The Westminster Bubble Disconnect

Politicians and the media inhabit a different world. While this is a huge generalisation and as with all things applies in varying degrees, events this week around the EU referendum, the elections for London Mayor and all the devolved assemblies irrefutably highlight this much expressed complaint and the further widening rift between what drives the elected and the demands of the electorate.

The demand for UK steel has declined with a glut of cheap dumping in the market.  The industry across England and Wales is in danger of closure and with so many livelihoods at stake and so many people in a real crisis, the focus of media attention has already shifted to other stories and other matters as politicians campaign to their own ends. This is the Westminster Bubble, an insular environment where the outside world is not seen but merely reflected by the actions of those within. Those on the outside of the Bubble are of no real value but are too numerous a presence to completely ignore. CCTV and surveillance proliferate to help manage the mob which to those being watched, simply emphasises the mistrust and paranoia felt by those on the inside, and rightly so, people are out-to-get-them.

The recent leak of documents from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca is just such an attack. Amongst its may revelations, the antics and goings-on within the Westminster Bubble have been brought to light. Whether it is finance, employment, education, health, public transport or whatever service essential to those on the outside in the real world, those playing games within are indeed disconnected. Some borders and boundaries are fixed and easy to recognise. There are signs when crossing across counties or moving between Nations. It is drawn on the map.

Boundaries and red lines and gateways.

Other boundaries can’t be drawn and are hard to define. They exist in the mind and manifest themselves though action and discussion. However, when these boundaries are projected into the real world as shown with the lack of true concern for British streel workers, then we are all in trouble.

And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.

Margaret Thatcher, October 31st 1987

It is no surprise that Donald Trump or Nigel Farage are winning popular support when they attack the Bubbles. That they themselves are on the inside makes their actions seem rather cynical, but the effectiveness of simply drinking beer, smoking fags and eating Greggs’ sausage rolls means that we must all enjoy irony.  These seem cold and compassionate-less times, maybe colder still when the furnaces go out.

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