Is the World losing????
A NATION LOSES ITS TRADITIONS AND VALUES
Last week was a disastrous one for the British Prime Minister. First, a family
friend, Lord Bragg, almost let slip to the public the details of the Blair
family tragedy of last May, which had brought Mr Blair to the brink of
resignation. Although the details are well-known to journalists and have been
published all over the Internet in recent months, the public media have, quite
properly, operated a system of self-censorship in this field.
Then came the ridiculous protest at Buckingham Palace of a group which feels
that the accumulated injustice against it merited yet another publicity stunt.
The point of the juvenile protest was overshadowed by its security
Then came the much more serious demonstrations at the Houses of Parliament of
those who support the freedom to hunt foxes with hounds. Many of them seem
prepared almost for Civil War with the Blair government on what seems to many
to be a topic without any importance.
In an event, unprecedented since the time of Charles I, which preceded the
English Civil War, the House of Commons was invaded by protestors, asking for
the freedom to follow their pursuit. Many television viewers were not so much
surprised by this event, but more by the fact that the debate was attended by
only a handful of their paid, elected representatives. In any case, the result
is that Ministers of the Blair government now appear to be frightened to enter
the English countryside. A campaign of mass civil disobedience looms. As ever,
when governments do not listen to a substantial minority of the people, the
latter take to the streets in rebellion.
Then, far more seriously, came the news that during the week 300 people had
died, and hundreds of others had been maimed, in the unending war in Iraq. It
appears that Coalition Forces now only control about 10% of Iraq, as it
descends, like Afghanistan, into anarchy. One ironic observer suggested that
the only person who could now bring peace to the chaos of Iraq is Saddam
Hussein. This tragic news was followed by the statement of the UN Secretary
General, who at last officially declared that the Invasion of Iraq had been,
as virtually everybody knew, illegal.
The link between all these events is that it appears that freedom in the
United Kingdom has been set aside in favour of 'democracy'. Of course, in
fact, the two words should mean the same thing. This is no longer the case.
The present government, like the Major and Thatcher and most other governments
before it, was elected by a minority. In the case of the present government,
by only 28% of the electorate. Nevertheless, with a majority of MPs, it can
pass almost any law it likes. The question is: Does the UK any longer have a
democratic system, fairly representing all its people, or is it ruled by the
decrees of a Presidential figure who no longer has a grasp of reality?
If this is so, it would certainly explain why certain injustices, regarding
the rights of divorced fathers to see their children, have not been remedied.
It would explain why the British people were lied to about the possession of
non-existent 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' by Iraq. It would explain why the
Blair government took part in a 'pre-emptive' and very costly invasion of
Iraq, against the wishes of the British people. It would explain why the BBC
was censored by the government. Finally, it would explain the desire to stop a
substantial minority from hunting foxes, angering millions and bringing them
to open revolt. Whatever the majority thinks of their practices, the only way
to stop them will be to imprison them all.
In all cases, the present government appears to have lost contact with the
realities of British life, to an even greater extent than the last Thatcher
government. After all, it too acted in similarly dictatorial ways, when it
attempted to impose its poll tax on an unwilling people some thirteen years
To some it seems that the British political scene is now changing radically
and is about to be recast. What difference is there between the neo-Puritan
authoritarianism of the Labour and Conservative Parties? On the one hand, the
yesterday's men of the Conservative Party have not been forgiven by the public
for their errors and the corruption of the 80s and 90s. On the other hand, the
'New Labour Party' of Mr Blair (called by some the 'New Tory Party') is now
almost totally discredited.
Some political observers have suggested that the New Labour Party, with its
record low membership, is about to be eclipsed by the genuinely left-wing
Liberal Democrat Party. As for the Conservative Party, some say that it has
now betrayed all its principles, that it is now no more than a shell, similar
to the old Soviet Communist Party, where members clapped their leaders'
speeches in their sleep. Not far from collapse, they say, it will be replaced
by the genuinely conservative UK Independence Party.
Whatever the future, as observers we are able to observe one thing. This is
that, over the last generation, political freedom in the United Kingdom has
come under threat, in ways which were unthinkable twenty-five years ago. Here
it is irrelevant to speculate like the media about whether Mr Blair intends to
resign this year. Politicians, puppets of history, come and go, and his
resignation will not resolve the heart of the problem. The heart of the
problem is not a question of personalities or political parties. For it is not
only the two main political parties, Labour and Conservative, and their
representatives, which have lost their traditions and values. It is rather
that a whole country seems to be losing its traditions and values. And he who
loses his traditions and values, loses his way.
We may well ask the question: Is the United Kingdom coming to a historic
Father Andrew Phillips