Boris Johnson has embarked on a course that will either cement his legacy as a champion of democracy or as a prime minister who sought to subvert it.
In making his bid to have Parliament suspended by the Queen for five weeks in order to ram home the probable no-deal Brexit most favoured by Trump, Johnson is acting not in the name of democracy on behalf of the British people, but instead in the name of disaster capitalism on behalf of US corporations.
At least he is in this writer’s opinion.
Putting it more even more bluntly, he is taking the UK on a rocket ship to hell. And this, to be sure, is no ordinary rocket ship.
It is one fuelled by nativism, xenophobia, empire nostalgia, and a brand of British exceptionalism that has infected a large section of the predominantly English, predominantly white working class, with false consciousness as to the cause and causes of their parlous condition after three decades of Thatcherism.
The Brexit that Johnson and his acolytes prefer is one that provides them with the opportunity to finish Margaret Thatcher’s right wing revolution, which began in the 1980s. Its objectives are the decimation of what’s left of the welfare state, including the NHS (despite what Johnson says to the contrary), the decimation of what’s left of the trade union movement, and the uprooting of the last vestiges of collectivism and social solidarity left over from the Keynesian postwar consensus.
The end result will be the entrenchment of free market nostrums and values on the false premise of TINA (There Is No Alternative).
In other words, in the Tory dystopia to come, every man and woman will be expected to stand on their own as atomised individuals, reduced to economic units whose only value is their value to the machine.
Just as Obama intervened in the Scottish independence and EU referendums, Trump is following suit. When will the penny drop that Washington not Moscow is the threat to democracy in Britain, Europe and elsewhere? https://t.co/Kyanp4DkZU
— John Wight (@JohnWight1) August 28, 2019
There is no denying the fact that people in the UK are being dragged kicking and screaming to perdition by an unelected prime minister and political charlatan whose practiced buffoonery, born to rule sense of entitlement, and Winston Churchill tribute act is no longer a laughing matter.
The 17.4 million people in the UK who voted for Brexit in the referendum held on 23 June 2016 did so for a variety of reasons. Most of those reasons were emotionally charged after six years of savage Tory austerity had sown misery and poverty on a Victorian scale in parts of the country that were already suffering the impact of years of neglect, lack of investment, and the social Darwinism of neoliberal economics and accompanying values.
The squeeze on the public services upon which working people depend across the UK under the auspices of austerity, especially in its most deprived regions and communities, has been compounded by the free movement of labour, one of the four freedoms enshrined in the EU constitution, otherwise known as the Lisbon Treaty.
Of the four freedoms – the free movement of labour, capital, goods and services – the free movement of labour has done more to corrode the EU project than any other.
The problem, though, is that the free movement of labour, allowing the citizens of the EU to move freely and seek work within its various member states, is a symptom of the real corrosive factor spawned by neoliberalism , namely the free movement of capital.
London, in particular the City of London, has and continues to be a major beneficiary, sucking up the spare capital from poorer national economies across Europe and beyond. The result is working people in those poorer economies being condemned to low wages and poor working conditions, as global corporations are able to force governments to compete for investment.
It has seen workers from poorer countries naturally seeking better wages and conditions elsewhere. This, however, constitutes only one part of the immigration story when it comes to the UK. It does not take account of the fact that the NHS has benefited inordinately from the role of medical professionals, surgeons, consultants, and nurses from overseas, Europe and beyond, without whom the health service could not function.
The focus has been on low-waged migrants, however, and an ensuing race to the bottom that has fomented nativism and xenophobia on the part of indigenous workers in wealthier EU economies, such as Britain, France, and Germany, who in conditions of economic extremis have felt increasingly threatened and undermined by the presence and influx of migrant workers competing for the same jobs and access to the same underfunded public services.
On a constitutional level a no-deal hard Brexit brings closer the break-up of the UK. How could it be otherwise when 62 percent of people in Scotland and 55 percent of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the 2016 referendum?
It means that, in making this extreme bid to drive through Brexit, deal or no deal, Johnson’s government – which again, must be stressed, is unelected and therefore currently rules without a mandate from the people – the interests of democracy are being subverted rather than served.
It also places the Queen in an extremely difficult position, in that in seeking her permission to suspend Parliament it forces her to pick a side when it comes to the most polarising issue in British postwar politics.
Johnson’s public life has been steeped in controversy and scandal throughout. So far none of those controversies or scandals have succeeded in destroying him. The resulting hubris may well have just propelled him on a course that has the potential to not only affect his own destruction, but the UK’s as well.