Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Johnson elevated, Eton rules. Let's use the moment

And so it really does comes to pass. A class-pampered buffoon, political charlatan, crude racist, corporate champion, climate apologist and serial warmonger is now leader of these afflicted and conflicted lands.

Adding insult to injury, he's been delivered by a Tory contest of 160,000 members, seeing Boris Johnson elevated to the highest office of state with under 100,000 votes. 

What kind of 'equitable' system sees a mass electorate excluded from the vital process of prime ministerial placement? And, indeed, what kind of contempt for that mass other has Tory shiredom shown in its indulgence of 'lovable Boris'? 

Sure, they're electing their own leader. It's the rules. But what kind of qualitative 'democracy' does this suggest? The answer is, as ever, establishment-branded democracy. British 'democracy'. Eton rules. 

That Johnson, the classic product of class-gifted education, has made it to Number 10 shows just how deeply elite background still counts. Eton still rules.

Yet, the arrival of Johnson should be welcomed, both as a salutary reminder of what happens when -  as with Trump - conceited liberal centrism fails, and as a new opening for radical change.

Johnson's election now raises the stakes considerably for the emergence of progressive counter-forces. 

As the parliamentary dynamics of the 'Brexit crisis' unravels towards a general election, it now presents voters with an even sharper class-based politics of choice: Johnson or Corbyn.   

Electoral politics can now play out more consciously as an issue of class identity. And Corbyn should play it for all it's worth, exposing the establishment, rank privilege and everything Johnson really stands for. 

It is to be hoped that one of the first actions of a progressive Corbyn government will be the abolition of private and 'independent' schools. Johnson is the twentieth prime minister to be educated at Eton, illustrating the enduring class basis of British political power. Elite institutions like Eton are, indeed, independent - of society as a whole, harbouring and nurturing even the likes of Johnson as 'the right people'.

In the same vein, Johnson's election will provoke new class-infused reactions over the Union.  

Johnson's appointment offers the best opportunity a progressive movement for Scottish independence will ever have to pursue and realise its stalled mission. 

On the back of the 'material change' mandate afforded by Brexit, will a managerial-minded SNP leadership now have the political will to use this vital, additional opening?

With the Tories and Unionist establishment in an historically fragile and weakened state, the Johnson moment - and it may well be just that - should be used to the full.   

It really is remarkable to think that such a small coterie still hold such power and ideological sway over all our political arrangements and 'understandings' of 'permissible democracy'.     

Today sees another seemingly smooth transfer of the elite baton. Yet, Johnson's entry through that 'hallowed' door provides the impetus for new challenges to perpetual privilege, political 'entitlement' and the dominant forces controlling all our lives.             

No comments: