Something is happening in more than a few Western governments that is breaking the norms and boundaries of orthodox governance. Quite what this phenomena is or how it gained such traction in a relatively short space of time is yet to be fully understood but we might identify it as something akin to a triumph of social insecurity and populist reaction over the substance of deeper and more appropriate affairs of state.
The British government has been gripped by a combination of these phenomena. On the one hand we are discovering on a daily basis that just about every official in Westminster is a depraved, sex-searching predator and allegations and accusations are flowing freely from all points of the political compass. In this matter it strikes me that somehow a door has been opened - whether by deliberate acts or by sheer momentum in the wake of the Weinstein revelations in the US and elsewhere - which shows that there is a concerted attempt to shift the focus of government attention. On the other hand, we are witnessing a shabby and shameful political process within the government on implementing survival and succession techniques rather than on governing for the well-being of the nation it should be serving.
The two elements of ‘the phenomena’ are not entirely disconnected. The first has begat the second and this stirs the curious mind into wondering whether there is some orchestration of this happening in order to meet a desired political outcome. Something of a conspiracy theory some might retort and, in truth, it is. But why would a conspiracy theory be so outrageous ? Let me framework a thought or two around this notion.
Brexit, for example, is not running to the tune of the government. It is, in fact, running very badly for the government and is causing at a minimum a few headaches and at a maximum a disastrous political and economic outcome that will leave the EU laughing all the way to its Swiss bank accounts. So what might a strategist do to divert attention ? What might that strategist also do to expunge a number of Eurosceptic MP’s from the Commons in order for the PM to regain some measure of credence and authority over her party ? Let us link these two questions with the so called ‘dirty dossier’ that has allegedly been drawn up with government approval to oust so called predator MP’s from government without it looking like an act associated with an ailing Brexit strategy. And what might the outcome be, we could wonder ? We are already seeing it. Michael Fallon has felt obliged to go, Damian Green may be the next and who knows who else might be on the skids very shortly. There is a purge going on under the guise of eradicating some bizarre sexual misconduct amongst the Westminster crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, I hold no truck with many in Westminster and eagerly await the day when proportional representation awards MP’s their seat rather than by this arcane and privileged system we currently employ. Neither do I endorse any genuine sexual misconduct - that truly does need to be expunged. What I’m not sure about is that the sexual misconduct issue is truly unrelated to the government’s need to divert attention from a dire political position on Brexit and its equal desire to survive and sustain its political capital in time to succeed at the next general election.
If any of this were to be the case rather than my speculation, what a grim state of affairs it would be where governance was a matter of an elite club ensuring continuity and in doing so employing very seedy methods to accomplish it. I hope I am wrong in this....but I do have a persistent niggle at the back of my mind that somewhere in this theory there are some grains of reality.