LibDem and other centrists will now wring their hands – but Johnson’s monstrous actions are taking place in the space they created
Number 10’s announcement this morning that Boris Johnson is to ask the Queen to shut down Parliament, blocking MPs’ route to the legislative attempt to prevent a no-deal Brexit that centrists preferred over Labour’s plan to bring down the government and allow Jeremy Corbyn, as ‘interim PM’, to agree a Brexit extension with the EU to allow time for a general election.
Johnson’s team lied directly to the BBC last weekend, saying no such manoeuvre was planned:
Many have compared Johnson’s move to the ‘prorogations’ of Parliament by Charles I, whose behaviour ultimately cost him his head. But there is a far more recent precedent of which Johnson’s disregard for the UK’s democracy, constitution and precedent is frighteningly reminiscent. The comparison was made by NHS doctor and campaigner Rachel Clarke:
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were unequivocal in condemning the ‘coup’ and ‘threat to our democracy’ – but their comments were ignored by many media, including the Tory-controlled BBC on its lunchtime news broadcast:
When the nazis took over the government in 1930s Germany, they immediately set about co-opting, corrupting and where necessary dismantling the country’s democratic institutions to install and protect their dictator – the so-called “Führerprinzip“.
Boris Johnson’s immediate aim may be to sever the UK from Europe in a no-deal Brexit, but the contempt for this country’s democracy is just as clear – and deeply dangerous for the UK’s stability and the safety of its people.
There will no doubt now be hand-wringing across the board of centrists, but it is their actions over Brexit which have enabled Boris Johnson – he is a monster, but he is acting monstrously in the space they created for him, as political activist and commentator @ToryFibs accurately pointed out:
Even recent Tory ministers are appalled, with David Gauke and Philip Hammond publicly condemning Johnson’s manoeuvre:
‘Soft’ Tories such as Dominic Grieve have also condemned it. However, none of them, so far, appear to have stated publicly that they will back a no-confidence vote to bring down Johnson’s government.
Johnson’s cronies are threatening to exploit this hesitation and the prorogation to call a general election immediately after the UK falls off the no-deal Brexit cliff edge – and to further ignore the country’s democratic processes:
Many on social media have voiced the opinion that Johnson’s action may be connected with his ‘series of calls’ with LibDem leader Jo Swinson, which the SKWAWKBOX revealed. Swinson has condemned Johnson’s action this morning and said her party will oppose it – but her and their culpability over months of parliamentary votes and their determination to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10 is absolutely clear.
Will they now have the sense to see the clear and present danger to the fabric of our society that Boris Johnson, his advisers and collaborators represent – and to support Corbyn into government?
Tragically, precedent suggests not. It seems – as really it always has – that only UK voters removing Johnson in the seemingly-inevitable post-Brexit general election will allow a real Labour government to begin the process of rebuilding, rescue and restoration.
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