A politics out of time

26 Jul 2013
Description

“THINGS fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” W.B. Yeats’s line retains its grace and gravity even after being used for decades as a convenient signifier of political melodrama. From the same haunting poem – “The Second Coming,” published in 1920 – generations of British statesmen have purloined a fleeting lustre that also suited their above-the-fray self-image. (“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity” was a favourite during the thirty-year conflict in Northern Ireland.)

If the atmospherics are any guide, Britain has entered another “Yeats moment,” a time when perceptions of crisis in the architecture of the political system are coalescing. The inability of parties and governments to deliver on their promises, the subordination of parliament to private interests, the gap between a cloistered Westminster and a restless society, the sense of a privileged elite gorging on the illicit benefits of power while millions of playing-by-the-book citizens struggle – it’s a picture that leads many observers to the conclusion that, beneath the surface drama and noise, the deep structures of British politics are eroding…

Photo: Dani Sardà i Lizaran/ Flickr

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Photo: Dani Sardà i Lizaran/ Flickr
Photo: Dani Sardà i Lizaran/ Flickr

Photo: Dani Sardà i Lizaran/ Flickr

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Published year only: 
2013
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