anarchy from M.L. anarchia, from Gk. anarkhia "lack of a leader" noun of state from anarkhos "rulerless" from an- "without" + arkhos "leader"
So this is it. This is what the punks of the eighties screamed for. The restless rumbling of an underbelly of discontent has broken through to the surface and caused constitutional breakdown in the UK. The voters said "no" to Government, and were left, leaderless and in the wilderness.
But here we are, heading to work on a Monday morning wondering when the election coverage will be over so we can have some "real"news back on telly, and God forbid another election be called, which would put the schedule for airing The Apprentice back yet more months.
If this were Thailand, France or even America, (actually, any other place in the world that is not The British Isles), there would at least be a restless crowd in coloured T-Shirts waving placards in Trafalgar Square. As it stands all the riots, petrol bombs, chants and mob rule are reserved for Athens, that cornerstone of Western Philosophy and the ancient home of Western Civilization, because people have been told their pensions will be reduced and they must start paying tax.
What's wrong with you, UK? We have no Government! Tear up your council tax bills, take a day off and go guffawing in the rare spot of sunshine we are set to enjoy this week, exploiting your Post Lockean civil liberties in our Constitution-less country!*
But something tells me this is not in the British psyche. And something tells me it never has been.
When Henry VIII drew up a whole new religion for the country for his own convenience, tore down monasteries, chopped the heads of his wives and ate so many swans his waistline demanded its own postcode, the good people of the country probably just stuck at digging their potatoes, shearing their sheep and postulating what the following week's weather had in store. Similarly when Queen Victoria demanded prudency be applied to lounge furniture, with every table and chair in the country forbidden from flashing a naked ankle, we all covered up like Quakers and continued to toil away at our work like boil in the bag kippers with nothing more than a mild grumble.
In fact, the most social outrage I have seen in recent years was over foxes.
So is the problem the Politicians, or is this just a reflection of a peculiar British mindset that regards Politics as a sort of ineffectual ceremonial production absent from the concerns or real life?
John Milton once observed that "Anarchy is the sure consequence of tyranny; or no power that is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them"
I guess therefore that Governance is an inevitability, as is, so it would seem, stability. Perhaps it is the product of centuries of Parliament, the creation of which witnessed the very last Civil War on British soil, that has led to the accepting apathy of the British voterate. We will have a Government. They will rule us. And life is unlikely to be very different from how it is now.
The irony in this observation is that, actually, scratch below what the papers tell us we think, and you will find an unidentified yet unerring trust in our Government. Yes, you read that right. Trust.
Because you know, and I know, that whatever sort of Government is formed from the wreckage of the 2010 election, death, disease, poverty, starvation, conflict and persecution are unlikely to be on the menu.
We are one of the only countries in the world that does not automatically label our police force as corrupt. One of the only countries where, although we may grumble about the NHS, we are safe in the knowledge that if we are struck down by a bus tomorrow, one thing we can be guaranteed is not receiving a massive medical bill in the post. One of the only countries where literacy is pretty much a social guarantee. One of the only countries where racism takes the form of a one-eyed, Oxford educated, Gruffalo lookalike who's allowed to appear on prime time TV and use the word "indigenous" with caution.
What I'm trying to say is, actually, the reason why this anarchy is slipping by unnoticed is because it has no place in Britain, whatsoever, in the pejorative sense.
So looking today at the European Commission's Eleventh Hour rescue package for the Euro, worth €750bn, of which Britain has ended up indirectly having to commit UK taxpayer's cash (it's rather useful that there's an election going on in the UK, without resolution, isn't it Mr Barosso?) it strikes me as even more appalling that the 27 member states are having to cowtow to Greek debt problems brought upon by poor Governance.
Look at us! We have debt worth more than Sir Elton John's wardrobe. We have no Government. We have the most overcrowded cities in Europe and a couple of million immigrants sponging up our spare cash. But we're able to hold it all together. In fact, falling apart hasn't even crossed our minds. Yet our European counterparts plot revolt in the playground the minute rumours start to flow about milk money cuts.
Do we really want to share laws, ideals and policies (and our cash!) with these countries, when we have demonstrated without celebration or expectation of praise that we are the most sorted society in the Western World, even in times of constitutional crisis?
It's like our mothers used to warn us, it does no good to be associating with a bad crowd. They will only drag you down to their level.
*Locke used the claim that men are naturally free and equal as part of the justification for understanding legitimate political government as the result of a social contract where people in the state of nature conditionally transfer some of their rights to the government in order to better insure the stable, comfortable enjoyment of their lives, liberty, and property. Since governments exist by the consent of the people in order to protect the rights of the people and promote the public good, governments that fail to do so can be resisted and replaced with new governments.