When the fuel crisis was outed in the media, the government’s line was “there is plenty of fuel, do not panic buy”, and the British public’s overwhelming reaction was to do just that. A lack of trust so fundamental as to fly in the face of public advice is indicative of a public that is at odds with it’s governmental representation. When, we must wonder, will this state distrust come to a head?
It seems that many people believe in a very fundamental way, that the current very messy state of British politics is how it must be. There can be no divergence from a government the public fundamentally mistrust, do not like and do not support.
Johnson’s cabal has not, as so many would fervently claim, “led us through” the coronavirus pandemic, so much as simply tried and failed to control chaos and then allowed it to flourish.
Doctors, ambulance drivers, nurses and more are speaking out regularly about the ongoing crisis, not just of the coronavirus pandemic, but of the ongoing delays to regular treatment and the backlog which must be dealt with. This, however, falls on deaf ears. The people of the UK are fatigued with the crisis and, it must be said- selfish. Mask wearing in the city I live is down to a trickle in all situations – I just walked into the train station to buy something for my sore throat and I saw one in roughly 60 people wearing one. And we regularly see the deranged anti mask fanatics engaging in casual online abuse:
And of course, this is the behaviour we endorse under the frankly ridiculous umbrella of free speech. People should be allowed to say ridiculous things like this because what if they couldn’t?
Of course people should be able to say things- but SHOULD they? I don’t see why we aren’t publicly shaming people like Bob. This ridiculous, pointless war of fact vs feeling being stoked over and over would be funny if it wasn’t, at it’s heart, dangerous. And as I say regularly- if your freedom is threatened by a small scrap of material hung over your mouth and nose, how fragile your freedom is. The mask debate is a culture war
Or how about the UK Electoral commission deciding it’s helpful to allow Britain First to be a political party… ostensibly under that good old banner free speech, and not at all to make the Tories look moderate by comparison. The danger a group- I will not refer to them as a party – like this offers cannot be understated. Mind you, under proportional representation this wouldn’t be an issue- seeing the far right bigots regularly have their guts torn out in parliament in Germany was particularly comical. But of course in a system that so benefits parties like the Conservatives it causes nothing but issue- any Britain First bigots who stand would likely follow the Brexit party line and step down to enable the Tories again.
I’m not sure if it’s my still burgeoning political awareness or better days past but I sincerely remember only the occasional governmental scandal which eroded my trust in the pillars of society we have relied upon for so long- and now, it seems every day I open my eyes to new salacious headlines that more than ever show that we are ruled on high by those who are deeply disconnected from the electorate- and not just on the right of the political spectrum (a Labour MP yesterday said they wouldn’t be looking at nationalising energy supply because they “want to focus on issues that affect us on the daily”- like… being desperately poor because our energy bills are huge?) but most especially by those who continually squeeze the electorate as do the Tories.
Higher bills. More tax. Goods more expensive and less freely available. Culture wars stoked directly from the dispatch box. Public services cut. It is truly no wonder that we have no trust in our government, is it? And yet we do nothing to address this problem. People shrug their shoulders, say “they’re all the same”, “this is how it is” and continue to grumble and groan, not for one moment wondering WHY it has to be this way? WHY we have to have a government we do not trust, that does not serve the will of the people in place?
The huge irony of my campaigning for Corbyn haunts me – now, don’t confuse me for a hardcore Corbyn supporter, I liked him well enough because he was left wing but never once was I as staunch as many of his supporters, but I also know that no politician is perfect. But I remember so clearly at my friend’s bachelorette party, having an argument with a tory voter who was telling me that under Corbyn we’d have… this. Fuel shortages, higher bills, the NHS would fail. Those on the right of the political spectrum are so adept at cognitive dissonance, they miss that their worst nightmares about a labour government have come to fruition under a government so close to hard right that Johnson’s shoes are dangling over the doorway.
And the irony is that almost nobody, even right wing voters, trust this government. The anti mask, anti science fools decry their efforts as fake or a plot. Centrists say they are ineffectual at best. The left amongst us debate their debauchery, so plainly in the public’s face and yet so calmly dismissed.
Faith in governance is at a low I never thought I’d see- and yet here we, the electorate, sit. Calm in the knowledge that more and worse is to come and yet we do nothing to change it. Why? Because “that’s how it’s always been”.
Perhaps, dear readers of the UK, it’s time to stop telling ourselves this is how it’s always been, and wonder how it could be?