Saturday, December 11, 2004

Vive L'Empereur, Blair III!

No, this isn't a Bushitler line of argument. Continuing with my digression into French political history - extremely illuminating I must say - I have been reding about Louis Napoleon - Emperor Napoleon III as he preferred to style himself.

His, curiously, as an Empire marked by managed widespread suffrage, millions had the vote beyond the small economic elite, but government power was used to try an channel the vote down lines preferred by the Emperor.

Notable, Napoleon didn't have what you may term a civil society base. He didn't depend on the army, the unions, a political party or any sort of social grouping to really hold him in power, he was the state, a state subject to occaisional confirmatory referendums. The archetypal benign dictator, really.

The similarity to Blair? Well, for starters, although he ame to power through teh Labour party, Blair has always repudiated it and it's civil affiliates as a base. He has always sought to represent 'the whole nation' thus all sections of society and none. He tries to rule presidentially, and relies on widespread support in the country - his personal popularity - to maintain himself in office.

Like Napoleon's Minister Rouhrer, most of Blair's ministers are not statesmen as such, but loyalists to his regime, preferring to keep Blair in power than strike out and forge a path of their own.

Napoleon fell because there was no basis of principle to his government - he tried to please all - it relied on information channelling to the centre, rather than on activity throughout the system. All it takes is a small misjudgement, and that popularity can wither away very swiftly, all those functionaries have no investment in the regime, they will serve the next to come along.


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