Saturday, 2 July 2016

The new divide in UK politics

I've long been uncomfortable with the distinction in politics between the traditional categories of 'left' and 'right'. In the aftermath of the referendum it seems to me that a new political divide is becoming apparent, one that is perhaps more visceral or emotional in character yet in many ways more relevant to the current political scene. I would characterise the two camps on either side of this divide as follows.
On the one hand there are those who believe representative democracy is superior to direct democracy (which is really just a vehicle for populism); who tend to - as Michael Gove might put it - trust 'experts' to make the right decisions and who believe strongly in the importance of international and intergovernmental cooperation.
On the other, there are those who believe that the public as a whole is more qualified to make political decisions and judgements than any individual or select group, however apparently well qualified; who are more likely to question the opinions of experts however well educated or well established in their fields they may be and who are mistrustful of people or institutions weilding large amounts of power.
Although I think that most of the people who voted the same way as me in the referendum probably fall into the first category, I have to admit that I am not sure which of the two groups I would most readily place myself in.

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