passive-aggressive democracy

Paul took me a little to task (me being a Labour Party member, by the by), and perhaps fairly at that too, last night.  A couple of his key tweets:

Sorry, should have said: this Labour anti-#bedroomtax thing is a gesture because they know they won’t win.

@zebrared No, I don’t mean that the Bedroom tax shouldn’t be opposed – just that they know they won’t win *this* vote.

@zebrared I’m not disagreeing with their doing it – I just want them to see that their other austerity policies are inconsistent.

@zebrared Oh, I agree. That’s why I find the anti-immigrant and pro-austerity tone in Labour so repellent. It matters.

I replied to the last one with these tweets:

@PaulbernalUK Repellent, yes; myself, inclined to feel (as I said) a wearisome lack of ambition, as well as nerve. Poss solution in latter?

@PaulbernalUK But they would have nerve if our wider democracy (us, the voters) hadn’t been so passive-aggressive over the past four years.

Many have spoken, as austerity has ramped up its control of our lives, of the lack of a coherent (read impactful) response from subjects and citizens almost everywhere.  In countries like Spain I’m talking of young people in situations of fifty percent unemployment rates.  In Britain, whilst social media has occupied itself with letting voters’ steam off, all the same the disadvantaged in society have suffered tremendously from the policy-riven attacks the government has deliberately aimed at them.

Other countries, I am sure, have suffered the same.

Yet we, the people, as a voting and thinking mass, limit ourselves to passively-aggressively denoting the decline of our economy, cultural and wider social tapestry.  We allow ourselves to be horrified, but not to any end.  We allow our governments to horrify us, even as they continue to tighten their vices (vices too, we might argue, in both senses of the word).

So what has made us so passive-aggressive?  Is it social media?  Is it the far longer reach of a comforting consumerism that has made us (kind of) weak in our perceptions and our actions?

In fact, if I continue developing such a train of thought, I’ll begin to sound like the very actors and actresses of austerity’s very own cruelties.  That they believe we are unworthy of modern life is clear.  That they believe, through their privilege, power and wealth, that the aforementioned three horsemen and women justify their own belief in themselves is also undeniable.

But even so, even with all this evidence and conclusion to hand, I am unable to draw a clear understanding of why we have become so passive-aggressive.

All I do know is that I’m pretty sure, in a latterday politics, where parties must enable as much as lead, facilitate as much as teach and allow as much as push, we, the people, have not stepped up to the gauntlet history has thrown down to us.

And for that absence of strength of mind, that lack of perspicacity, we can in no way blame parties like Labour.

A further couple of my own tweets to finish, in relation to this final issue:

@PaulbernalUK Never much been a fan of talking to politicians when they tie us down to their policies: their terrain; aggressively so. >>

@PaulbernalUK << I never believe their promises; they’ll only ever do what benefits them. But more difficult to fake tone & narrative. >>

@PaulbernalUK << Why so much tone & narrative is poor; when convincing, maybe better guarantor than policies “signed” in pre-election blood?

It comes down, as always, to a matter of trust.  We don’t trust them at all; but more seriously, our governors don’t trust us – that is to say, the people … we, the governed.

No wonder we refuse so frequently to take ownership for our hatred, as we continue to persist in hiding behind socially-networked anonymity and semi-anonymity.  Our governors, this Coalition, Cameron, Osborne & Co and all the bloody rest … they’re all doing the same to a greater or lesser degree.

Politically.  Snidely.  Passively-aggressively.

That, essentially, is what modern Western democracy’s become.

A beast which requires fulsome trust on both sides to operate properly.

A beast where trust has been vaporised by the ray-gun of modernity.

A beast where, without the trust I mention, nothing – absolutely nothing – can be done to recover an assertively productive dialogue.

It’s that assertiveness we need now; not the passive-aggressive wailing.

On both sides, too.

If only …

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