These days, on my chosen subject, I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record, or – to be more accurate – write like one. Rather like the crashing bore – the only candidate to be school class captain who cannot understand why he’s not automatically the most popular bloke in school – our esteemed politicians and ‘Westminster bubble’ strategists spent far too much time trying to identify why the British electorate has a decreasing inclination to vote, despite the fact the answer has been staring them in the face all the time.
The British public are terminally disenchanted with the political class. Their masters may try to shame them into greater electoral involvement by claiming “You get the government you deserve”, implying that if you don’t vote, your life may be adversely affected, but this just doesn’t wash anymore. When your politicians do little to deflect the impression that they are uniformly untrustworthy, corrupt, arrogant, mendacious and pathologically unresponsive to public opinion, it seems to many that – whatever and whomever you vote for – you get the same old rubbish from the same old characters circulating and re-circulating around Parliament, so what’s the bloody point?
Hence the rise of Nigel Farage and UKIP, which I view as essentially an opportunity to stick two fingers in the air and scream “A plague upon all your houses!” A classic ‘anti-politician’ vote, if you will.
To be honest about it, I don’t think many seriously think that Farage would make a great MP, still less minister of the crown. However, when – with a twinkle in his eye – he accuses the British political establishment of being part of a ‘non-democratic’ conspiracy – of which the EU is the ultimate example of the phenomenon in practice – he connects with a large seam of British opinion that has had enough of being treated as necessary but irrelevant – i.e. something to be preached at but ignored.
This morning I’ve been reading the parliamentary sketch-writers’ reports on the ‘apology’ in the Commons yesterday given by Maria Miller, the government’s Culture Secretary. It’s a typical case of the British political elite protecting its own, or trying to.
Here’s a representative report on her ‘apology’ – after being investigated for expenses fraud – as published today on the website of THE DAILY TELEGRAPH.