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Showing posts from November, 2017

THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SPHERE

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When Conservatives Become Revolutionaries 
Politicians, political pundits, and obsessive Westminster watchers, it is often said live in a ‘bubble.’ They exist in a world in which politics exists as great clumsy giant overshadowing everything and everyone, - from the newsagent in the corner shop to the crew of a nuclear submarine out at sea.  This view is however accurate, or more accurate than the way most people view politics. For most members of the public see the world very differently. For them politics is peripheral. Other concerns dominate their private lives and clever politicians have always recognised this. Indeed, the whole ideology of conservatism has hitherto been built on the assumption that people just wanted to be left alone and have as little to do with politics as possible. Hitherto this has been broadly true, and again clever politicians on the right encouraged the illusion that this was possible.[1] Conservative politicians in the English-speaking world have now large…

SOCIAL DISSONANCE

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Brexit and The Corrosion of Civil SocietyDemocracy is dead without conflict, without the dialectic of competing ideas. If you want peace, harmony and unanimity go visit a graveyard. Compromise, the prerequisite of democracy is a form of creative tension, - never fully settled, always threatening fracture and division.
This is the framework in which debate and political discourse take place. However, there are limits to the degree of division compatible with a healthy democracy.  When the division becomes too wide civility, the agreed rules and formula begin to break down, compromise becomes impossible and conflict threatens to become violent; civil war begins to emerge as a possibility. Examples abound, Spain from 1933 to 1936, Ireland after the creation of the free state. France in late 1930s and Weimar Germany. As can be seen from the above examples, not all such discord ends in civil war, merely that it is threatened and civil unrest becomes more likely. I want to suggest that the…