Democracy muzzled | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Democracy muzzled

The long retreat of law, reason and freedom has now turned into a rout. It was caused by many things: the mob hysteria which flowered after the death of Princess Diana; the evisceration of education; the spread of intolerant speech codes designed to impose a single opinion on the academy and journalism; the incessant state-sponsored panics over terror; the collapse and decay of institutions and traditions.

These have all at last flowed together into a single force, and we seem powerless against it. Absurdly, the moment at which they have achieved maximum power is accidental, a wild, out of-proportion panic response to a real but limited epidemic.

Outside total war and its obscenities, we have not seen what we are living through now. To list the constitutional events of the last few months is to ask the complacent chattering classes of Britain what it reminds them of: the neutering of parliament into a rubber stamp controlled by the executive; the death of political pluralism; the introduction of government by decree; the disappearance of the last traces of an independent civil service; the silence in the face of these events of media and courts; the subjection of the police to state edicts rather than to law.

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