Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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There is much afoot this last few days as the row over the suspension of parliament and the scheduling of a new Queens Speech to herald a new parliament reaches quite frenzied proportions.

A good deal is being bandied about on the subject of democracy - or rather the alleged government attack upon democracy, the onset of dictatorship and the rocky road toward us becoming an authoritarian state.  What absolute bunkum !   The very essence of democracy is unquestionably the freedom to express disagreement, the wishes of the majority to hold precedence (without this in any way dismissing the minority positions legitimacy to argue for alternative ways) and for the general good order prescribed by that ancient and overriding concept of the Rule of Law.  That all said, the form of democracy we have is certainly not perfect, but as all things constitutional in this country it is an evolving process, ever changing, adapting and trying (not always successfully it might be said) to reflect the cultural shifts as well as the legal obligations that we should all be respectful of.  That adaptivity is what binds us as a nation state.

Bristling Brock (who is neither Tory nor Socialist at heart) supports Mr Johnson on this issue.  Many others do not.  That we have an opportunity to take different positions and express them is a sign of democracy at work.  We would all soon notice if this rather subjective freedom was denied to us.  And whilst Parliament is a significant force within the workings of democracy, it is not exclusive - democracy is an everyday presence in our lives over which Parliament often has little or no knowledge at all - and which, BB suspects, the vast majority of the population themselves never link to this very important cocoon around us that we all, blithely enjoy.  Yes, we may seek changes to the methodology by which our democratic representatives are selected and also the proportionate numbers of electoral votes that enable those candidates to be in the running at all - those aims in themselves are a healthy sign of a living-breathing democracy - but we should all be wary of abusing that privilege.

With Brexit we have a legally decided mandate to leave the EU.   Logic would suggest that having some sort of negotiated withdrawal would be preferable to just walking out of the door.   Regrettably, for almost three and a half years we have had a government prevaricating, supplicating themselves and merely trying to look as though they were going through the motions of actually preparing to leave the EU.  If there is any transgression of democracy here, that is it.  A complete abrogation by those charged with a specific task actively working against its fulfilment.  Now, that government has been dismissed and we have a new government that has the stated aim of ensuring that Britain does leave the EU - that is the democratic position of the majority, the legal position, the moral position and most likely the position that has this nation's best interests at heart.  True, this new government has not been elected in the classical fashion, but nor was Mrs May's tenure, Gordon Brown's and countless other administrations over past decades.  It is not an essential whilst the Parliamentary term is still running.  And this Parliament has had an extraordinarily long run which Mr Johnson is now bringing to an end so that a new legislative programme can be put in place for future parliamentary discussion and approval.  Absolutely nothing strange about that, nothing dictatorial, nothing at all that could be classed as anti-democratic.

What we are experiencing these last few days is the (deliberate ?) conflation of the suspension of Parliament with the very act of preparing to leave the EU.  But let us consider this.   After three and a half years of agonising ineptitude and sabotage by the previous government - which truly was anti-democratic - we now have a government that is prepared to fulfill that 2016 mandate and in doing so will fulfill a democratic demand.   Those that feel some sort of abhorrence at this bolder, more decisive strategy are living in some parallel universe if they believe that democracy is not being served.  They have every right to shout and wave banners to express their dislike of the dynamic now at work but they are not in any way entitled to describe the suspension of Parliament (which has probably gone down in the history books as one of the most ineffective of recent times) as some underhand plot to dismiss democracy in this country.  That is nothing more that ignorant twaddle.

The PM has a tough job on and he has to accomplish this with a full recognition of the right to protest yet the arguments about deals or no deals are incidental to the concept and application of democracy.  Britain's sovereignty has endured a thousand years of frequent mayhem but it has successfully adapted to the changing times.  Now is a time of change, a legally charged change that the government has to fulfill.   If it doesn't, then democracy will have failed and those that have shouted loudest will have won.   But then, of course, we will no longer live in a democracy.