My friend Tim, who's a great worrier and perpetually perplexed about life in general but politics in particular, shared The Guardian's editorial about John Major's criticism of Johnson on his Facebook page (he doesn't Tweet), lamenting the lack of trust in government that Johnson's responsible for. To be fair, Johnson didn't mess things up all by himself. One of Tim's other friends commented that the Tory Party's lost its way over the last 125 years, his having read a biography of Churchill recently, adding references to Lloyd George, who most young people have never heard of, and the Labour Party's failure to make the most of its post-war opportunities. He didn't mention the NHS, education or welfare. It was a bit like the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, and I visualised him in his armchair, all set to deliver a lesson from history, not having learned much from it at all.
The first democracy, in 5th century BCE Athens, allowed any citizen, apart from women or slaves, to vote on any proposed new law, but they had to turn up at the assembly and vote in person. If they didn't, and didn't like the new law, that was just too bad. Of course that's impractical now, even without the discrimination, but there were no parties in that democracy, though alliances would have been formed in the preliminary discussions. The system relied on the voters being informed, which is also much more difficult now, with so many conflicting points of view from so many sources. Political parties were founded to represent the interests of the different social classes at the time, and those have changed. Now they're a hindrance to true democracy, making it almost impossible for any independent thinkers to be elected while ideologues dominate the discourse.
Anyway, for what it's worth, which isn't much, since I'm resigned to the prospect of our politicians blundering on without achieving any radical change, this was my comment. What it boils down to is that we're stuck with a political system that doesn't work.
There's no point raking up past history in the current circumstances, though it's important for those who haven't lived through it to know about it. What's urgently needed now, for many reasons, including the prospect of catastrophic climate change that's barely been addressed, is sorting out our antedeluvian political system. Party politics, when party membership has plummeted and is mostly composed of ideologues with a slim grasp of reality, inevitably results in small groups nominating incompetents like Johnson, for all the wrong reasons. It's not surprising that a huge proportion of the electorate is disillusioned and I hear many people who, like me, don't feel inclined to vote for any of them.
The party political system isn't fit for purpose, nor is our electoral system, and I fear that if this isn't recognised and dealt with we can look forward to more of the same, whether or not Johnson's ostensibly in charge. It could be better without him, though that depends on his replacement. Most of us won't get a choice about that.
This is the link that Tim meant to share, John Major's view of the situation.