Monday, 12 September 2016

A very non-British coup

The coronation of Theresa May marks a new nadir in the progress towards authoritarianism in the United Kingdom.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of the current Labour unravelling, and its unfortunate timing, at least there is evidence that the leadership of a political party, let alone a nation, is subject to scrutiny and due process.  Other than the misguided electors of Maidenhead who elected to put a cross next to her name, her claim to legitimacy is only within the boundaries of the Conservative Party.

This is part of the great illegitimacy of power  that gives the United Kingdom a bad name beyond its boundaries.  For each of us who can pride ourselves on living and contributing within those sections of territory that have a more modern mode of constitutional operations, there is an uncomfortable truth that the perception is of a country where elective dictatorship rules, within a flawed sub-democracy that is designed to ensure binary politics and to disincentives consensus.

In the last week, the spectacle of two of May's new appointments, the disgraced Liam Fox and the disgraceful David Davis, managing to undermine both her authority and the credibility of government, was topped out with the third stooge joining the duplicitous and hypocritical Change Britain campaign to "keep up pressure" on a government in which he allegedly holds one of the three great offices of state.

This does not look like a government, more a rag-tag collection of self-seeking individuals who would not be behaving in this way if they had the interests of all the nations at heart.  As time passes, it becomes less idle and paranoid to speculate as to whether their interests are at all transparent, or whether the agenda is being fed by those who are best served by destabilising both Britain and Europe.

There is much "bread and circus" activity being thrown into the mix.  The charlatanry of promoting English education policy to the centre of the political agenda, alongside the ongoing cash and confidence crisis in the NHS is linked to the above.  Add to this the cheerleading for Trump by the Tory fringe and the Kipper nutcases, and it is difficult not to wonder if the Leave campaign's cornering of the tinfoil market was a canny move.

There needs to be accountability, both for the current government and for the forces that have led us to this pass.  I suspect that by the terms of the legal framework for the referendum doubts about the funding source for the campaign may not be challengeable through electoral law, but the extent to which this is being used as a front organisation, in the US terms "astroturf", should be a constant challenge.  For every Arron Banks, for every Daniel Hannan, there are several layers of intrigue.  If it can be proved that this is in the national interest, all well and good.  If not, there has been the kind of seditious usurpation of power that fomented revolution 250 years ago.  It could happen here.

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