In this week’s Question Time, Farage and Brand squared off, each making it clear whom they thought was to blame for the nation’s woes. Like the broken record he is, Farage blamed immigration for every conceivable ill that might have befallen Middle England. Brand, on the other hand, blamed the politicians for letting the rich stash away large amounts of cash whilst the poor live hand-to-mouth.
Who is really to blame? In such a complex society as ours, are we really able to single out one group and place all the blame upon them? It’s easy to see that Farage’s rhetoric is hollow – he is scapegoating a minority to further his career as a populist right-winger. But does Brand really mean to say that the political classes are the only ones to blame, and that no-one else could change our ailing society?
That is the self-fulfilling prophecy at the roots of our corrupt modern politics – if we all believe strongly enough that there is nothing we can do, and that everything is the fault of ‘the bankers’ or ‘the politicians’, then it becomes a reality. If we allow it, then our political establishment will run away with itself, unchecked, unjust, and unstoppable.
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
These remarks from the very quotable Edmund Burke are all you should need to convince yourself that there is another way. Our society has been through so many changes, moving from feudalism all the way to universal suffrage. It is in our genes, in our very lifeblood to be the ‘good’ of which Burke speaks. It is for us to rail against any system which deprives individuals of their rights and liberties.
To do otherwise would be to accept a share of the blame.
So, dear reader, I put it to you: do not seek simply to blame others for what is happening to our society. Do not fall into the illusion that politics is for other people, and that you might merely watch from the sidelines. Stand for what you believe in, or else share the blame for its failure.