“Most steam comes off
The cooking scrambled egg
When it’s just taken off the fire.
Just so the dream
Evaporates like steam
From lust and its counterpart desire…
— From The Case of the Ashamed Vahu by Bachchoo
Dinner parties in London are becoming a bore, because instead of the usual exciting topics such as remedies for the ills that the diners are heir to, the price of houses or infestation of pests they have suffered, the guests talk about Brexit. It is the obsession of our time and as ubiquitous as unraised toilet seats in a nunnery.
Boris Johnson’s precarious coalition is kept in “democratic” power by a single vote. This Dennis-the-Menace, the boy-from-Beano-lookalike, has today asked the Queen to suspend Parliament.
The process is called “proroguing” and is constitutionally ambivalent — which means no one knows whether it can be challenged in court or in Parliament itself. But the deed is done. The Queen has acquiesced and preserved her precious impotence in the face of a man with a one-vote majority in the “democratic” legislature of her kingdom.
Britain, unlike India, the United States or other democracies has no written constitution. The laws that are passed, precedent and practice and in some cases common sense, constitute its constitution. The factor that one doesn’t refer to is the will or opinion of the monarch which should, nominally, be a decisive factor. It isn’t or hasn’t been since Oliver Cromwell chopped off the head of Charles I. Royalty replaced monarchy. This latest royal signature seals the process forever.
Kings and Queens since, even the strong-willed Victoria or the reprobate Edward VII, have stayed away from taking decisions or foisting their opinions on the democratic will of the people as expressed through its representatives in the House of Commons and ratified in the unelected chamber of the Lords. Technically, Boris has the right, with his coalition majority of one, to have gone to the Queen and for her to have authorised the suspension of Parliament.
He had two reasons for doing this. He has come to occupy his position and No. 10 Downing Street without a mandate from the people. His predecessor Theresa May was forced by her Tory Party after her failure to secure Britain’s exit from the European Union and Boris was elected by a majority of Tory Party members numbering 0.07 per cent of Britain’s population.
He offered this club a firm promise to take Britain out of the European Union by the 31st of October, whether the EU and parliament agree to a withdrawal deal or not. These members were asked if they had taken account of the fact that Britain would suffer various forms of chaos — economic, social and political in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit. There would be the wide-spread flight of capital leaving thousands jobless, there would be severe shortages of imported food and medicine, thousands if not millions of cattle would have to be slaughtered as they won’t have an export market — leaving Britain’s farming industry severely crippled. All imports will be considerably more expensive — even those from outside the EU. The ban on EU citizens coming in will affect very many industries with a shortage of labour — including Britain’s National Health Service which will suffer a shortage of doctors and hospital staff… gentle reader, I could go on.
The Tories who voted for Johnson were asked if they cared about any of these consequences. They said they didn’t. Leaving the EU would keep Johnny Foreigner out and the sacrifice would be worth it. So that’s one reason he doesn’t want the Parliament to stop him delivering on his promise. The second is that he wants to pander to the right-wing voters with reduced taxation, fantasy money for more police, more prisons, more prisoners and Promises to schools and the National Health Service.
The Tory club was also asked if they cared whether Scotland and perhaps Northern Ireland and even Wales would leave the United Kingdom if it exited without a deal. They said they didn’t care as long as Johnny Foreigner is kept out and we from entering the country and we “take back control”.
I don’t break bread with Brexitwallas and haven’t questioned any on the EU laws they object to. The media has asked the question and answer came there none.
These Brexitwallas questioned have apparently fallen for the slogan “Take Back Control” through some patriotic instinct rather than a single consideration of fact. To be fair, one character I heard did say he worked in London Transport and that there were health and safety regulations which the EU had obliged Britain to adopt. He didn’t say what these were, but if they entailed not breathing in carbon monoxide or other ways of staying alive, I can’t see what benefit would ensue from abolition these rules and taking back control to poison yourself.
Now that the Queen has granted Boris’ request and declared herself impotent in the face of the single vote of the parliamentary majority, there will be some hell to pay. Perhaps the Queen was advised or reminded that Boris, bolstered with hubris, might turn Cromwellick and chop off her head if she declined.
Now, gentle reader, we await the political tsunami that Britain faces. This anti-democratic move will undoubtedly cause a split in the Tory Party. Whatever differences divide the Opposition, the parties within it and some Tories are now trying to get a no-confidence vote in Boris’s government.
The great British democracy’s future depends now on whether there are sufficient number of days to pull off such a vote, or for Johnson to stay in power by this tin-pot dictatorial move so that he can reach the 31st of October when Britain by legal agreement crashes out of the EU.
Somewhere in Greece the philosopher Democritus is buried. Already, it is reported, cracks are appearing on the surface of the tomb as he turns in his grave....