Democracy: This Crumbling Sceptred Isle
By TruePublica Editor: With the words – ‘This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle’ – comes probably the most famous speech from Richard II, William Shakespeare’s 1590s play about the fall of the Plantagenet king – that ended with the ‘anarchy crisis’ in 1485. That was a period of some 15 years, which resulted in the widespread breakdown of law and order.
In the play, these words are spoken by the dying John of Gaunt, and the phrases he uses have become known in the popular consciousness of Britain.
“This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,–This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” (see a short analysis of this speech HERE),
History shows that the Plantagenets were, towards the end of their reign, beset with political, social and economic problems. There were popular revolts, triggered by the denial of numerous freedoms. It was a time of anarchy by the rich and powerful.
Today, Boris Johnson, his court of acolytes and the prospects for this island nation is crumbling by the day. Like the end of the Plantagenets, Johnson will bring an end to his government after nearly 15 years of Tory rule, one way or another at the next election.
Metaphorically speaking, fires are burning everywhere. Johnson’s court are defending accusations of outright lying, of racism, corruption and so much more. In the last week alone, revelations have emerged about the underhand and quite possibly illegal tactics his henchmen (the whips) have deployed to keep elected MPs in line. Threats of placing hostile stories about their private lives in the press have apparently been issued and the withdrawal of funding to the detriment of their electoral constituents.
This is compounded further with accusations of blackmail and intimidation from Downing Street by their own MPs. The chair of the Commons standards committee, says he has heard MPs alleging that Johnson himself has been involved in this blackmail.
Downing Street sounds more and more like something you would read about regarding the Kremlin.
The police have apparently handed ‘damning evidence’ to Sue Grey, who we have all heard about. If that is true, it begs the question – why did they not do their job in the first place, which they have apparently refused to do throughout the ‘partygate’ crisis. Or were the police themselves under the same political pressures too?
Distraction tactics are now in play. Ending basic public health safety restrictions over Covid demonstrates their rank cynicism. Another example is the action of culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, who has launched a headline-grabbing politically motivated attack on the BBC. The armed forces, (possibly gearing themselves up for what could happen in Ukraine) are being used by Home Secretary Priti Patel as a defence shield for the government to stop migrants crossing the channel.
SafeSubcribe/Instant Unsubscribe - One Email, Every Sunday Morning - So You Miss Nothing - That's It
In the meantime, Britain has suffered Europe’s worst pandemic death toll. Its economy was hit the worst and is not as Johnson says – the fastest growing in the G7.
Democracy itself is being ravaged by a monster that has ambitions of undermining a hard-fought-for free society. And let’s be clear here, Britain as a country once stood up as a beacon of liberal democracy more than most. Not any more.
Make no mistake about what Downing Street is threatening right now. This is an executive hellbent on undivided power
This is demonstrated no better than the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill where Home Secretary Priti Patel is attempting to make it almost impossible for Britons to protest freely. There’s even a real threat that protesters can be given 51 weeks of prison, where others can be arrested for threatening to make protest banners – it’s the stuff of paranoid regimes like that of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s so-called ‘supreme leader.’ One thing it is not – democracy.
Of course, all this comes with the attack on the judiciary. The aim of these attacks is to beat down the very heart of liberal democracy, to silence its ability to scrutinise the seat of power so needed in any normally functioning democracy. Make no mistake about what Downing Street is threatening right now. This is an executive hellbent on undivided power. Once a government finds its route towards the de-democratisation of a nation, the result comes alarmingly quickly and is truly destructive. Most democracies are destroyed from inside, just as Johnson and his cabal are doing right now. They used lies, false promises and the levers of democracy to get into power – and are now pulling the drawbridge of freedom and justice in the fog of (a pandemic) war to entrench their position.
But they chose the wrong man to lead them and the falsity that underpins them is crumbling. The footings are subsiding, cracks are appearing everywhere.
And then let’s not forget something else here. Britain is facing truly tumultuous times in the immediate future. Two years after the beating that a virus indiscriminately metered out, the NHS, its staff exhausted and in short supply is expecting to have a backlog of 13 million or one in five people by the next election. Brexit related labour shortages and trade frictions with our biggest trading partner, only makes rising global inflation worse. To load even more weight onto a fatigued national workforce, taxes are to be increased to cope with under-funded social care – a crisis that politicians kicked down the road until they couldn’t.
With a weak, self-serving narcissistic leader, the country is ill-placed to meet any of these challenges.
The additional cost of tackling the climate crisis at this very moment only makes the political environment so much more unstable and polarising.
With £12 billion of business a month now being lost to Brexit – the country will start a recessionary spiral later in the year as GDP is expected to fall by at least 4 percentage points – and as the Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted, for at least another decade. Inflation and rising energy costs will drag several million households to the brink of poverty. The crisis of the Northern Ireland Protocol is of Johnson’s making and then there’s the threat of Scottish independence and the trouble that both present. Neither will end well.
It is easy to forecast that big trouble is coming and it is. With a weak, self-serving narcissistic leader, the country is ill-placed to meet any of these challenges. It is also true to say that the Conservative party are crippled with hesitancy to rid themselves of the party-player in-chief because they have no one standing head and shoulders above that of the contenders, themselves only motivated by the lure of power, not public service.
It is not just Johnson’s authority that has ebbed away in recent weeks. That much was expected with a man as incompetent as he is dishonest. It is the basic tenets of morality and integrity that has been completely abandoned by the Tory party for putting a charlatan in place. At no time was anyone thinking of this ‘sceptre isle’, this ‘blessed plot’ or anything else in the national interest. They thought no further than winning the next election. And just like Bush and Blair after the blitz of Baghdad, when they won, they didn’t know what to do next. And look how that turned out.
The longer the so-called Conservative party continues to prop up this shallow minded imposter, the more they undermine any notion of standards in public life or indeed themselves. We are indeed living through a time of anarchy by the rich and powerful where democracy is itself in the crosshairs of egomaniacal and menacing political hooligans.
With the ending of the Plantagenets, the resulting stability allowed for the English Renaissance, and the advent of early modern Britain. Perhaps, fingers crossed, this is where we are – a time of great change. What Britain needs right now is a unifying leader with great vision. That person does not exist in the form of the current Tory party.