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Mon Nov 30, 2020, 05:52 AM

UK: Conservatives Are Hollowing the State & Consolidating Power, Democracy Is At Stake

'The Conservatives are hollowing the state and consolidating power: democracy is at stake.' By Andrew Fisher, The Guardian, Nov. 30, 2020. While Michael Gove quotes Marxist theorists, his party is undermining the liberal principles of truth, fairness and accountability.

Earlier this year Michael Gove surprised people by quoting the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci in a speech (the 2nd time he has done so), but readers of political theory may recognise that the Tories’ strategy owes more to another student of Gramsci: the German communist activist Rudi Dutschke. He coined the term “the long march through the institutions” to describe the strategy of gaining a dominant position in each of the major institutions in society, in Gramscian terms, to gain hegemony.

The Tories started their long march in the 1980s by ripping through Britain’s socialist institutions: trade unions were shackled, publicly owned enterprise was privatised and council housing was sold off. The results were clear: a few people got very rich, poverty rose and inequality widened. No subsequent government reversed these changes, instead bolstering them. As Tony Blair said of Thatcher: “I always thought my job was to build on some of the things she had done rather than reverse them.”

Today, a generation of young people are less likely to own their own home and earn less than their parents’ generation, while paying exorbitant rents to parasitic landlords.

Having attacked the institutions of collectivism in the 1980s, the Conservatives are continuing their long march, extending it through the institutions that attempt to level the playing field – and regulate government.

They are coming for Britain’s liberal institutions: the BBC, the Electoral Commission, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the Freedom of Information Act and those pesky “activist lawyers”.

The recent appointments of David Goodhart and Jessica Butcher as EHRC commissioners are just one example of this. The commission lost 70% of its funding during George Osborne’s austerity years, but now it is being hollowed out philosophically, too. Goodhart is on record as praising the racist “hostile environment” policies that led to the Windrush scandal, while Butcher has suggested that women facing discrimination should “go ‘well come on then, I’ll show you’” rather than “go cry to someone about how you might have been gender-discriminated against”. Someone like the EHRC presumably?...

More, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/30/tories-thatcher-democracy-michael-gove-marxist-theorists

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