This motion is only needed because there have been calls to suspend parliament. The fact that there is even talk of suspending parliament should scare everyone, even those on the side of Britain exiting the European Union. Their argument was that we should wrestle back sovereignty from Europe, not give it to an elite group of self serving politicians. Suspending parliament is not acceptable under any circumstance. That’s us slipping and sliding, scrambling and scuffing, open eyed towards totalitarianism. But that’s what happens when the world gets complicated, filled with nuance, and leaders frame every argument as a binary choice. I considered exactly this “totalitarian mindset” when I was working on one of my characters for Carr-10-n. This is an extract from something I wrote in 2013.
So the question I’m really asking is; what kind of person is attracted to totalitarianism? To answer that question you first need to ask; what allows totalitarianism to flourish? The short answer is uncertainty. In his paper “How to make enemies and inﬂuence people” (2) Alfonso Montuori characterises the “totalitarian mindset” as a response to the stress of contemporary pluralism. Basically we live in complex times full of ambiguity and uncertainty. We feel threatened. And when we’re backed into a corner we have a tendency to succumb to “simplistic, black-and-white solutions.” Montuori goes on to note that “individuals all over the world have sought relief from the uncertainty of a pluralistic world in the arms of absolute belief systems of a religious fundamentalist and/or political/nationalistic nature.”2013/02/08
If that doesn’t describe the current mess nothing does. Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for a “muddy” position on Britain exiting the European Union. But muddy’s what we need. We need nuance not black and white choices. Black and white choices are what got us here in the first place. There are no easy answers in any of this, but sleepwalking a totalitarian government into office is not the answer.