Representatives In Name Only

One puzzling thing about Craig Kelly (whom I was highlighting yesterday) is that here is a politician who doesn’t represent at least some of the people in his Australian parliamentary constituency. He actually hates quite a few of them. And he doesn’t mind saying so.

What kind of politician is it who hates a great many of his constituents? Surely politics is very much a business of trying to win as many votes as possible, and therefore appealing to as many people as possible? Surely you don’t want to alienate anybody?

But maybe politics doesn’t work that way any more. Increasingly these days, more or less everywhere, politicians are interchangeable with each other. They are simply a bunch of people (in the UK, about 650 people) who get elected to enact laws in parliament. They will all nominally belong to one party or other – Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, etc – but they will quite often change their party allegiance on the spur of the moment. So, for example, Douglas Carswell changed from Conservative to UKIP. And in the USA there are RINOs – Republicans In Name Only – who will not behave like Republicans at all once elected.

And organisations like ASH (and not just ASH but any number of others) spend a great deal of their time lobbying these 650 politicians. They wine them and dine them, even send them on holidays.  These lobbyists seem to act together to shape the climate of opinion in parliament and in the mainstream media that reports on parliament. It’s well worth reading Deborah Arnott describing in Smoke And Mirrors how it’s done.

It makes perfect sense for lobbyists to do this. No need to change public perception: all you need do is to change the perception of a mere 650 people who inhabit one single building in London. And you do it by creating an artificial world in which all the people around them are antismoking, environmentally conscious, global warming alarmists who are in favour of gay marriage, transgender restrooms, and Wahhabi Islam. MPs in parliament are probably the most highly propagandised people in the country. It may even be that the lobbying organisations surrounding them have come to agreements with each other, so that there is a separate “lobbyists’ parliament” where these agreements are worked out, so that they all sing from the same hymn sheet. And it’s a hymn sheet which is increasingly at odds with what Joe Public thinks.

In the USA it’s called The Swamp, and Donald Trump was elected on a promise to Drain The Swamp, and restrict the power of lobbyist groups in influencing legislation. It remains very much open to question whether he has made any progress at all in this respect. Some people think that he has been sucked into the swamp. And in the case of the President of the United States, instead of 650 people whose opinions must be shaped, there is just one. And a lot of US politics right now seems to be all about who is going to be the opinion-shaping advisors who surround Donald Trump. It’s probably much easier to control the opinions of one man, simply by feeding him selective information, than it is to influence 650 (or however many people there are in the Senate and House).

The mainstream media also have a large part in shaping opinion in parliament, because they are the mirror in which politicians see themselves. And so it’s natural that the lobby groups are as influential in the MSM (e.g. the BBC) as they are in the legislature. In fact, the principal role of the MSM may not be so much to shape public opinion as to shape opinion of the few elected members inside the legislature. MPs and Senators and Congressmen all live inside a lobbyist media bubble.

And it may not matter who gets elected to the legislature, because once they have entered that bubble, their opinions will rapidly come to be shaped just like pebbles in a stream, having the rough individual edges worn off them, and turned into nicely rounded and easily-compliant yes-men. So within a year or two of entering parliament, and learned the ropes, they’ll be something completely different from what they were when they first came in. They’ll have become Representatives In Name Only.

One consequence of this process is that the climate of opinion inside the legislature begins to diverge from public opinion outside it – because the general public are not as highly propagandised as their representatives inside the legislature. And so politicians – of all parties – lose public esteem. They are increasingly felt to not represent the voters. And this is because they actually don’t. They have become the captives of lobby groups, and are doing their bidding instead of that of the voters.

Craig Kelly, as an MP in the Australian parliament, which has only 150 members, may be an example a complete captive politician. He’s been an MP for seven years, so there’s been plenty of time. It’s probably much easier to shape the opinions of 150 people than 650 people. And that may be why the Australian government is so politically correct, and why Kelly is an antismoking zealot. There are only 120 MPs in the New Zealand parliament. And by all accounts New Zealand is correspondingly more politically correct.  It’s easier to subvert small parliaments than large ones. Or it can be done more quickly.

Craig Kelly is now almost an anti-politician. He can openly express his hatred and contempt for large numbers of the constituents he supposedly represents – the smokers – whose lives he wants to make horrible for them. He almost certainly has hatred and contempt for all his constituents. But it won’t matter if he doesn’t get re-elected when his constituents discover this, because whoever succeeds him will become identical to him once he has in turn been “processed”. It won’t matter if the new elected member is a member of the Tea Party, or UKIP, or AfD: all are soon converted into compliant politicians who can be relied upon to do the lobbyists’ bidding.

I’ve sketched out here a rather dystopian vision of the state of contemporary politics in the Western world. It’s one of rule by special interest groups. The public have been locked out. The representatives who are supposed to speak for them are bribed, blackmailed, browbeaten, and kept in an artificial environment in which opinions are very tightly controlled. I can’t see any other explanation for the growing divergence of opinion between legislatures and electorates except that they inhabit very different worlds.

In the extreme, legislatures everywhere will be entirely filled with “representatives” who openly hate all the people who elected them, and work to “make life horrible” for all of them.

One solution – perhaps the only solution – might be to throw out every single elected member of the existing legislatures, and replace them with a new membership whose very first act, before they can be “processed”, will be to stop the influence of lobby organisations, so that the opinion in the legislature once again reflects the opinion of the people.

About the archivist

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Representatives In Name Only

  1. Dirk says: about the air quality in airplanes before the smoking ban

  2. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Excellent and accurate description of the smug groupthink of our exalted infallible ‘rulers’, the Swamp, and RINOs Frank, even if dystopian. 👏

    I checked the contemptible quotes attributed to the obese nonentity Craig Kelly, MHR, and conclude grounds exist to refer him to the Speaker of the House of Representatives seeking that he be disciplined for breaching the Parliamentary Code of Conduct, and recused from any role concerning tobacco regulation on the basis of demonstrated discriminatory bias.
    This abusive elected official, like many other public healthists who belatedly deserve their comeuppance, should be held accountable, preferably using the same heavy handed anti free speech legislation Kelly and his ilk have passed.
    I shall provide an update on my success or otherwise later this week.
    NB: there are 150 members of the House of Representatives but also 76 Senators. The only one I would give the time of day to is Senator David Leyonhjelm, a classic libertarian.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I shall provide an update on my success or otherwise later this week.

      I look forward to it.

      • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

        I asked my well informed free choice and smoker friendly contacts at Civil Liberties Australia (, who spend many hours at Parliament Hse lobbying against the many Bully State laws enacted there. They have bigger fish to fry so would be unwilling to send a CLA request that Mr C Kelly MHR be reminded of his duty to his constituents, and to objectively assess issues without preconceived bias.
        An option could be making a submission to the tobacco control committee, although they must follow protocols and tend to be ignored unless endorsing the prevailing tobacco control orthodoxy (only the right lobbyists are heeded).😐

        • Frank Davis says:

          They have bigger fish to fry

          What bigger fish, for example? I can’t see a bigger fish to fry than Craig Kelly right now.

        • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

          I found the email address for the Secretary of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement and have drafted a message which I shall send tonight. CLA is currently fully occupied with other Big Fish including hysterical counter terrorism and mass surveillance submissions.🐋

  3. Emily says:

    OT but I’ve been reading a book about the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 in the Andes in 1972. There is a lot of mention of smoking in the book and I wonder how much cigarettes played a part in keeping the survivors’ spirits up and whether they would have made it out of there without tobacco:

    There were two further matters which continually preoccupied them. The first was cigarettes. Parrado, Canessa and Vizintin were the only non-smokers among them. Zerbino had not smoked before but had taken it up on the mountain. The rest were all heavy smokers, and because of the added stress of the conditions in which they were living they would all have liked to smoke even more than they were used to.

    It so happened that there was no real shortage of cigarettes. Javier Methol and Pancho Abal, who had both worked for a tobacco company and knew of the shortage of tobacco in Chile, had come loaded with cartons of Uruguayan cigarettes. All the same, there was rationing. One packet of twenty had to last each boy for two days and most managed to exercise sufficient control over themselves to space the ten cigarettes through the day. The feckless, however, —especially Inciarte and Delgado, —would finish their packet on the first day and find themselves with nothing to smoke on the second. Their only chance in such a situation was either to get their future ration in advance or to scrounge cigarettes from the more provident.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      I am thinking of starting an organisation called, drum roll,

      Action on Smokerphobia and Hate.

      I think it has a nice acronym which is a bonus!

      • RdM says:

        How about Hatred instead of Hate?

        “The emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action”

        Just a thought. Subtle difference. I’m not quite sure why it appeals more, but perhaps because it’s purely a noun, whereas hate can be a verb as well.

        • margo says:

          I’m inclined to agree, RdM.

        • RdM says:

          Thanks, Margo.
          Actually I’m tired of the usual jumped up ‘public health’ upstarts demanding Action On everything they can think of that suits their agenda… And this or that!

          How about simply Against?
          And maybe Smokerphobic instead of Smokophobia.
          So Against Smokerphobic Hatred (or Hate)

          Or better yet Against Smokerphobic Harassment.
          But maybe phobic is redundant.
          Against Smoker Hatred or Against Smoking Hatred (or Hate). Or just
          Against Smoker Harassment.

          Which is very sensibly where NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.) came in.

          I need to lie down… ;=})

    • Lepercolonist says:

      I remember reading ‘Alive’ by Pier Paul Read while in college. One of the best books I have ever read. It seemed like fiction, unbelievable courage to survive in the Andes.

    • RdM says:

      Yeah. I’d imagine a great part in keeping spirits (and body) up, and there is discussion on some mountaineers finding it useful too.
      Whether alive without… I’d suspect maybe not, or less chance, but moot.

      I can look back on a difficult more youthful time in my life, and wonder if I’d have made it out of there if I’d been forcibly restrained from buying or otherwise accessing tobacco as well, over those many isolated months.

      It certainly enabled a perspective on life that was positive, helpful, an inner view.

      Well written & researched non-fiction historical & or biographical accounts can be great reads!
      I’ve been going through some new acquisitions slowly myself, recently. ;=})

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.