Theresa May has survived the vote of no confidence in her leadership posed by her own parliamentary party. That could be counted as a democratic win for her we might imagine. If, however, we were to widen the scope of our analysis, would we find evidence of intimidation, coercion, and downright threat amongst those Conservative MP's who were less than enthusiastic about the PM's style, skill and qualities as a leader ? Or would we find some sort of consensus that a leadership challenge in these pre-Brexit months was by no means advantageous to the Conservative Party, ie, support by choosing the lesser of two evils ???
Two things occur to Bristling Brock. One, if coercion and intimidation were used to sway the voting intentions of MP's then this would be a serious breach of the spirit of free, democratic voting. Now that begs the adjacent thought that our notion of democracy is as wide and varied as there are political opinions in Westminster - what we have is far from perfect and is open (perhaps deliberately) to interpretation - but it is what we have and that forms the bedrock of our Rule of Law. Coercion is a nasty practise, but so is politics - but all voting events that occur in this land which have been sanctioned by parliament are subject to the principles of and the spirit of the meaning of democracy. If it is chosen to abuse that concept then we are choosing to operate outside of the Rule of Law. If we need an example of this outside of the UK then we might look at the US and the endless breaching of their Rule of Law by their president whom, in various ways, behaves as an outlaw, albeit one with supreme authority. In a truly democratic society the bias of public opinion would likely be in the form of its trust and faith in the integrity of its government; in a society where government blithely trips in and out of those parameters to suit its political agenda then we could well argue that the process of democracy has failed.
The second thing that occurs to BB is that a decision to support the PM on purely partisan grounds, ie, putting political survival ahead of national interest, also places the Conservative Party into a state of contempt for the Rule of Law, for parliament and for the entire citizenship of the country. It is just as feasible to imagine that all of the political parties in Westminster feel that their own vested interests have to come before that of the national well-being so that they can create their various platforms for what Mrs May describes as 'stability'. But one mans stability is anothers chaos - and we are seeing plenty of chaos right now.
The reality of all this, of course, is that much in Westminster does operate outside of what we might describe as a democratic process, copying centuries of precedents in the machinations of the strong conquering the weak. History shows us that governance was ever thus. So what should we expect of our government ? That's for every individual to decide and act upon, but consider this. If government blatently flouts democracy and its underpinning Rule of Law and doesn't care about the public image it presents, why should the rest of society behave in any different way ? Laws get broken, boundaries transgressed and the wider perceptions of moral and literal right and wrong shift into murkier territory. We are already experiencing crime levels that are unprecedented ranging from muggings through to corporate misdemeanour. The very fabric of this country, the infrastructures that make it up are all testing the limits of boundaries and red lines that in a more perceptive and fully law abiding state we would never ordinarily see in the numbers that are now occurring. Whilst crime will always be there, the moment government engages in practises that are seedy and openly contra to the spirit of democracy and freedoms, then they will open the gates to a storm. They haven't realised that yet in the UK, but unless our governments behaviour, style and management improve significantly, then it will smack them in the face. That realisation may explain why Mrs May has chosen not to lead the Conservatives into the next election.
The Labour Party have not acted to un-horse Mrs May and force an election. There is much criticism of Mr Corbyn about his lack of fire in this episode but BB suspects that he might well be afraid of winning an election before the Brexit deadline - after all, who would want to walk into all the flak Mrs May has stimulated over Brexit when you actually don't have a plan of your own ?
Trumpy continues to appall everyone with his slimy form of governance in the US. Contradictions, denials, volte-faces, retractions and downright lying characterise his embattled administration. The Rule of Law in the US is in a very delicate state with this man at the helm - but it needs a leader to emerge that has the character, moral insight and strength to seize the reigns in a democratic fashion. Unfortunately for America there doesn't appear to be anyone quite like that around (Marvel comic characters excepted). Possibly not here either.....