A report out today confirms what has motivated the independence movement for years: the realisation that Britain is an archaic, centralised society based on privilege and the hereditary principle that closes doors to the many and paves the way for the few. A new report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission which studies the backgrounds of more than 4,000 business, political, media and public sector leaders, describes the UK as ‘deeply elitist’. It outlines how small elites, educated at independent schools and Oxbridge, still dominate top roles, and that these key institutions do not represent the public they serve.

This is a Zombie Nation, ruled by hereditary principle, behind closed doors, away from the light of day and the honesty of open and equal competition based on merit.

The commission says its findings are based on one of the most detailed analyses of its type ever undertaken.

It found that those who had attended fee-paying schools included:

  • 71% of senior judges
  • 62% of senior armed forces officers
  • 55% of permanent secretaries (the most senior civil servants)
  • 53% of senior diplomats.

While just 1% of the population were Oxbridge graduates, 75% of senior judges, 59% of the cabinet, and, amazingly 47% of newspaper columnists went to Oxford or Cambridge.

This elitism leaves “leading institutions less informed, less representative and, ultimately, less credible than they should be”, meaning they focus “on issues that are of salience only to a minority but not the majority in society”.

This won’t be a surprise to many people, but it does destroy the case for ‘business as usual’, it does smash the case for complacency that is ‘UK:OK’. Read the report ‘Elitist Britain’ here (pdf). 

But Britain is ruled by the Undead in more ways than the stultifying manner in which the elite blocks the path to meritocracy. The entire image and identity of Anglo-Britain is based  on looking backwards to past glory; it’s the driving force behind its militarism and it’s the psychological driver behind the obsession with Trident. A country committed to WMD is a country enthralled to a death-cult.

This Culture of the Undead is why the Better Together campaign has been so incapable of presenting a future-looking prospect for the UK.  It’s why we still venerate the celebrity feudalism of the monarchy. It’s why Ian Duncan Smith is allowed to take us back to the Victorian era of poor laws, and why the long-ago-abandoned House of Lords reform leave us stranded in a hereditary democracy. It’s why half of the country’s privately owned land is held by just 432 owners and a mere 16 owners hold 10% of Scotland: this is a zombie culture.

Behind the closed doors of the elite is the place where the culture of backhand deals are done, where expenses are brushed through, where celebrity sexual abuse remains unexamined, where key institutions like the police, the media and military are allowed to carry on unchecked and where deregulation allows the bankers, spivs and speculators to trash the economy.

The time for breaking down the door of elite rule is long past. Independence represents the best opportunity to begin to transform this dead culture of privilege.

This is expressed in how we do politics too. How closed party machines rule Westminster. It’s a vision that has been handed over wholesale to Labour to front, define and articulate, after the assumption that the Tory brand was too toxic for the task. The truth is that post-Blair we have been handed Brown’s Britain, patented slogan: ‘Better Yesterday’.
As Tom Nairn has put it:
Brown was not of course elected, parachuted from On High, or installed by an indignant mob: over many years he materialized in fits and starts, glimpsed intermittently like a ghost from times past, brooding but saying almost nothing. Then suddenly the spirit was there, seated all too comfortably in the Anglo-Brit living room, account-books and Britannic sermons to hand. The armchair’s previous occupant had left for Jerusalem. Such is death in life.”
Since then David Cameron has been resplendent in Olympic and Jubilee ceremonial, testimony to the past and Chief Celebrant of the Undead. It’s time for a real live democracy.