Wagner’s The Ring Cycle is proving to be an all too accurate metaphor for the political turmoil in which we now find ourselves.
At the end of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle the reign of the Gods is ended and Valhalla is destroyed. A new world order is about to emerge from the ashes …
The Brexit vote on 23rd June and Trump’s stunning victory on 8th November are proof that Wagner’s prophecy has become a reality. The rule of the liberal metropolitan elite is coming to an end and a new political reality will soon be upon us.
The challenge for the mainstream political right is to understand the new realpolitik and respond to it by becoming the champion of radical change. The voices of the forgotten and the ignored need to be heard. As Trump put it so well: “The forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no more …”
The political right need to revisit the political legacy of Thatcher and Reagan. In America Reagan positioned himself as an opponent of government: “Man is not free unless government is limited.” In the UK Thatcher proactively took on the establishment, not just within the Tory Party but in society at large.
Tories have forgotten that Thatcher believed in ongoing revolution. Thanks to ideas emanating from think-tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute, Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute for Economic Affairs, Thatcher dared her advisers to think the unthinkable and many of those ideas then became government policy. She understood better than anybody else that the whole purpose of her government was to be perpetually radical. Little wonder the establishment loathed her.
The trouble for Thatcher was that her political successor was not a believer in radical politics. The result was stasis and political disillusionment with the political right.
For a time, New Labour seemed to inspire the country but the combination of the ‘Third Way’ under Blair and pragmatic Cameronism proved disastrous. Blair and Cameron were both signed up members of the establishment. Little wonder that a sense of frustration, anger and alienation swelled up in working class communities up and down the country (the exception perhaps being London) which finally found its voice in the Brexit vote on 23rd June.
Now that Pandora’s Box has been prized open British politics will never again be the same. Voters have lost faith in the establishment and want the modern Valhalla destroyed.
Jeremy Corbyn is a symptom of this voter alienation and like Donald Trump he has created a mass movement. Unfortunately, for the modern Labour Party, he is communicating the wrong message to the wrong people. There is no empathy with, or understanding of, the aspirant working class or the lower hard pressed middle class. The angry voters of Sunderland want nothing to do with him.
The Tories are the only mainstream political party capable of taking hold of the politics of frustration and despair and turning it into the politics of hope. To do so, however, they must become a radical political movement which is prepared to slay dragons.
Power needs to be shifted from an incompetent, inefficient and out of touch state and devolved as near to the people as is possible. Radical stuff. Yet this is the moment as President Elect Trump has proved so dramatically. Valhalla is ablaze. A new dawn is breaking…