It is sensationally unfashionable to say so, but I am not sure that what is loosely called “the sovereignty of the people” is such a good thing. Since Rousseau hailed the “general will”, the history of those who have declared themselves its authentic voice has been, shall we say, patchy. The 20th century was an object lesson in the perils of populism and the autocracy and fascism it so easily leads towards.
“Out of touch”, the “political elite”, the dozy inhabitants of the “Westminster bubble”: MPs are called this and much worse. Indeed, some of them are now threatened with death and rape on a daily basis – and I hope those who encourage such threats, indirectly or otherwise, are proud of themselves.
Can you blame young, talented people who count themselves out of a political career? All the more credit, though, to those who do choose this life. Imperfect our parliamentary system may be, but it sure beats the populist babel that is the looming alternative.
Quite, quite, we can’t have the people just deciding for themselves now can we? We need that class of shining vanguards to lead them. Not anywhere, of course, in fact the direction doesn’t matter. But that those qualified to lead o so is very, yes vry, vry, important indeed.
The useful insight being that this really is how d’Ancona thinks. Thus his ability to, while wearing a pinstripe suit, write terrifyingly mainstream Wet Conservative columns for the Telegraph for years, then switch effortlessly into writing, while wearing shirt unbuttoned at the collar, terrifyingly mainstream Wet Labour columns for The Guardian.
It’s the leadership, the vanguard, of which he is a part, that matters, you see? The direction matters not one whit, only that the proles do as they are told.