The People Are Revolting... The Beginnings of a New Kind of Democracy

The People Are Revolting... The Beginnings of a New Kind of Democracy

Angela Eagle is an old school politician, someone who has been trained to keep her attentions on the inner workings of the political machine. When the results of the EU referendum surprised everyone in power she saw her moment. Old school politics is all about exploiting moments of weakness and distraction. The majority of her colleagues she hung out with in Westminster were unhappy with how their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had played his hand in the EU referendum campaign.

The spectacular implosion of the Tory leadership was a perfect moment for the opposition to strike out at the government.

Instead though Eagles and her disgruntled colleagues chose to use it as an opportunity to take the legs from under their leader.

Or so they thought.

But this is where we see the beginning of a new democracy showing itself. Modern democracy isn't actually that old - it was only in the mid 1800s that the system we are now operating in took shape. Back then there was no means for the people to communicate directly with each other or Westminster beyond the boundaries of their villages and towns. Thus they chose representatives to do it for them.

This has been the system since then. When it works it is great, but the problem always has been that those we choose to represent us often end up being far more interested in the machinations of power, and maintaining their status in Westminster with all the perks and benefits that come from working within that system, rather than challenging it.

This set-up however is now being disrupted. Because what we now have are digital communications and social media, which means we can now interact directly with Westminster and each other, and that is what Eagles camp is now feeling full force.

Whereas in the past a coup like the one Eagles is orchestrating would have been carried out by MPs, and then reported back to us after the event - leaving us powerless to do anything - what we now have is the ability to interact with it in real time.

When Eagles' camp launched a Facebook page a few days ago to share their campaign with their followers they were in for a terrible shock.

As they posted the news of her bid pretty much every comment they got back was one supporting Jeremy Corbyn.

Very quickly a hashtag started to be used #votecorbyn. In a desperate attempt to keep the show on the road the moderator deleted them all.

Then another tag showed up - thousands and thousands of them. #supportcorbyn. The moderator must have felt like King Cnut at this point as they deleted those, and a third showed up - #stillcorybn.

And today we have #didyoureallythinkthiswouldendwell.

This is the people talking. Political parties have a habit of calling those who vote for them 'supporters', but that is the wrong way round. MPs are supposed to be the supporters of those that vote them in.

To date they have gotten away with doing the things they want simply as the majority have had no way to be heard. That now though has changed. Now we are all connected into the process.

This may be a tipping point for British democracy - and if not, certainly a warning shot of what is to come.

The battle in the Labour party isn't just the battle for a new leader, it is a battle for a new kind of democracy - one where people are connected directly with government. This is disruption in action. If the government had listened to the concerns of the whole population rather than telling them what they should be thinking and feeling there would have been no 'Brexit'.

Disruption is not the problem, it is a symptom. What it points to is structural change. We are entering a new era that requires a new kind of leadership. Those that will thrive in this new era are not those that talk and spin, but those that know how to connect with those they represent.


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