Are We All Just Extras in the Boris Show?

‘I hath a plot to destroyeth parliament by becoming the Prime Minist’r’ by The Trumpton Project

Ministers are now trying to draw a line under the shenanigans of the previous 48 hours.

Come on plebs, don’t think about this one anymore. It doesn’t matter anyway now Mr. Paterson has resigned. 

In brief, ministers were whipped by the Chief Whip, Mark Spencer, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, in order to overturn an impending suspension of Owen Paterson MP, by changing the very process of the system which found him guilty. Johnson then characteristically u-turned less than 24 hours later when the vote proved controversial. However, regardless of how ministers try and play this now, surely the damage is done?

This latest u-turn is just one issue here, as crucially it it begs the question as to just how exactly is this country being led? How can we be governed by a living, breathing contradiction such as Johnson? Dominic Cummings has referred to him as a supermarket trolley, metaphorically crashing from one side of the aisle to the other: how can we continue with someone so wildly unpredictable and unstable as this? Indeed, someone who doesn’t care about anyone other than himself? What good is it doing for us?

Just look at how he treated his own minsters – people who are supposedly there to serve us. How they all forget. Johnson abuses them; he exploits his ministers as objects to get whatever he wants done, irrespective of the damage it will cause. They are his own personal deck of cards in a game of Top Trumps. Few things have highlighted this more that the Paterson scandal.

Additionally, what does this actually say about those ministers who are so blindly loyal to Johnson that they voted to betray truth, democracy and justice, purely in order to serve their leader? Are they so frantically loyal that they would shamelessly allow themselves to be used prop up this sham we have in government right now? It sadly appears so, as those ministers voted to obstruct policy and corrupt democracy. 

It’s no good trying to draw a line in the sand because the only reason Johnson u-turned is because of the backlash – after first forcing them to make that vote. Watch any of them on TV today and you’ll see them stuttering their way through the excuses. The truth is they voted either,

a. Because they were told to, or

b. Because they care so little about what’s right.

Both those answers are unpalatable; it is the great unsaid. So, with Johnson in hiding, the MPs have nothing meaningful to say.

What this ultimately shows is that Johnson doesn’t want to be answerable to anyone. He thinks his is above the law, or that he IS the law. He behaves like a medieval king in his court, The King of Little England: any institution not made in his image has to be recalibrated to suit him, with loyalty and the correct decisions baked in.

This is how democracies die. Democracies don’t always die with big, grand actions. They sometimes collapse when people constantly chip away at it’s foundations. We don’t know the tower is unstable until it topples.

It’s not without irony that today is 5th November, the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, where there was an attempted assassination of King James I by Guy Fawkes – who according to the historian Dan Snow, named himself as ‘Johnson’ when he was found standing next to the gunpowder. In some ways, Johnson is a contemporary Guy Fawkes: if he was to get his way, we would metaphorically see Westminster burn. He is the enemy within.

~ L&A 5.11.21 ~

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Dan Snow on Twitter @thehistoryguy

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