One of the characteristics of Tony Blair and New Labour was a delusional belief in their own intelligence and abilities. He and his cronies really did think they could open up the bonnet of the United Kingdom and rearrange the engine and gearbox so that it worked better. However, it soon became apparent they had no idea what they were doing. For example:
In 2003, Tony Blair chose his close friend and former flatmate Lord Falconer to be Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. At the same time, he announced his intention to abolish the office of Lord Chancellor and to make many other constitutional reforms. After much surprise and confusion, it became clear that the ancient office of Lord Chancellor could not be abolished without an Act of Parliament. Thus Lord Falconer duly appeared the following day in the House of Lords to carry out his duties from the Woolsack.
What is lacking in modern politicians is any sense of humility, the notion that perhaps things are that way for a reason and don’t need “improvement” from some grifter of average intelligence.
From 1911 to 2011, a British Prime Minister was allowed to call a general election at any time prior to the 5-year term limit. This meant that a government could, if they wished, go back to the public to confirm their mandate without having to wait in limbo until the 5 years were up. This seemed to work pretty well: early elections weren’t a feature of British political life, and we were mercifully free of constitutional crises.
Then in 2011 those two towering statesmen David Cameron and Nick Clegg introduced the Fixed Term Parliament Act, for reasons which could hardly be described as pressing. This removed the ability of a Prime Minister to call a general election, instead requiring a vote of no confidence or a two-third Commons vote. Fast forward to September 2019, and we have a Prime Minister who controls neither his own party nor parliament unable to move forward with his legislative agenda. The public have made their preferences clear, but parliament is defying both them and the government. Before the Fixed Term Parliament Act Boris Johnson could simply have called a general election, to secure a mandate for delivering Brexit (or not). But now he’s stuck: he can’t secure a two-thirds majority because the last thing these MPs want is to go before an angry public, and nobody is putting forward a vote of no confidence. So unless the antics of Jacob Rees-Mogg goads them into doing so, or Johnson somehow organises a no confidence vote against himself, we’re just stuck in deadlock.
This is the problem with modern politicians. They arrive in a bubble of hubris and set about meddling with things they know nothing about, consequences be damned. Regardless of your views on Brexit, it is revealing how utterly bereft of brains or talent our political classes have been for years.