In response to the queen and Boris Johnson’s disreputable prorogation of parliament on August 28th to enable a disastrous cliff-fall no deal Brexit (that financially suits both of them) hundreds of thousands of people picketed in city and town centres around Britain to protest against manipulation of parliamentary procedure.
The theme of the pickets was ‘defend our democracy.’ What democracy needs to be defended? Is there democracy in Britain?
Britain has an unelected head of state protected by armed soldiers at her residences, unelected House of Lords, unelected Supreme Court that can override government decisions, a police force that can enter parliament without invitation and restrict MPs’ movements within, a court system that allows private businesses to sue councils if councillors make decisions favouring the public rather than the corporate world and a parliamentary system that allows corrupt MPs to change party membership without calling by-elections.
Democracy in Britain is a few crumbs. It is a little con trick to dissuade people from revolutionary thoughts. It is a device to distract and use up time and energy of people who might be inclined to seek change. The pickets against the queen and Johnson’s malpractice were sincere but what they were asking to be defended is the cause of the problem. The very undemocratic system of governance in Britain allowed the prorogation and, thus, allows a descent to no deal Brexit that will destroy society.
A hereditary monarch and an Etonian conspired to manipulate parliamentary procedure without breaking the rules or the law; that doesn’t mean their actions cannot be opposed or challenged but any legal challenges will probably fail. Another option available to opponents of the queen and Johnson would to be as underhand and as sneaky as they were and there are characters among their opponents who have the wherewithal to do that but, if successful, that wouldn’t be a defence of democracy.
To defend democracy there first needs to exist democracy. It is heartwarming that so many people picketed against the monarch and the government’s trickery but, essentially, the protests were against the respective dishonesty of a nurtured Etonian and a veteran venal monarch. If British democracy is reliant on honesty of charlatans like that pair then it isn’t worth defending. The real protest should be to eradicate what masquerades as democracy.