nigel Farage on I’m A Celebrity will be nil, beyond a measure of entertainment and something to discuss with colleagues at work. By contrast, what was the net impact of voting for Brexit, seven years later? Two dominant themes in Brexiteers’ arguments for leaving were: first, a desire to reclaim democratic self-governance from the stultifying effect of EU treaties and the unelected Commission; and second, lower immigration. Did it work? The judges’ scores, as they say on Strictly, are in — no, it didn’t.

After a brief post-Brexit dip, immigration is at its highest level ever. And after a landslide Tory majority in 2019, won for an expressed willingness to follow through on a decision made by British voters, today the second unelected Tory Prime Minister since that Johnson victory now enjoys an EU Commission-like appointee status without even his party’s mandate. This man has, in turn, appointed to his Cabinet an even less-elected Foreign Secretary: a man who isn’t even an MP. I can see how some would conclude that the main difference between voting in an election, and voting for your favourite couple on Strictly, is that the latter will cost you 15p from a BT landline.

Meanwhile, if voting is now largely unrelated to the terrain in which politics happens, what exactly is the nature of that terrain? It’s not a new observation that — with considerable historic help from the Tory Party — what is considered acceptable material for electoral politics is shaped some way upstream of voting, by an insider network of “statutory bodies”, watchdogs, czars, courts and the like. This blends seamlessly into a professionalised, often murkily-funded archipelago of NGOs that propagates guidelines, lobbies for pet causes, and either provides or withholds the moral imprimatur for official electoral politics. And the political outlook of this cadre, which exists in symbiotic relationship with official state institutions, is hostile to every form of Toryism except (at a pinch) the Cameroon variety.

It’s possible, up to a point, to intervene in this ecosystem by forming and funding your own NGOs. But in underwhelming contrast with the American Republican Party, whose institutional artillery is now laser-focused on preparing for a future programme of attack on the US version of this perceived hostile hegemony, the Tory-led “realignment” left its British analogue almost entirely intact. The clear inference is that a majority prefer it that way.  And even accepting that this is now the key battlefield has a grim corollary: that contra optimists’ hopes, especially after 2019, the real political realignment has not been toward democratic accountability, but decisively in the other direction.

Meanwhile, for those without the social or financial table-stakes required to help shape the field of acceptable Westminster discourse — which is to say, ordinary voters — this leaves few avenues for expressing views discordant with the acceptable range of politics, as defined by this unelected consensus-formation machine. But here, too, the realignment we got isn’t the one we hoped for. Some imagined Brexit might usher in a new politics of belonging, with people brought together by love of locality, the givens of our life in common, and a shared effort to improve our social fabric together. Such hopes were, however briefly, raised by Johnson’s promised “levelling-up” agenda.

What we got instead, especially since Covid has tipped us decisively from a print-first to a digital-first culture, has been a radically unequal, deracinated, dematerialised, transnational public discourse of politics as overlapping fandoms. In digital form, such fandoms manifest as political firestorms, “dogpiling” opponents, or pushing pet causes via clicktivism and online petitions. Offline, it coalesces as “phatic protest”: street demonstrations oriented less toward actual policy, than a form of self-expression and group identity-formation.

The results are often jarringly transcultural: for example the protesters mimicking American ones by calling “hands up don’t shoot” at Britain’s police officers during the (transnational) BLM riots, despite the fact that only around 5% of British officers carry guns. The recent, global “Palestine” protests also fit this template, bringing together assorted far-Left and Islamist fandoms in a coalition that seems to presage previously unimaginable forms of transnational neo-polity.

How such pressure groups and seemingly decentralised memetic tides interact with real-world power and money is ambiguous. But one thing these phenomena resoundingly are not is a newly resurgent politics of place. Quite the opposite: if the globalisation of meme-driven street protest signals anything, it’s the ascendancy of a new politics of placelessness: the very phenomenon the Tories’ abortive “realignment” promised to end.

None of this is to say that elected politicians have no power, or that we’re all governed in perpetuity by a shadowy conspiracy. The truth is, as ever, more banal than the conspiracies. The actually existing realignment may be post-democratic, but it is far from being a closed shop. The tendency shown by the now-deposed Suella Braverman to speak and tweet as though already in Opposition implied that the position of Home Secretary did not, in fact, command the level of power over home affairs a naïve outsider might imagine it to afford. Even so, were the role completely toothless it would hardly have been worth anyone’s while to sack her for proposing (or so she argues) to enact actual policies in line with the wishes of Conservative voters.

Nonetheless, her expulsion, as with that of Liz Truss before her, illustrates the fate that awaits those who batter too noisily against the boundaries imposed by the symbiotic civil service and NGO-cracy, the combustible online rent-a-mob, or who knows what other extra-political interests. Where such actors align against a policy, however well-supported it nominally is electorally or by polling, that policy will be strangled at birth. In turn, this leaves no avenues for high-profile dissidents save abandoning “reality” altogether, and leaning into “TV”. That is: embracing a new status as influencers within the digital domain of politics fandom.

We might call this “politainment”, and its stars wield non-trivial levels of power over their political fandoms, much as online influencers in any other type of fandom. Here, too, you can flourish (after a fashion) whether or not you’re an insider. And being obnoxious or notorious is often an advantage. Consider the iconic “Q Shaman”, Jacob Chansley, who made photo headlines across the world after the January 6 Capitol riot. After a stint in jail, he is now, reportedly, running for Congress. This makes sense: the logic of internet celebrity is such that it doesn’t really matter whether the clout you acquire is generated by love or hate — a click is a click.

While Farage has played at the edges of politics since Brexit with his chat show on GB News and Reform party, could he now be garnering the energy needed for a comeback by re-inserting himself into the national consciousness via reality TV? His legions of haters will love watching him eat insects; meanwhile he’ll be on every tabloid front page for weeks on end. Who knows where a re-injection of publicity (not to mention hard cash) will take him. No surprise, then, to find him leaning hard into the collapse of dissident politics into entertainment, by hijacking the Reform Party mailing list to shill for I’m A Celeb votes.

But the flip side of this eruption of influencer politainment is its bleak corollary: the only way to be an insider, with access to real power, is by hewing to an increasingly narrowly defined consensus. The Overton window has been nailed shut.

Instead of rescuing 20th-century style democracy, the realignment buried it. Farage’s move simply attests that what is reported in the press as the political process is more accurately understood as a subset of reality TV, with at best an oblique relation to how decisions are actually taken.

Where Brexiteers dreamed of greater democratic accountability, the tumult their victory set in motion has entrenched financiers and insiders, even as it has made the views of voters ever more obviously irrelevant. And shifts that some hoped would widen the Overton window have produced, instead, a politics in which the only outlet for dissidents is as defanged internet celebrities.

So we got the realignment. It just wasn’t the one we ordered. The urgent project for every disappointed optimist of 2016 and 2019 is now to stop complaining about promises betrayed, drag our eyes from the TV, and lean into post-democratic reality.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Walter Cardew
Walter Cardew
8 months ago

This is why MH is one of the best writers here. I think she’s pretty much nailed it in this article, which is very depressing. My inclination is always to ask “how did WE get here, what role did WE play in all this?” but it really is starting to feel like it makes absolutely no difference what WE (by which I mean us ordinary citizens, or the “silent majority”) do or think. And yet I refuse to believe that that is the whole story. We play a part in shaping the world we live in and have to constantly examine that.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
8 months ago
Reply to  Walter Cardew

Always suspicious about the term ‘silent majority’. Do mean the ones that just agree with you or are can anyone join?

Last edited 8 months ago by Martin Butler
Andrew R
Andrew R
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Like the Left calling everyone who disagrees with them a bigot.

Peter D
Peter D
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

The silent majority are just those who feel that the major parties do not represent them. Which sadly are most people. Democracy has devolved into a choice between picking the least worst party.
As for if you can join, the answer is summed up best in German, and that is simply “Jein” Yes you can “join” but no because there is nothing to join, you just are.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Well there is a simple reason for that, our antiquated voting system. Tories in effect quashed Lib Dem’s attempt to change it.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

I don’t agree it’s our antiquated system, it is capture of the main parties by the same belief system.

Go to other countries like the Netherlands, France, Spain or Israel, where proportional representation produces basically the same results – a government no majority voted for or wanted.

Denmark might be an outlier in this in that their established social democrat party listened to their voters and brought in much stricter immigration controls.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

The “silent majority” are of course neither…

Pamela Booker
Pamela Booker
7 months ago

They are simply unheard!

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
7 months ago

You would choose to silence them whatever.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
7 months ago

That term and the reply date back to Richard Nixon and a speech in 1969 and revived by Trump in 2016. It resulted in three presidential victories and a fourth that was nullified by election theft.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Well, did the actual majority who voted for Brexit get what they thought they were voting for? Less bureaucracy, less immigration, accountable government?
Do the majority who don’t want vast numbers of people literally sailing past the established channels for immigration have any way of stopping that happening?
Are we to assume that the noisiest = the majority, and that a majority of people in this country think destroying statues and defacing monuments to our history is a good thing? That a majority are completely neurotic about racism, can’t tell a man from a woman even in theory, and wish for the destruction of the Middle East’s only democracy?
I think the majority of people know what silent majority means these days.

ed martin
ed martin
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

would ‘mob’ be appropriate?

Pamela Booker
Pamela Booker
7 months ago
Reply to  ed martin

Typical sneering attitude to the majority.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
7 months ago
Reply to  Pamela Booker

I think you would find Ed draws a salary somewhere in the Blob.

chris fox
chris fox
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Cardew

When you say “Silent Majority” are they not just the apathetic?

Walter Cardew
Walter Cardew
7 months ago
Reply to  chris fox

I wasn’t really intending to pass comment on them or why they behave like they do (I had no idea it would prove a contentious part of the comment but obviously need to take more care how I phrase things!) I think some are apathetic, some have given up, some maybe don’t have strong feelings, some may feel that they don’t need to shout about things that seem perfectly normal/common sensical. The point was to contrast them with the big-mouth activists who have become disproportionately influential. As a democrat (not because I think most people are right about stuff, but because it seems the least worst form of government) I think the opinions of citizens should be represented in government, and that trouble ensues when that doesn’t happen.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago

The more centralised the state becomes, and the more wealth it controls, the more parasites it will attract – until the parasites are consuming all the resources and there is nothing left for the rest of us. We will reach this endpoint under Starmer.

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
8 months ago

“The Overton window has been nailed shut.”
Hasn’t it just?
I was struck by this when, on a long car journey back in the UK recently, my companion played the “The rest is politics” podcast, which is apparently quite popular. The appeal seems to be, that here are two chaps from the “reasonable” left and the “reasonable” right being very reasonable, so reasonable, in fact, that they are able to consider the other’s point of view. This isn’t so hard though, when the Overton window is not only nailed shut, but narrowed down as far as possible to let the minimum amount of light required in order to actually qualify as a window.
I think the listeners buy into all of this though. They really do seem to believe that issues such as raising inheritance tax a bit, or lowering them a bit, are the matters which allow them to feel that democracy is alive and kicking, allowing them to cast their opponents are selfish Tories and socialist spongers respectively and thereby perpetuating the tribal divide.
The global establishment obviously got panicky in 2016 with the Brexit and Trump votes and took remedial action. This was most obvious the following year in France, when faced with e very real prospect of Jean-Luc Melenchon or Marine le Pen becoming president, they hastily thrust the young and relatively unknown Emmanuel Macron into the limelight, confected a party machine around him, and managed to stave off the populist menace at the 11th hour.
If there is any kind of solace to drawn, it may come from two directions. 
Firstly, whereas the Overton window is narrowing throughout the globe, in is not necessarily getting stuck in in the same place. Here in Hungary (which is not so much post-democratic as never-very-democratic-in-the first place), the range of acceptable opinion on matters such as mass immigration is very different from where it would be in the UK., so there is no real global consensus, at least not yet. 
The second might be proportional representation. There was tendency in the UK to mock such systems as producing short-lived and unstable governments. However, what is does allow is for so-called “fringe” parties to have a voice in politics, which we can see in countries which have such systems.
Maybe I’m being unduly optimistic, but I’m not quite ready to give up my boomer beliefs and lean into post-democracy, at least not yet.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
7 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

My understanding of the Overton window is rather than narrowing it has widened to allow political debate of the what-is-a woman kind and other affronts to common sense and decency.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
8 months ago

the main difference between voting in an election, and voting for your favourite couple on Strictly, is that the latter will cost you 15p from a BT landline.

Also that voting on Strictly isn’t, as far as we know, compromised by corrupt ethnic bloc postal votes.

Peter B
Peter B
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

The key point about the “voting” on Strictly is that the numbers are never published, nor is the relationship between the audience votes and the judges votes ever clear. There is no transparency.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
8 months ago

Thank you Mary.

Your articles are consistantly well constructed, thoughtful, thought-provoking…

And often terrifying. That is no criticism – just another compliment.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
8 months ago

The tendency shown by the now-deposed Suella Braverman to speak and tweet as though already in Opposition implied that the position of Home Secretary did not, in fact, command the level of power over home affairs a naĂŻve outsider might imagine it to afford.

That’s a genuinely insightful point. MH’s throwaway points and asides are often worth more than a whole article.

Ewen Mac
Ewen Mac
8 months ago

When David Davis was Brexit secretary he literally admitted, out loud, that Brexit wouldn’t lower immigration, and that it would “at times” get even higher. To be fair he only said it once (to my knowledge) and it might well have been after a particularly long lunch, but he was in a position to know. (Jeremy Hunt also admitted it a couple of days after the referendum).
By way of contrast, Boris Johnson & Co said “Taking Back Control” several thousand times and for some reason people took that to mean “lower Immigration.” Three-word slogans win every time.
Nigel Farage’s media profile/showbiz career will be fine because he works hard to cultivate it. Probably all a bit confusing for those who thought they’d be getting lower immigration but that’s entertainment. Or politainment.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ewen Mac
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago

I feel for you guys across the pond. As awful as Trump is, he at least has put the ‘fear of God’ in the establishment. The old guard has lost the Republican party. It’s now a coalition of populists, libertarians, evangelicals, and nationalists. Anyone who isn’t on board with that is being shown the door (see Liz Cheney). On the other hand, reading about your Tories and Labour, I struggle to find much difference between them and wonder why anyone over there votes at all.

ed martin
ed martin
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

They vote for inflation. via hovel prices it boosts their vacuous egos.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
8 months ago

We should all read Nadine Dorries’s new book. No, seriously. The prose style is somewhere between Barbara Cartland and Mills & Boon but the content is well-researched and terrifying.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Indeed! “Hell hath no fury like Nadine Dorries scorned”.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
8 months ago

Is there anything between Barbara Cartland and Mills & Boon, style-wise?

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

Aye, its about the right level for the typical Tory, right enough!
The content is obviously utter rubbish but you knock yourself out, kiddo!
Happy reading!

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
8 months ago

 by calling “hands up don’t shoot” at Britain’s police officers during the (transnational) BLM riots, despite the fact that only around 5% of British officers carry guns
And also, FWIW, despite the fact that Michael Brown never said that. Then again, this fact didn’t stop our NBA elite from entering stadiums wearing hoodies and spouting this bullsh@t.

Geoff W
Geoff W
8 months ago

To all those celebrating MH’s brilliance, I would submit that she can’t write for toffee, e.g.
“It’s possible, up to a point, to intervene in this ecosystem by forming and funding your own NGOs. But in underwhelming contrast with the American Republican Party, whose institutional artillery is now laser-focused on preparing for a future programme of attack on the US version of this perceived hostile hegemony, the Tory-led ‘realignment’ left its British analogue almost entirely intact. The clear inference is that a majority prefer it that way. And even accepting that this is now the key battlefield has a grim corollary: that contra optimists’ hopes, especially after 2019, the real political realignment has not been toward democratic accountability, but decisively in the other direction.”

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

I found that complex-seeming paragraph easy enough to read and understand. What specific criticism do you have of it?

Geoff W
Geoff W
8 months ago

I had to read it about three times to piece it all together. I don’t think I’m unduly thick; probably about as literate as anyone else here.
In particular, I’d cite the second sentence. (1) the bit about the laser-focused institutional artillery is rather redundant, i.e. why not just say that the US Republican institutions are “concentrating” on fighting back against the Left, or something like that? (2) “preparing” for a “future” attack is probably tautological, and (3) I had to pause for a beat before I worked out the bit about the “British analogue.”
Then in the next sentence, things are reasonably clear, but what is the precise referent/antecedent of “it”?
Then there’s the mildly pretentious “contra.”
Personally, I’m a fan of Orwell-style clarity. This particular piece reads to me as it if it’s at least one draft short of a final, publishable version.

ed martin
ed martin
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

‘preparing for the past’ might be an ironists and politicians dream.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

Very poor English. This is a writer trying too hard to be intellectual. The idea of writing is to spread ideas to everyone, not just those who want to show how clever they are. I read it with effort and I am no slouch as a reader.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
8 months ago

I agree to some extent. A number of writers on unherd are a little pompous with their use of archaic grammar, although I look the words up with which I am unfamiliar, it is a little tiresome, we know they are ‘clever’ just don’t rub our noses in it please…

Zed Zed
Zed Zed
8 months ago

I have spent my entire working life as a professional writer, and I agree with you. The best writing style is the one where no style is perceived, not, as you correctly observe, the one where the main aim seems to be to show how clever one is.

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
8 months ago
Reply to  Zed Zed

I found it clear enough – and I prefer to read writing with a few sparks and flourishes, even at the expense of maximal limpidity.

Last edited 8 months ago by Gerry Quinn
Peter B
Peter B
8 months ago
Reply to  Zed Zed

Don’t entirely agree. If you’re writing factual material for a wide audience that’s probably true. But when you’re writing for people who wish to be entertained or challenged, I think it’s better to say something memorable or different and to have a personal style and idiosyncracies. Even if it doesn’t always work for everyone.
I can forgive quite a lot to read phrases like (here) “The Overton window has been nailed shut.” or (an earlier article) “outside the blast radius of London”.
She actually mixes very short,clear sentences with much longer, complex ones. Perhaps encouraging people to spend a little more time and effort and not skim read the article (I’m frequently guilty of this) is a good thing.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
7 months ago
Reply to  Zed Zed

I’ve done a fair bit of writing too, and always simplify as opposed to embroider. It’s painful.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

I find it a task to read her articles. I prefer Julie Burchill any time


Ian Baugh
Ian Baugh
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

I do think Mary is brilliant, always worth reading, and often hard to read. I did look up “phatic”. Always good to learn something in passing but I don’t see deploying the word any time soon. I wish we could go back to the old newspaper style. Keep it short, summarise your point in the first paragraph and then elucidate and elaborate. But keep it coming, Mary.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
7 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

I find her style unnecessarily convoluted and invariably lose interest half way. I try to figure out what she’s saying and then decide I don’t care.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
7 months ago
Reply to  Geoff W

It’s good to know I’m not the only one.

George Venning
George Venning
7 months ago

The burden of this entire article is in this sentence:

“Where Brexiteers dreamed of greater democratic accountability, the tumult their victory set in motion has entrenched financiers and insiders, even as it has made the views of voters ever more obviously irrelevant.”

Translation. I voted for Brexit in the hope that it would deliver a set of benefits that were not only not on the ballot but that any fool could see that Brexit itself wouldn’t deliver. And now I am almightily aggrieved that I did not get what I was never promised and that the gang of transparently mendacious charlatans that I imagined would do these things for me turned out to be no better than the last lot.

Did Brexiters really and truly look at Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farrage and say to yourselves “yes, these are the very people to carry out a root and branch reform of the British state, kicking vested interests out of politics and rebuild the relationship between Government and governed.”? Did you really imagine that all it was going to take was one vote, once?

Because, compared to that prospectus, the Corbynite left looks like a ruthless gang of hard-bitten hyper-realists.

There is a way out of this but it is much harder work than simply voting for Brexit. It is a road that runs through electoral reform. And it demands a willingness for elements of both right and left to actually work together.

Last edited 7 months ago by George Venning
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
7 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Absolutely – it was always going to take at least two/three electoral cycles to replace the politicians that outsourced policy to Brussels. Most thoughtful people realise this, but there seem to be many who can’t seem to think strategically.

Haydn Pyatt
Haydn Pyatt
8 months ago

I used to think The Truman Show was a satire.

I now think it is reality.

I wonder who’s watching us….

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
8 months ago

I think MH is overworking this.

He gets ÂŁ1.5m net.

What more needs to be said?

For ÂŁ1.5m net, I would happily pretend I am having trouble eating insects. Heck, I would even fly over to jolly old England on my dime to do it.

IMHO, all the rest is window dressing.

James Kirk
James Kirk
7 months ago

A long winded version of “if you deserve a vote forget it, you are outnumbered by those that do not” Which is fair if you apply it to either side. Which idiots decided 18 year olds voting was a good idea when it should have gone up to 25?

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
8 months ago

It is completely unclear to me what kind of society MH thinks the disillusioned brexit voting red wall masses want. One thing for sure it’s not the small state, privatised health service, deregulated economy that the Trussites fantasise over.

George Venning
George Venning
7 months ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Agreed. Modern Toryism defines itself entirely in opposition to things – The EU, the ECHR, Woke mind virus and the blob that incubates it, immigration green crap etc.
But, ask them what it is they actually want to achieve and it all gets really fuzzy really quickly.

Simon Wells
Simon Wells
8 months ago

Brexit and covid proved that a global elite was bent on stealing Western democracy, and succeeded.

They have the levers of power to take the rest of it away from us, all of it, and are in the process of doing that.

Our politicians appear happy to have betrayed us, and their countries, through their actions in now corrupted parliaments.

Only question that needs to be answered now is can we the plundered taxpayers do anything to stop their wrecking ball tactics.

Robert White
Robert White
8 months ago

Yet another great one from Mary H. But I wonder: do the likes of NGOs really have such total control over the proverbial window? If the pandemic proved one thing very quickly, it’s that governments actually still have the power to do stuff – the lockdowns, furlough schemes and so on. (I admit, this may well be a case of wishful thinking.)
There’s a small typo in there, by the way: the word contra, in italics, glued up against the word that follows.

Toby Bray
Toby Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert White

Sure, the pandemic proved that power can still be wielded. But even then, who was actually dictating the decisions? A whole new raft of unelected experts & committees suddenly moved centre stage.

In fact major decisions were deliberately removed from the sphere of politics & deferred to the bureaucracy. This was perfectly represented by Boris Johnson doing the daily Covid news conferences with Whitty & Vallance – outside of Parliament, & with the two civil servants on equal or superior footing to the PM. There was SAGE and then “Independent SAGE” which appeared out of nowhere. Plus the influence of supra-national bodies such as the WHO.

As I see it, ‘power’ is still there. But traditional government seems increasingly incidental to its workings, compared to the huge machinery & dominant outlook of “The Blob” i.e. not just NGOs, but also the civil service, BBC & universities etc.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toby Bray
Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
7 months ago
Reply to  Toby Bray

…Leviathan in full bloom indeed.

Rob N
Rob N
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert White

and “Cameroon variety” rather than “Cameron variety”. Hard to imagine it being intentional but…

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
7 months ago

Trump was the first to see how politics and show business are variants of the same game and reward the same skill sets. His win was dumbfounding to the deeply-rooted establishment accustomed to the old rules. It took a powerful alliance of the deep state, social media potentates, legacy media plutocrats, RINO supporters inthe UniParty, and old-fashioned plantation politics to hamstring his first administration. This coalition will double down to keep him from winning a second term. If unsuccessful, it will wage another bureaucratic and media war to sabotage his term. Lash yourself to the mast for the storm to come.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
8 months ago

Tangential, but related to this systemic dysfunction at the heart of UK governance, take a look at this fantastic little interview with Dominic Cummings:

https://youtu.be/3i7ym_Qh7BA?si=Pp1hYLuBL4-sudY3

Last edited 8 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Good isn’t it

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
8 months ago

Is there enough there to ‘section’ him?

David Harris
David Harris
7 months ago

“…electoral politics is shaped some way upstream of voting, by an insider network of “statutory bodies”, watchdogs, czars, courts and the like.”
That is the most telling line in the article, and one which explains the extent to which our democracy is no longer in charge of our lives. That is why I won’t be voting for any of the mainstream parties next year. We have a ConLabLib uniparty that agrees on almost everything including the Net Zero madness that will bankrupt the country. If anyone is still voting Lib, Lab or Con then they have no right whatsoever to complain about Net Zero, woke institutions, high taxes, or out of control immigration – since the ConLabLib uniparty will pursue them anyway. Labour will get in anyway next year so vote for the SDP or The Reform Party whenever you can. Especially at GE24.

JR Hartley
JR Hartley
7 months ago

“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it”

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

If the English seek to reinvigorate their identity and culture by lowering immigration, that won’t work. The reason is simple – The English are famous for deprecating themselves, their own culture and everything, bar a few footballers, sacrosanct writers (who half the population hate for being show offs and CLEVER) and the miilitary, Churchill and the Royals.
This is due to the poison of class as many genuine English strengths – eg popular music,craft, industry (before destroyed by the Financial classes in league with Thatcher) and science and medicine – are not exclusive achievements of the upper or middle classes and are consequently ignored.
Ditto things labelled, sometimes upper class or middle class, such as classical music or literature.
The English regularly underestimate even the beauty of their own landscape, moan incessantly about the weather and were surprised when Jen and Brad wanted to honeymoon in the Lake District.
Problems with resources, money, due to immigration are another debate but one that does not happen with any accuracy because the feral elite, led by Murdoch and co certainly don’t want the working classes blaming their real enemies.
Immigrants want to live here because they have a certain view of England and the English as being fairer, more tolerant, more CRICKET than a lot of the rest of Europe.
This is not entirely a delusion but lord knows how desperate you are to prove them wrong.
You had a culture war way before large swathes of immigration – between the North and South, received pronunciation and dialects.
If you think being English is simply a matter of having a white face and no Celtic antecedents either, then perhaps you might contemplate purchasing a property in the Isle of Wight or Essex.
Of course immigrants are providing a valuable psychological service – being the hate targets of working class people and upper class people equally. Unity through hate.
All the overtly anti immigration countries, Orban’s Hungary and Meloni’s Italy included, are making secret deals to haul guest workers in to do the staff their native born populations won’t touch or at least won’t touch at the derisory pay offered.
Unfettered Capitalism creates mass immigration because it profits from war, profits from bankrupting entire small nations, thus rendering it impossible for their inhabitants to make a living. Plus it likes cheap, disposable, rights free labour which is what it gets from immigrants without secure status.
Being against immigration but dribbling over the military makes no sense at all. Ditto being pro unregulated Capitalism and wanting to reduce immigration
As for ‘localism’, it can be nice to feel identified with a particular area but also stifling. That is a fifty fifty thing. Some people like change and sameness: some embrace difference.
It is wrong to assume people can only care for a place if they have lived their all their lives – that situation creates hate and resentment as often as love, depending on how that place is valued in the general culture.
Criticisms of English colonialism may cut at self esteem but I ask you -are the English comfortable with esteeming themselves anyway?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Weird ! Are you Irish possibly ( sense certain preoccupations that might explain where your post is coming from ) Or Welsh even ?

Last edited 7 months ago by Alan Osband