Sunday, 8 May 2011

Oh. No...

In case you haven't noticed, the British people just gave a resounding 'No' vote to voting reform, and in particular the replacement of our first-past-the-post system with the Alternative Vote (AV). That's quite interesting in itself, but what was more interesting was to hear the whinings of the high-profile champions of the defeated 'Yes' campaign on the radio and TV, telling us how we've missed a great opportunity but they were still right all along and will keep on chipping away at us until they get the result they want.
Hang on a minute - I thought this was a democracy, and the people just spoke.
It was an overwhelming and decisive 'No' vote and that surely should settle the matter once and for all. Or are we still back in the bad old days of the European referendums where more than once they've simply rerun the vote because they didn't get the answer they wanted the first time? How inconsiderate of the people to cause problems for their politicians.
Not this time, though. That's it guys, game over. Nobody wanted it. Let it go - and let's get on with more important things.
Why do I say that? Because the outcome of this referendum reveals two things. First, that quite a number of our politicians are still hopelessly out of touch with the will and desires of the people they say they represent. But we already knew that.
Secondly however the referendum shows us something else.
It shows us that the people spoke. They didn't do what the politicans told them to do. They made their own minds up. They saw through the arguments of the experts and leaders who pushed them into a referendum they didn't want, and they confounded them.
If you look at the trends in our society I believe we're going to see this more and more. This isn't like the days of old. This is the internet generation, the day of wikileaks revelations, of bloggers saying what the establishment won't, and of rebels tweeting to the world things their governments desperately want to suppress. More and more people now are thinking for themselves, gathering their own information and coming to their own conclusions. The establishment don't like this very much but it's too late, the genie is out of the bottle and no amount of frenzied cork-pushing is going to set things back to the nice, safe, predictable way they were before.
What we've just seen in the UK is, I believe, a microcosm of this. For the last ten years successive governments have been wringing their hands at the loss of the British identity. "What is Britishness?" they cried. "Where did it go? When did we lose it? How can we bring it back?" Well guess what boys, it's been a long dark night but I think there's a glow on the horizon.
For the last two and a half generations we've lost our way. Blown by every wind of thought and political doctrine we've put up with every kind of social experimentation. We've seen liberalism fail. We've tried the science-will-solve-all-your-problems 'White Heat of Technology'. That was supposed to give us a three-day working week and the paperless office, remember? We've tried liberal parenting and that gave us drink-fuelled thuggery and the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. We've tried secular humanism and it cost us our soul. We've tried immigration, importing others to do the lowly jobs Britons didn't want. They did them, and did them so well that we now bemoan their prosperity and success. We've tried both left-wing and right-wing economic and political dogma, both promising utopian success but leaving a twisted legacy of chaos. We've messed with the schools and the health service so many times we've forgotten what they are for. We've built tower blocks and torn them down again because they don't work. And most recently we've swallowed the line that if you live beyond your means and pile up the debt then the economy will keep growing forever and we'll all be fine. Instead, we got the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
But something is happening in Britain. People are waking up and asking their own questions. They are beginning to make up their own minds about who they are and what they want. Like glimpses of sun between the clouds, when I read between the lines I see Britishness coming back. That sense of honesty, justice and fair-play. That sense of compassion for the less fortunate. That sense of moral obligation to step in and help, to stand for what's right and to sacrifice if need be to see truth win out in the end. More than anywhere else I see this in the young, and that gives me hope.
Yes, we still have criminals and idiots (some on the streets and some in high office). We still have news reports of hideous crimes and acts of the grossest evil. But behind it all, if you have the eyes to see, things are changing for the better. We're rediscovering our spirituality. We're rediscovering our own inherent value and dignity. We're rediscovering who we are.
You might not be able to see it yet, but I do. Britain is changing. Revival is coming, people, and we need to get ready to embrace it.


  1. Although a tad verbose, an extremely well written post. A tear came to my eye when I read the last bit starting at: "Like glimpses of sun between the clouds..."

    Thank you.

  2. A tad verbose? It must be because I'm British...
    Nice to know you're still reading, Tom.

  3. Don't blame your British"ness"! Just joking. Americans are so "dumbed down" when it comes to reading unless it fits in tweet (140 characters of less) we think its too long. Keep writing.