There’s a revolution happening, whether we like it or not

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Come what may, a revolution is happening in the UK. I don't think history will call it Salmind's Revolt. I think it may call it The End of the Union, and given the offered devolution of powers to Scotland (that will surely be a precedent for Northern Ireland and Wales and so English regions too) by the No campaign, that does seem to be what is going on.

The forces of the Establishment are, of course, both frightened and fighting back. Their power base - which is, and always has been, their ability to extract rent from others - is under threat. Of course they are throwing their toys (the exchange rate, share prices) around, but not by enough to indicate any real underlying issue and just by enough margin to think they can show they exercise some power still.

And power is, of course, what this is all about. It always is, of course. But not power for its own ske, which is ugly, usually entrenched and brutal. It is instead about the power to be. That is, of course, very different from the power to control, which is why those with the power to control both find it very frightening and threatening.

The power to be is about fulfilment of the wish to be the person of which you are capable. It is an idea I explored in The Courageous State. It is where the reconciliation between the individual and the state takes place. It is about using the power of common identity and belief in a purpose to release an energy that supposedly and rationally might not exist but which can, through the synergy of that realised potential, create possibility that either replaces material loss or replaces it in ways which are unmeasurable but more powerful than the blips in GDP with which too many politicians are fixated.

This is the real revolution that is raking place. I mentioned on this blog yesterday the bizarre mind set that thought the failure of the Union was about the Conservatives inability to sell capitalism and non-state welfare to Scottish people. That is, actually, to some degree true, but its bizarreness is in its incomprehension that there has always been an alternative to the patronisation inherent in those ideas, and it is the fact that Scotland (and others) have a belief that they can do better for themselves that is so profoundly worrying the Establishment.

Many in that Establishment have made choice their mantra over the last thirty or so years. But that's not what they have really offered. What they wanted was people to choose between the options they have been given. The plan was never for them to choose for themselves. That was why the Establishment were happy to offer a referendum. They thought people would choose No because that was what they were really being offered by the powers that be.

But even if they still do choose No the point is that what has convincingly been said by a great many people is that they now realise that they have the power to reject the choice they have been given. And that is the revolution that is taking place right now, all around us.

People are willing to sacrifice to make choice that they think will be better for them even if it might involve material sacrifice. That should not surprise any economist. Nor should it surprise a politician but it has done, both.

The challenges arising from this are threefold. The first is to then show that the far right is not an extension of this choice, but is a reinforcement of oppression, as it very clearly is.

The second is to ensure mechanisms for effective redistribution of income and wealth survive in what remains of the UK after the referendum, because the choice being made is for society and not individualism in my opinion (it really can't be interpreted as anything else, I think).

And last, we need to rebuild the foundations of power to reflect this new consensus. This is the biggest task ahead because at its core this new awareness challenges not just the whole existing logic of power but its underlying philosophy too. Something little short of the enlightenment logic of rational power based on the achievement of the isolated individual is being challenged here and what comes in its place is a massive question in need of an answer.

But things will never be the same again. And that's why we're living through a revolution, come what may.