Before the 2019 General Election two separate wings in the Conservative Party in Parliament were discernible except that they weren’t called “Internationalist” and “Libertarian” (James Forsyth in The Times today) they were called “Remainers” and “Leavers”. The former were culled in various nights of the long knives and only the latter were left. They were all “Leavers” now.
Michael Howard showed yesterday that the issue over whether Britain honours the obligations of a recently signed treaty is not about Brexit, it’s about the law. So if the Government continues on its current path a vote in Parliament on the Tory side will divide between sycophants and those with a sense of their duty as a representative of the people. The sycophants are likely to win and the rebellion will be minuscule.
We no longer have an elective democracy we have an emerging dictatorship. Power resides in some shady corners and is exercised by unelected chancers and by barely qualified yes men and yes women. When was the last time an incompetent Minister resigned ? It is generally recognised that we have the least competent Cabinet of modern times at a time when we are wrestling with some of the most challenging governance issues in our history. The perfect storm of disaster is with us.
If the strings of government are pulled by shady people in a Downing Street basement there is no accountability any more. The Ministers nominally in charge of advising on or exercising due legal process , like Attorney General Suella Braverman, have had to defend a client head of government despite knowing that what their client wants to do is extra legal. Career-first priorities and sycophancy have so far prevailed over justice.
History teaches us that when a nation is governed by decree and when protest is sat upon then disaster is around the corner. In fact it’s arrived. The formalities of democracy in Parliament may still be followed but that’s not where the action is. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
None of us should be sanguine about where we are. Taking to the streets in protest will be ignored even if we could rally enough people to do it in a time of lockdown. It is maybe (just) too early to say we’ve lost Hope as a nation. But there’s not much Glory around any more.