As in France, the UK has fallen victim to the impotence of its own political class » PACA’s economic and political letter

The UK is not doing as well as we imagine.

The mother of democracies is suffering on her long and endless Way of the Cross. The country dies behind the unity that emerges briefly at the royal funeral, celebrated with great pomp to the music of Handel and Beethoven. Like France, it is a victim of the effects of globalism and the impotence of its political class.

What better way to see this than to recall the chronic instability of power, with several prime ministers changing over the course of a few years, from Theresa May to Liz Truss, Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak?

Wasn’t Liz Truss the absolute antithesis of Margaret Thatcher? The latter was charismatic, determined, some would go so far as to say visionary. Liz Truss, who had just served the shortest term (less than 45 days) as Prime Minister in British history, had none of the qualities of the “Iron Lady”. The “Straw Lady” really had no charisma, no authority, and probably no conviction. The scandal is not that he should resign soon, but that he was elected by the Conservative Party when neither his personality nor his program fit the needs and did not hold water. It reminds me of Valerie Pekres, who fancies herself the Iron Lady. We know the outcome of this communication. In the early 1960s, Great Britain, which had just lost its empire, was looking for a new role, direction and identity.

Unfortunately, the country is now in the position described by Winston Churchill in 1930: “Now we see our people doubting their mission and principles, wandering aimlessly, being swept away by a flood and deep troubled ocean. The compass is damaged, the maps are worn out, the crew take turns to take the captain’s place, and each captain must vote not only among the crew members, but again among the crew members before each helm. the number of passengers is increasing. »

It must be admitted that our great English rivals, and indeed our great friends, often anticipated great political turning-points, and displayed great creativity, tenacity, and ability to resist when faced with difficulties.

After World War II, Great Britain served as a model for the creation of welfare states. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher’s reforms ushered in an era of liberal globalization underpinned by an ultra-patriotic vision of the nation. Then we saw a strong return of the state and public spending (41% of GDP in 2019) with the interest of liberalism, the end of financial controls and doubts about respect for balanced budgets. Brexit then completed a common and ephemeral history with the EU that one would have believed would be endless, but ended nonetheless. This divorce from the EU polarized all the differences and put into perspective a new diversity of ideological currents in the country. Just under half of British losers saw the break with the EU as a tragic regression. For many experts, BREXIT is the result, not the cause, of the country’s disintegration, reflecting the chaos of the world. These British divisions are mainly formed around three fundamental questions: the role of the state in the economy, the place of the nation in the world, and the question of the liberalization of morality that emerged with Cameron, as well as Francois Hollande and Emmanuel Macron. France. However, the British model was a work of time, luck, courage, determination, intelligence, compromise and common sense. However, the delicate conventions that kept the oldest parliamentary democracy afloat and ever precariously balanced against all headwinds are now crumbling one by one. Despite the change of Prime Ministers and succession of changes, Great Britain is unable to strengthen and rebuild itself. Related governments are quickly verified. Weather conditions and irresponsible politics that damage the country’s reputation are swept away. The historic bipartisanship between the Conservatives and Labor is also being shaken. Both parties are in crisis as militancy. Britain’s Conservative Party, which had set itself the mission of protecting the poorest, was weakened, a victim of internal fratricide and divided on key issues. It also reminds me of a certain French law.

Like France, the British nation is in crisis and total decline.

Politically, it is handicapped by the deterioration of its institutions, parliamentary deadlock, difficulties in forming a majority, ethical problems and chronic instability of power. As in France, the majoritarian voting system still prevents the rise of smaller parties. At the end of the 2017 elections, the two main parties gathered up to 82% of the vote. But that didn’t stop it from going to referendums in 2011, 2014 and finally 2016 against the will of the majority of the elites to try to end its crises and resolve Brexit definitively. British constitutionalists are even starting. to question the limits of the unwritten Constitutional model. Admittedly, this is consistent with the often claimed political pragmatism. However, in a crisis situation, we observe imaginary interpretations of this model. In addition to its adaptability and flexibility, the United Kingdom has also been valued for its liberties, economic freedom, professional freedom, social freedom, freedom of expression, creative freedom, religious freedom, freedom of the press, political freedom and, beyond that, moral freedom. . The Queen died last September, long live the King. But the United Kingdom is no longer so united. The Scottish government is still envisioning another independence referendum. We also hear the desire for Irish reunification. Recklessness, glamour, humor and cunning have long been the charms and perversions of the British elite formed in the past to rule the world, lead the Empire and quell distant rebellions. But today Britain has nothing to do with Victorian imperialism. It is now only one province of the Commonwealth, a small Singapore on the banks of the Thames. London has become a multicultural capital struggling to compete and survive in a more divided, more volatile and more uncertain world. In these circumstances, it is difficult to praise the role of the British political class, which, as in France, often puts the interests of the parties at the expense of the interests of the country.

There must therefore be a real question about the nature of British democracy across the Channel.

Once the cradle of Western imperialism, the old capitals of the world, symbols of power, wealth and prosperity, London and Paris are now in the same boat, paralyzed by the inefficiency and internal weaknesses of the democracies they represent. In Britain, as in France, democracy is intolerable because it forces us to acknowledge the existence of opinions different from our own. At worst, these opinions can be overwhelmingly against us. On the other hand, there is no concern for the British and French monarchs. They are firmly installed in their palaces.

When our understanding is no longer so sincere and our difficulties so great, what other lessons in democratic efficiency can be taught today than Great Britain or France?

“Men are able to make the right choice when they have exhausted all others” Winston Churchill said.

British and French voters are still waiting for political will, while their countries are surely sliding towards the great collapse. We have Emmanuel Macron and his government. The British have had short-lived prime ministers. To each his balls.


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