It’s no surprise that many Britons prefer a Chinese-style ‘dictatorship’ to the current chaos — RT World News

Western pundits may believe Britain’s chaotic democracy is ‘healthier’ than China’s heavy-handed leadership model, but many people don’t think so

By Timur Fomenkopolitical analyst

It has been a very eventful week in British politics, even by modern chaotic standards. Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned 45 days into her term, to be replaced by her former leadership rival Rishi Sunak.

On the other side of the globe, China concluded its 20th National Party Congress, which saw leader Xi Jinping reappointed to an unprecedented third term. The mainstream media likes to say he’s the « The most powerful Chinese leader since Mao. »

And unsurprisingly, there was a concentrated effort in the Western press to cast as negative a light as possible on China throughout the event. This led to the publication of an extraordinary article in The Times of London by columnist Dominic Lawson, who, reflecting on recent events in Britain and China, insisted: « Our chaos is healthier than China’s ‘harmony’, » while its subtitle complained that « too many Brits would trade a messy democracy for a dictatorship. » The article cites a poll which shows that 46% of Britons would prefer « a strong leader who doesn’t have to worry about parliament/elections » – in other words, « a form of dictatorship » – to the current tumultuous state of the country.

For him, and no doubt for many others, to stick to democracy on « China’s model is a matter of common sense. It should be noted that China has given no indication that it wants its model imposed on Britain, and in practice the idea of ​​doing so is inconceivable. It’s just a matter of fact that Communism is incomprehensible in British political culture where classical freedom takes precedence, and if you ask 90% of the population, the answer will be the same.

But this focus on ideological preference avoids the elephant in the room, i.e., is Britain’s political system up to its people, unlike China’s? Seen in this light, the answer is a clear and resounding « no », which immediately raises the question of whether « Britain’s Chaos » is really better than « The Harmony of China » even if one can argue for the former for reasons of principle.

While China has had its own periods of « chaos », such as Mao’s Cultural Revolution, China’s post-Mao consensus since « reform and openness » started in 1978 was to preserve political stability with the aim of accelerating economic development, thus placing pragmatism above ideological dogma. And whether you like the Communist Party or not, it has been a success from a historical point of view.

China has gone from being one of the poorest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of just $60 in 1960, to almost $12,000 at the start of 2022 (now surpassing some countries in Europe). Its GDP as a whole has become the second largest in the world and surpassed the European Union total in 2021. Likewise, its average life expectancy has risen from a shockingly low 34 years in 1950 to more than 76 in 2021. This also overtook the United States, which fell due to the massive death toll inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Xi re-elected as leader of the Communist Party of China

Given this, Communist Party supporters will argue that the Chinese model has worked better for China’s circumstances and, as the old saying goes, « if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. » Why would China need to consider a British model of democracy, when all the indicators from the UK itself increasingly show that this system is not working, even for its own circumstances? Britons might be able to vote for their leaders, but the disastrous performance of the recent government, jumping from leader to leader, making ill-conceived policy choices based on ideology and populism, and the Brexit fiasco, does not offer a decent return solution to voters.

As China continues to grow, despite criticism over its zero Covid policy, Britain, meanwhile, faces severe economic turmoil and is believed to have officially entered recession, again being described as « the sick man of Europe ». The underlying theme of the last 50 years in British politics has been the question of how to avoid the word ‘decline’, i.e. how the turn to Thatcherism, anti-unionism, aggressive neoliberalism , and of course Brexit itself, can all be described from a long-term perspective. Britain’s best days are arguably behind it, with all of the above having contributed to growing political instability and uncertainty.

But the same cannot be said of China, where there may not be freedom, but where there is certainty. So if you ask the average Chinese person if « Britain’s Chaos » is preferable to China « strict harmony » then the answer will be a resounding ‘no’, and one only has to look at the trajectory of the two countries’ fortunes to see that.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

You can share this story on social media:


Back to top button