Saturday, 4 October 2014

The last British Prime Minister

Who was the last British Prime Minister? The question is worth asking because the role seems to have faded away to the status of provincial governor. The process of governing the UK has acquired at least three features which make much of the Prime Minister's traditional role redundant.

Firstly we are largely governed by those who run global businesses, global bureaucracies and global pressure groups. In other words, a host of global CEOs are in charge – not our provincial governor, or Prime Minister as we still insist on calling him. Global CEOs have become a uniquely powerful social class. Local politicians merely deliver the PR - the democratic narrative with its jingoistic fairy tales.

Once we have free enterprise which isn’t free and isn’t enterprising, once we blur the distinction between the corridors of government and corporate power then we have a class of people who can’t be shifted except by members of their own class. They share the power, they share the money and spend enormous sums to keep things that way.

In short we are being milked and controlled by money - but not sucked dry. It has taken only a few decades for the CEO class to realise that only a modicum of comfort is necessary for social control. Not comfort in itself, but the bovine acquiescence which comfort brings with it. 

A warm hut, a full belly and 24/7 entertainment. That does it.

Secondly and similarly, policy-making has gone global. Treaties, international laws and heavyweight bureaucracies such as the EU and UN have taken over the policy role of national government to such an extent that local political parties are barely relevant except as PR vehicles.

Thirdly we have complexity, a key reason why nobody, not even UKIP is ever likely to put these trends into reverse. The situation is too complex to be resolved with the puny political levers we have left, too intricate to be untangled by negotiation or new laws.

The complexity isn’t merely political or legal, but also cultural. We have to want change and want it badly en masse. Otherwise there are too many threads, too many reasons not to resolve malign trends, too many incentives not to see that they are indeed malign, too many reasons to oppose beneficial change, too many people doing just that.

So who was or will be the last British Prime Minister? 


Sackerson said...

The bread and circuses phase.

Demetrius said...

Henry Campbell-Bannerman, PM 1906-1908.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

I've taken the liberty of reposting this lock stock and barrel - hope you don't mind (with ack, natch!)

will appear Monday.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - which could go on for centuries.

Demetrius - good choice.

Witterings - no problem.

James Higham said...

Do you know the first British Prime Minister? I read a surprising thing on that the other day.

A K Haart said...

James - Robert Walpole, but I don't know him personally (: