Paul Mason @paulmasonnews
Wed 11 Sep 2019 08.17 EDT Last modified on Wed 11 Sep 2019 08.52 EDT
To expedite his power grab, the prime minister has brought darkness to our democracy and to our streets. We must resist
‘The aim of Boris Johnson is to create a darkest hour in which, though he created the darkness, he eventually gets to switch on the lights.’ Photograph: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images
On Saturday, for the first time in living memory, neo-fascists were chanting the name of the serving prime minister. Supporters of the English Defence League and the Democratic Football Lads Alliance wandered around Whitehall some drunk, harassing random remain protesters and shouting into the faces of journalists until, inevitably, they attacked the police.
It’s part of an unnerving trend that’s emerged in the past two weeks: the normalisation of chaos.
We have a parliament suspended against its will. We have ministers threatening to break the law. We have allegations that a network of advisers inside Whitehall are using encrypted messaging to circumvent legal scrutiny. And we have briefings to selected journalists that the government might suspend the rule of law by invoking the Emergency Powers Act.
Yet at the end of the headlines there is always the weather and the same jokey riff between a presenter and a hapless BBC political correspondent. Nine out of 10 stories on the front pages of news sites remain focused on dating, food fads and the antics of minor royals.
Nothing in this bleak and blurry picture is happening by accident. Listen to the reported promises of Dominic Cummings: he will “wreck” the Labour party conference; he will “purge” the Tory rebels; he will “smash” Jeremy Corbyn and he reportedly does not care if Northern Ireland “falls into the sea”.
Every time the government is thwarted by MPs it simply ups the ante: between now and the European council meeting in October, it will stage one calculated outrage after another.
One of the most dangerous factors in this situation is the incomprehension of Britain’s technocratic elites. At Eton they might ask pupils to write the imaginary speech they would give while leading a military coup, but on the philosophy, politics and economics course at Oxford, it is generally assumed you are heading for a career in the governance of a stable democracy.
Few are prepared to address the material roots and class dynamics of this crisis, because nobody taught them to do so. But they are clear.
In Britain, as in the US, the business elite has fractured into two groups: one wants to defend the multilateral global order and globalised free trade; another desires to break the system. Here, as with Trump, that group includes the fracking bosses, the tax-dodging private equity bosses and the speculative ends of property and high finance.