OPINION: Eulogy for the United Kingdom's democracy

Opinion 17/12/2019

By Aidan Priestley, Digital Content Producer, Magic.

OPINION: The United Kingdom’s constitution, a misnomer in itself, is already taking the first steps towards dissolution.

What does a Johnson victory really mean? Other than the oft-repeated vacuous slogan of “Get Brexit Done’.

Like a broken record skipping, repeating while grandad suffers a stroke and little Timmy freezes on the cold floor of the soon-to-be-sold NHS.

Too Cold? Perhaps, though not so cold as the Prime Minister’s hiding holes. Where better to preserve a rotting carcass devoid of substance? 

We might judge Boris based on his interviews if he actually showed up for any of them, wherein we find the first of our apolitical concerns.

As I wrote in the beginning, the UK constitution is in danger of being dissolved precisely because it doesn’t exist in the first place.

Technically there is a constitution, in the same way as technically cake is vegetarian.

The UK’s constitution, unlike the United States which everyone casually adopts, is based not on a single document enshrined in law but a series of laws, practices, customs, and traditions.

Layered one atop the other, often contradictory, put into practice in a nuanced compromise that is codified only through willing participation in the ludicrousy of the whole thing.

A gentleman's agreement, a contract through handshake, on the strength of your word and integrity.

Boris has no integrity.

It is this same reliance on custom and tradition that compelled the BBC to conduct interviews with party leaders under the assumption that every leader would appear for a tough grilling.

The BBC’s stalwart tough question interviewer Andrew Neil raked Corbyn over the coals in much the way the election eviscerated the Labour party.

Boris Johnson broke from tradition, refusing to appear and answer potentially difficult questions like why did he refuse to publish an intelligence report into Russia? Brave and noble leadership indeed.

But that tradition underpins the very tension that holds Britain’s democracy in place. Without it the whole system collapses into rubble with Johnson poised to be the big pig on top when it does.

Already, the BBC’s future has been put in jeopardy, with the bumbling Etonian promising to make a raft of changes that will endanger the broadcaster.

This after having threatened public broadcaster Channel 4 for what was basically the bare minimum of a critical response for refusing to attend a climate change debate.

If not the public, then the media at least should hold Johnson to account as he systematically erodes the institutions of freedom and democracy in the UK.

He has quickly announced his intention to haemorrhage the UK from Europe in his dogmatic ideologically driven Brexit.

Followed swiftly by a cabinet reshuffle and Ministry abolishment that will see the end of the department for foreign aid and a new more aggressive immigration agency.

The Tories’ cult have a powerful majority closely tied to the creature himself, while Labour is left in ruinous contemplation of how to fix itself.

This gives the blundering former Mayor of London a clear runway of five years to wreak untold havoc as is his whim.

All this in the context of a dissolving Union.

The election results have all but guaranteed the end of the United Kingdom, with the SNP’s clear mandate to call for a second Scottish referendum, a staunchly remain voting country.

The previous referendum was rejected with only a ten percent swing based largely on a now redundant argument that Scotland would lose access to the EU.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister’s masterstroke deal-making was to basically give up on the overwhelmingly remain-favouring Northern Ireland; erecting a sea border severing any illusions that the region is little more than a colony.

And who cares about Wales really? Not even the Welsh it seems, with a fledgling Nationalist movement and a near identical voting pattern to England.

England voted for Brexit, the United Kingdoms did not, and in time we will see them rip themselves apart over the issue, this much is almost taken for granted as fact.

The danger now is the caricature in Premiership breaking traditions, he likes to compare himself to Churchill but he is more closely aligned with Cromwell.

An insurgent demagogue with no value beyond his overwhelming privilege.

The rose-tinted nostalgia that forms England’s history curriculum teaches Britons that their greatest historical export was the introduction of democracy to the world.

For a country blindfolding itself before being led by possibly the most dishonest man in the country, they should have saved some for themselves.

Aidan Priestley is Digital Content Produer for Magic.