Johnson’s putsch

by Chris Bertram on August 29, 2019

I’ve refrained from blogging much about Brexit and the political situation in the UK because, to be honest, I find it all too painful. But the latest move by British PM Boris Johnson seems worthy of comment. Johnson has “prorogued” (translation: suspended) Parliament in order to make it as hard as possible for MPs to shape the Brexit process and to prevent the extremely damaging disorderly crash-out from EU that he seems determined to impose on us on the 31st October. It is worth remembering that Johnson has no mandate of his own, commands the loyalty of less than half the MPs in the Commons, and was selected by the Tory Party membership alone (a tiny group in which elderly racists are more common than they are even in the average golf-club bar). Prorogation has been saluted by the Telegraph with the headline: “The Prime Minister must give effect to the will of the people.” Thus does the Caudillo claim to incarnate the people’s will more than their Parliamentary representatives do. This is not a move that was unforeseen. It was much-discussed during that Tory leadership contest. Johnson said he did not find it attractive. Others who now sit in his Cabinet, unresigned, such as Morgan, Rudd, Hancock, even Javid and Gove, rejected it as an odious attack on democracy only weeks ago. Yet now is is both a brilliant tactical masterstroke but simultaneously “nothing to see here” business as usual.
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