On yesterday’s BBC Any Answers, an angry caller shared his wish that Oliver Cromwell could be brought back from the dead because Britain now needed leadership which MPs patently could not provide. The scary thing is that I find it hard to argue with the latter point, even if it leads me to the conclusion the only possible resolution can come from a general election and a new parliament rather than the suspension of democracy. It led the presenter to invite, in all seriousness, people to call in “if you are for or against dictatorship”.
I found myself pondering yesterday how, in a different political context, we are entering a stage where there would be serious risk of a military coup. For avoidance of doubt, I see no evidence that is a possibility in our present situation. But in a way this underscores the existential torpor that British politics is entering into: an unwinding without end, a blockage that can never be cleared and a crisis without resolution. I don’t see any meaningful possibility that Britain will become a dictatorship but I do think the conditions for this authoritarian right-wing turn have been germinating for decades, with its flowering being sufficient to ensure that a crisis-ridden UK becomes an ever more unpleasant place in which to be.
Beyond everything else, this is the basis for my support for the Corbyn project. It is the only place I can find hope of something other than a dark and hateful decline for the country in which I was born. The political future here is Corbynism or barbarism.