The Desolate Landscape of Unprincipled Opportunism: A Lament for the Current Political Era
What wretched times these are, when the great parties of the state have collapsed into a miasma of unprincipled opportunism. Where once respectable philosophies contended, now the avaricious forces of Mammon hold sway.
In better years, the left proffered policies of collectivism, idealistically advocating the uplift of the masses through state beneficence. Their hearts pulsed for the common man.
Meanwhile, conservatives stood for continuity, championing institutions and mores that bound generations in a rich inherited tapestry. Change proceeded cautiously, organically, eschewing rash innovative conceits.
But alas, from the centre rises the UniParty.
Both camps have forfeited their cores. A devouring creed of greed and naked self-interest consumes all. The traditional left’s dreams of economic justice are betrayed by their political parties and representatives in their abasement before the false idols of unrestrained liberalism. They bend the knee in craven supplication to the modern Moloch of identity politics, they have abandoned the working class.
No longer do they preach uplift of the masses through bold programs of social housing or industrial strategy and democracy, policies that offer a route out of poverty through free education both academic and vocational from cradle to grave.
Instead, they mouth vacuous platitudes and peddle the discredited opiate of the American dream, the false promise of universal home ownership. This mirage provides cold comfort to those condemned to lifetimes of debt servitude, prisoners of an economic system designed to channel the fruits of their labour to unseen financial overlords sat on their tropical beaches working their dystopia through the terminal of a laptop following the markets like a racehorse owner at ascot follows their prized gelding.
In this dystopia, the masses face declining prospects in a neo-feudal order that views people as mere commodities, assets to be sweated for maximum profit. Interest rates are manipulated and inflated to guarantee a harvest of payments from the indentured. Fear stalks those trapped on the hedonic treadmill, terrified of falling into the abyss of poverty that yawns beneath their feet.
And what of the Party created to champion the working class… its legacy is one of betrayal. No longer does it fight for an egalitarian society that allows all people to develop their potential through economic security and accessible education. Instead, its policies grease the wheels of a merciless machine devoted to the aggrandisement of elite interests. Rhetoric of pragmatism masks the reality of coming servitude.
Meanwhile, Tories surrender their Burkean scepticism by bowing to the specious god of the unfettered market. Restraint, prudence and particularism are cast aside in pursuit of profit über alles. Local attachments and folkways unravel, as rapacious international capital treats nations as commodities to be stripped, a plundering of our commons, Gas, Oil and Water, schools and libraries, health services and infrastructures. while communities are seen as obstacles to be demolished. Responsibility gives way to avarice, stewardship to speculation.
What remains is a slough of greed, a dreary consensus devoted to the aggrandisement of the privileged. An insatiable financial sector gorges itself on the wealth of the nation as ordinary folk face declining prospects in a quicksand of a manufactured cost of living crisis.
A true conservatism dedicated to preserving the realm, and a sincere socialism committed to lifting the masses, both now languish forgotten in the dark corridors of Westminster. Instead, an unprincipled establishment rides roughshod over a disenfranchised populace. Gross inequities proliferate as community frays.
This discreditable status quo cannot endure. The hour implores the emergence of new champions, an alliance of the dispossessed and civic-minded, to wrest control from the entrenched apparatchiks of decadence. By marrying the left’s cries for economic justice with the right’s attachments to place and heritage, a humane common ground may yet be seized.
And so in these benighted times, as the unedifying UniParty tightens its grip, what recourse have decent citizens? Shall we submit meekly to the oafish diktats of a professional political class devoted chiefly to its own preservation? Better to roar defiance! Raise high the banners of resistance!
The slumbering spirit of liberty still lives, awaiting but a spark to reignite its flame. We shall furnish that spark.
As Tony Benn so aptly put it “…You see there are two flames burning in the human heart all the time. The flame of anger against injustice, and the flame of hope you can build a better world.
So I say… “Cry havoc, friends, and let slip the dogs of war! Charge the ramparts of inertia! For we thirst not for change that claps us in chains, but a righteous revolution that breaks the fetters of corruption and lets our people go. Our vigil begins, a new order dawns”.
Frankly, my dears, we don’t give a damn for their Uniparty – the future is ours!
But time is fleeting. Unless persons of goodwill and principle unite under a restorative programme that curbs the excesses of crony capitalism, this globalisation that’s eating us all then the yawning abyss beckons. The people’s urgent need transcends outworn taxonomies of left and right. A party dedicated to the nourishment of the commonwealth, not the pampering of elites, can stem the tide of dissolution. But its advent brooks no delay.
Let us hope providence soon delivers stalwarts equal to this grave historic challenge, lest the promise of our political tradition fade into irretrievable night.
Paul Knaggs, @LabourHeartlands