It seems to me that, for many years now, an over emphasis on catering to personal preferences and the cult of individualism has led to a fracturing of what was formally known as social cohesion. The broadening of the political spectrum within and without the old three party structure of UK politics is in my estimation one of the myriad consequences of this schism.
I am not saying that this is, de facto, a negative outcome but it seems to be a tenet of the new social paradigm that all views have an equal right to be heard no matter how extreme or obtuse. Whatever your viewpoint, there is a home for you somewhere online where your often ill-informed and prejudiced rantings will be supported and reinforced by a group of like-minded denizens of their mother’s basements. The most disturbing feature of this new politics is how it has also contaminated the parties that used to be in the centre albeit slightly left or right. Reinforcing ideological policymaking and reversing decades of progress towards a truly participative evidence based democratic system of government that works for the many over the few.
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Video © Comedy Central
Historically this could be managed by the vast bulk of society ‘understanding’ that such views are racist or undemocratic or whatever the issue might be but today that ‘bulk’ is no longer a cohesive whole. Consequently politics has become ‘noisy’ and off-putting to the silent majority; leading in part, I believe, to a decrease in political participation at elections and the apparent rise of extreme parties and groups without formal structures (e.g. Anonymous) appearing to be more representative of the people’s opinion than would otherwise be the case.
The rise of UKIP is in part a result of this atomisation. The ability of UKIP to decide the policies of the two leading parties even though their support had until very recently been minuscule is a perversion of the principles of democracy.
All views have some value to the person expressing them but an extremist minority that espouses purist ideological beliefs honed in the cauldron of the groupthink echo chamber should never be allowed to determine the course of an entire nation.
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