Sunday, July 3, 2016

Hope and Mirrors

Reading ' The Ugly Renaissance ' by Alexander Lee I came to the following passage which seemed to highlight present political climate, especially the vote in the UK to leave the European Union.

"Reform was inevitable. In 1382 a more overtly 'popular' regime was instituted that would lay the foundations for the political world familiar to Michelangelo. The guilds were removed from the picture, eligibility for political office was widened dramatically, scrutinies were handled by a centralised body, and a conscious effort to cultivate a 'civic' spirit emerged. In the decades that followed , parlamenti - large, public gatherings of the whole citizen body - were occasionally summoned to make major political decisions, and the Consiglio Maggiore was eventually established as an alternative to the smaller, more restricted councils that had gone before. The 'people' [ if one can speak in such terms ] seemed finally to be in the saddle.
But it was all a game of smoke and mirrors. Far from being designed to broaden participation in a truly 'republican' government, the reforms of 1382 were intended merely to secure the interests of the same narrow, mercantile elites and to limit the incidence of unrest by creating a framework for the formation of consensus and by giving out the illusion of popular consent. The same , small group of exceptionally rich individuals continued to dominate the course of Florentine politics - although seldom in public view - while the poor and the unskilled remained on the very fringes of the political process."

The next is from Aneurin Bevan:
" The whole art of Conservative politics in the 20th century is being deployed to enable wealth to persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power. "

Guiseppe Lorenzo Getteri - 'The tumult of the Ciompi'

I wonder if over the next few weeks , before the new PM can sign Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, that the media will persuade the public that the UK should not leave, which may or may not be a good idea. The point will be that the votes cast don't count if the MSM and their political actors don't wish them to, but it will look like the people have decided that that is what they want.