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Thursday, 17 November 2011


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Potential leaders are now subjected to such scrutiny that it is currently difficult to find anyone whose past can pass muster. Facebook and other social media mean that youthful indiscretions are there for all to see. The Bullingdon photo has haunted Cameron, and Clegg is famous for having known "more than thirty" ladies. (In fact, that's all I can remember about the preening nonentity.) You yourself are doing your bit to remind your public about Huhne's "lesbian turning" and fondness for green piffle.....

So yes, we are stuck with the incompetent lying liars because no genuinely fresh ideas can thrive in such a hostile media environment. The danger is of endless mediocrity and deadlock, rather than the likes of Mosley (Oswald, not his pervy offspring) galvanising the nation.

Depressing, maybe, but not as scary.

One (possibly minor) difference between Hit. and Len. is that Lenin never bothered with electoral politics (and indeed managed to lose an election held after the October revolution). The Nazis, although they never won outright, had been the largest party for a year or so before the seizure of power.

Another would be that H. took over a functioning government whereas L. stepped in where the existing order had more or less completely collapsed.

I don't draw any conclusions for today from this!

Yes, I admit my chosen analogy was rather facile, all I meant to stress was that overwhelming popularity is not necessary for the evil demagogue.

I should add also that my remarks are aimed at the well-established western democracies. The 'new kids on the block' may have lessons yet to be learned.

Also, it occurred to me last night that in some ways Churchill qualified as a demagogue in the '30s but fortunately 'he was our sort of demagogue, old boy'!

"If indeed that is a lesson that has been learned it is one of great importance indicating, as it would do, that the public, or some of them, are beginning to understand politics."

I think you are right and the people we should now fear are the tireless grinders, those who take away our freedoms bit by bit.

I can only 'hope' I am right, AK!

If Churchill was a demagogue, he wasn't an enormously successful one, in the sense that he won only one general election (1951) and that by the skin of his teeth when he was well past his best.

I think his attachment to old fashioned liberalism and fair play rather rule him out as a demagogue - 'our sort of demagogue', perhaps indeed.

Of course, you're quite right, 'H', but his habit of posing ultra simply solutions to complex problems plus his oratory gives him a flavour.

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