Last night the UK’s populist demogogue Prime Minister returned to face the music after his defeat at the hands of the Supreme Court judges over his prorogation of Parliament, not with contrition but with aggressive defiance. In so doing, he confirmed in many people’s minds that this man is determined on his strategy to force a General Election over his push for Brexit as a “People versus the Politicians” election.
A populist demogogue
This is the behaviour of a dangerous populist demogogue with, it appears, potentially “strongman” authoritarian leanings and democracy as we know it is in danger in pursuit of both Brexit and a neoliberal hidden agenda behind Brexit. Their approach is that the end justifies the means, as No. 10 chief advisor Cummings has said, “Brexit by any means necessary”. Far from respecting the verdict of the judges in the supreme court and the fundamental principle of the rule of law, this man, who was found to have acted unlawfully, is unrepentant. Moreover, what he is doing is whipping up a very nasty backlash of far right wing agitation as he plays on his electoral theme of “the people against the politicians”. This theme is very populist, of course, but it also is based on a false and dangerous constitutional notion that the Brexitremists have been using throughout, that popular sovereignty through the Referendum has a prior claim to legitimacy over that of Parliamentary democracy.
Popular sovereignty by referendum is a threat to representative democracy
The judges in their verdict ruled in favour of the latter, and were in accordance with a long-standing and widely held understanding of our constitution, that of Pariamentary Sovereignty. Johnson and the Brextremists, in their drive for Brexit, if they succeed, will overturn this and could replace it with a dictum that is the tool of dictators, as used most recently by Putin in Crimea to legitimise his seizure of the territory, and Hitler did after invading Austria in 1938. Not only that but they could then reassert Prime Ministerial power at the expense of Parliament and make other changes to reinforce their position and implement their hidden neoliberal agenda. Not only is our membership of the EU in danger but democracy itself.
Reform is needed before a general election
How he clearly plans to do this is by engineering a general election on his populist theme and, since the Remain vote is very split between Corbyn’s Labour and Swinson’s LDP, could come back with a majority to implement his dangerous plans. A win would validate his actions over the words of 11 of the UK top judges.
Thus true democrats will need to stand firm and support their MPs, their democratically elected representatives, last elected very recently in 2017 when the Tories lost. Arguably they need to stop Johnson from getting his way, in the name of the UK’s traditions of representative government endorsed by the judges, and legislate to tighten up the Benn Act to prevent a No Deal Brexit, as is being planned right now by the backbench cross-party alliance, and, others suggest, also pass laws to prevent Johnson from establishing a neoliberal authoritarian regime. from this perspective, the UK does not need an election now or even after 31 October, and at least not for a while since it is too dangerous. People need to see the danger and act by legislation and ideally by overthrowing Johnson using the Fixed Term Parliaments Act and setting up a cross-party Government of National Unity to steady the ship. They have the numbers.