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Johnson's attempts to limit our democratic freedoms

(150 Posts)
Dinahmo Sat 02-Oct-21 00:08:35

Who remembers the supreme court voting 11-0 against Johnson's unlawful suspension of parliament back in 2019? I do. It actually brought tears to my eyes listening to Lady Hale's speech (she of the spider brooch). Johnson wants to reform judicial review.

Who remembers the £1 billion fund set up in order to help struggling towns? 39 of the 45 towns selected are in Tory constituencies, some of them being adjacent to poorer towns. Could the reason be to make the sitting MP popular so that he or she will keep their seat at the next election?

Our Parliament grew from the assemblies created in the Middle Ages that then became councils that were called by kings for the purpose of redressing grievances and for exercising judicial functions. In time, Parliament began to deal with important matters of state, notably the raising of revenues needed to support the policies and decisions of the monarch. As its judicial functions were increasingly delegated to courts, it gradually evolved into a legislative body. By the end of the 15th century, the English system displayed some of the basic features of modern parliamentary government.

Our ancestors fought a war and executed a king because of the conflict between king and parliament. Our democracy has developed over the centuries since then. One of the reasons for Brexit was taking back control of our country (whatever that meant). It now seems as though Johnson is trying to limit the democratic controls as currently exercised and he could well succeed given the venality of some of the current govt.

The following is a link to the article in the Guardian by Jonathan Freedland which prompted me to write the above. I was aware of the proposed actions as I'm sure many of you are too. To those of you who don't read the Guardian, please have a quick look at the article.

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/01/boris-johnson-rigging-the-system-power-courts-protest-elections

Ladyleftfieldlover Sat 02-Oct-21 09:58:07

Moderate Tories - didn’t a bunch of them who voted against the government lose the whip? Ken Clark, Rory Stewart, Ed Vaizey… most of them subsequently left politics. Johnson may look like a cuddly toy but he is probably the most dangerous politician we have had in decades. Sometimes I wonder whether his latest wife talks to him about his behaviour. His sister certainly did.

lemongrove Sat 02-Oct-21 09:59:58

MaizieD you say ‘we live in a dictatorship’.....that gave me the first laugh of the day.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 02-Oct-21 10:01:46

lemongrove

MaizieD you say ‘we live in a dictatorship’.....that gave me the first laugh of the day.

Now that you’ve got your silly glib comment out if the way, perhaps you would like to address the OP?

MaizieD Sat 02-Oct-21 10:08:10

Lincslass

MaizieD

What concerns me more than anything is the sidelining of parliament. Parliament, deeply unsatisfactory though it can be, is at the heart of our democracy, it is the sovereign power. I have posted about it on Gnet year after year for the past 5 years and no-one seems to have a clue or take the slightest bit of interest. Sovereign power lies with parliament, not with the government. One of the functions of parliament is to prevent governments having excessive powers. The tory's big majority and their complete disregard of parliamentary conventions has completely destroyed this function.

We no longer live in a parliamentary democracy, we live in a dictatorship.

Really, perhaps you should time travel back to the era of Stalin, Mussolini, Franco. Nazi Germany even. They were the true dictatorships. Dictatorship, well when the wokey wokes really gain power, then you will really see what a dictatorship is. Or perhaps even this www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6sqoEmUEGg.

Perhaps you should take your own advice, Lincslass and study how those regimes were established.

Then critically compare with current UK government actions, as detailed in Freedland's article.

There is a touching belief exhibited by some posters in the 'people power' of 5 yearly elections. Even dictators have elections; after they've carefully rigged them...

lemongrove Sat 02-Oct-21 10:09:26

That’s odd....I thought that saying ‘we don’t live in a parliamentary democracy we live in a dictatorship’ was a silly glib comment.
I have already addressed the OP further up the page thanks.😃
Are you the thread monitor Whitewave?

lemongrove Sat 02-Oct-21 10:14:50

So....you think the next election will be rigged Putin style MaizieD ?
The ‘touching belief’ in General Elections as you put it is the belief by most of the population based on experience that in the UK our elections are not rigged.You will have to do better than that in this strange quest to prove that we have, or are heading for a dictatorship.
If Labour win the next GE what will that prove? If the Conservatives win will you yell that it was rigged?

growstuff Sat 02-Oct-21 10:15:45

MaizieD

Lincslass

MaizieD

What concerns me more than anything is the sidelining of parliament. Parliament, deeply unsatisfactory though it can be, is at the heart of our democracy, it is the sovereign power. I have posted about it on Gnet year after year for the past 5 years and no-one seems to have a clue or take the slightest bit of interest. Sovereign power lies with parliament, not with the government. One of the functions of parliament is to prevent governments having excessive powers. The tory's big majority and their complete disregard of parliamentary conventions has completely destroyed this function.

We no longer live in a parliamentary democracy, we live in a dictatorship.

Really, perhaps you should time travel back to the era of Stalin, Mussolini, Franco. Nazi Germany even. They were the true dictatorships. Dictatorship, well when the wokey wokes really gain power, then you will really see what a dictatorship is. Or perhaps even this www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6sqoEmUEGg.

Perhaps you should take your own advice, Lincslass and study how those regimes were established.

Then critically compare with current UK government actions, as detailed in Freedland's article.

There is a touching belief exhibited by some posters in the 'people power' of 5 yearly elections. Even dictators have elections; after they've carefully rigged them...

I agree. Stalin was an outlier because he grabbed power by force, but the others were elected "democratically". The 1930s should be a lesson to us all about how democracies can be undermined

What on earth are "wokey wokes"?

growstuff Sat 02-Oct-21 10:18:30

lemongrove

So....you think the next election will be rigged Putin style MaizieD ?
The ‘touching belief’ in General Elections as you put it is the belief by most of the population based on experience that in the UK our elections are not rigged.You will have to do better than that in this strange quest to prove that we have, or are heading for a dictatorship.
If Labour win the next GE what will that prove? If the Conservatives win will you yell that it was rigged?

History does have a horrible knack of repeating itself.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 02-Oct-21 10:31:22

“Amid fuel and food shortages, the government has moved to cement its grip on power. It’s taking action against the courts, shrinking their ability to hold the ruling party to account, curbing citizens’ right to protest and imposing new rules that would gag whistleblowers and sharply restrict freedom of the press. It’s also moving against election monitors while changing voting rules, which observers say will hurt beleaguered opposition groups … ”

MaizieD Sat 02-Oct-21 10:35:22

Whitewavemark2

“Amid fuel and food shortages, the government has moved to cement its grip on power. It’s taking action against the courts, shrinking their ability to hold the ruling party to account, curbing citizens’ right to protest and imposing new rules that would gag whistleblowers and sharply restrict freedom of the press. It’s also moving against election monitors while changing voting rules, which observers say will hurt beleaguered opposition groups … ”

But that's alright, Wwmk2. We can,vote them out at the next election grin

Simples....

Whitewavemark2 Sat 02-Oct-21 10:38:48

Terribly depressing though at what is happening to a country of which we could once have been so proud.

MaizieD Sat 02-Oct-21 10:40:57

So....you think the next election will be rigged Putin style MaizieD ?

Actually, lemon, with their current majority the government could actually, and absolutely legally, abolish elections altogether.

GillT57 Sat 02-Oct-21 10:52:40

I have read the article twice and despite still not understanding every point, I am seriously depressed at the way this country is slowly dismantling all the things we used to be respected for, Parliamentary democracy, independent judiciary, freedom to demonstrate, to vote. That's without distraction of discussing the rights to health, education and housing. I don't know what concerns me most, the fact that these things are being dismantled in front of our eyes or the defense of said process by people who don't care about the price as long as they get what they have been told they want

winterwhite Sat 02-Oct-21 10:59:31

Parliamentary democracy took a lurch in the wrong direction when Teresa May not only refused any voting in parliament over her brexit plans but, failed to enter into any kind of consensus planning after a narrow referendum result. At the end of that process lay the proroguing row, and I was among those who thought that the Queen should have defended the rights of parliament.

This is not intended to deflect this thread into Brexit or the monarchy but as a contribution to the OP and where notions of dictatorship come from.

Dinahmo Sat 02-Oct-21 11:05:30

Lemongrove I can assure you that I am not panicking, it's rather that some people are a little blinkered in not seeing what's happening. Or, maybe if they do see it, they either don't understand or they chose to ignore recent events and the proposed changes.

ayse Sat 02-Oct-21 11:19:27

MaizieD

Lucca

Maizie, I apologise you are right.

Really it's just a perfect illustration of why the government is getting away with their suppression of democracy. Sidelining...

Be interesting to know how many posters so far have actually read the Freedland piece Dinahmo linked to?

I read it before I replied

MaizieD Sat 02-Oct-21 11:21:14

Parliamentary democracy took a lurch in the wrong direction when Teresa May not only refused any voting in parliament over her brexit plans but, failed to enter into any kind of consensus planning after a narrow referendum result.

I agree with you, winterwhite. It's about use or misuse of the parliamentary process. She had to be forced, by an action at law, to get the approval of parliament for triggering A50, thus giving it a veneer of parliamentary respectability but incorporated Henry VIII powers (giving the government power to act without the say so of parliament) into her acts to convert EU legislation to UK legislation. Powers which, it is said, the current government is well prepared to make use of... So, more erosion of democracy...

ayse Sat 02-Oct-21 11:29:27

Lincslass

MaizieD

What concerns me more than anything is the sidelining of parliament. Parliament, deeply unsatisfactory though it can be, is at the heart of our democracy, it is the sovereign power. I have posted about it on Gnet year after year for the past 5 years and no-one seems to have a clue or take the slightest bit of interest. Sovereign power lies with parliament, not with the government. One of the functions of parliament is to prevent governments having excessive powers. The tory's big majority and their complete disregard of parliamentary conventions has completely destroyed this function.

We no longer live in a parliamentary democracy, we live in a dictatorship.

Really, perhaps you should time travel back to the era of Stalin, Mussolini, Franco. Nazi Germany even. They were the true dictatorships. Dictatorship, well when the wokey wokes really gain power, then you will really see what a dictatorship is. Or perhaps even this www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6sqoEmUEGg.

Hitler used the democratic process to take power and then persuaded the Bundestag to give him unlimited power. The representatives voted for him because of the promises made re the economy and making Germany great again. They then proceeded to remove all opposition in their then democratic society starting with socialists and communists.

As many have said taking power in a democracy is executed by gradually stripping away democratic freedoms and using the armed and police forces to ensure compliance. The government is undermining human rights, the judiciary and the right to protest at this very moment.

It’s insidious and alarming. Mark Mazower, a historian writes on this very issue.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 02-Oct-21 11:53:59

Perhaps this help towards a little bit of understanding one of the issues.

Dinahmo Sat 02-Oct-21 12:12:33

Whilst Ayse was writing the above, I was composing a slighter longer epistle. This is aimed at those who think that we couldn't become a dictatorship, because it doesn't happen overnight. So, a little history lesson. which I'm sure most of you know but obviously some don't.

Losing the Great War came as a shock to most of the German and Austrian populations. they felt betrayed by the surrender of their leadership as the Kaiser fled the country.

Whilst revolutionaries fought for control of Berlin a new government was formed in Wiemar - a democratic republic.

War hardened young men returned to their countries, amongst them Adolf Hitler, who had volunteered to fight in the German army. Like thousands of others, in 1919 he was disillusioned by the defeat and unsettled by the political revolutions. He found his answer in the German Workers Party, which changed it's name in 1920 to - for short, - the Nazi Party. Apparently Hitler had a gift for public speaking and rose rapidly in the organization.

By 1923 hyper inflation was rampant. Money was losing value every hour, every day and the middle class was wiped out. That year Hitler with about 2000 supporters attempted to stage a coup in Munich. This failed and he was charged with treason and imprisoned. When he came out he spent most of the mid 20's building up the political organisation of the Nazi Party. In 1929 he gained 2.6% of the national vote.

By the mid 20's unemployment and inflation rates were down and Germany seemed to be on the road to recovery.

Then, in 1929 the stock market crashed and with it came economic disaster.

In 1930 the NP won 18% of the vote and by July 1932 they were up to 37%. At this time their rhetoric was not about Jews, but about how the system was broken and didn't know how to fix what was wrong.

In 1932 Hitler ran for office against the current president, Hindenberg. With the NP's 37% he did not get the majority that he needed. The elite around Hindenberg persuaded him to chose Hitler as Chancellor. They thought that they would be able to control him but sadly they were wrong.

The rest is history.

It took Hitler 13 years to reach the position of power that he needed to govern the country. Dictatorships don't happen out of the blue. There are usually circumstances that allow this to happen (although not in the countries where the army takes power) and the population is not always aware if what is happening. Had there not been a stock market crash in 1929 or had Hindenberg not been persuaded by the coterie around him to to chose Hitler as Chancellor the latter may not have gained the power that he needed.

ayse Sat 02-Oct-21 12:23:34

Dinahmo, I agree

The Peace Treaties at the end of WW1 caused huge difficulties for the German populations, humiliating them as a nation.

The past should never be dismissed and can provide insight into current situations.

ayse Sat 02-Oct-21 12:36:49

lemongrove

So....you think the next election will be rigged Putin style MaizieD ?
The ‘touching belief’ in General Elections as you put it is the belief by most of the population based on experience that in the UK our elections are not rigged.You will have to do better than that in this strange quest to prove that we have, or are heading for a dictatorship.
If Labour win the next GE what will that prove? If the Conservatives win will you yell that it was rigged?

The article cited in the original post about the new election bill can be read here. The electoral commission’s remit will be under government control.

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/07/what-does-the-uk-elections-bill-set-out

As I said it’s a gradual undermining of established practice. Any government can undermine democracy, should it wish to do so.

Smileless2012 Sat 02-Oct-21 12:57:06

Regarding your post @ 11.05 Dinahmo rather than some people being "a little blinkered" so unable to see what's happening, or if they do see not being able to understand or simply choosing to ignore what's happening, there is of course the possibility that not everyone agrees BJ wants to limit our democratic freedom.

Just a thought.

MaizieD Sat 02-Oct-21 13:00:35

there is of course the possibility that not everyone agrees BJ wants to limit our democratic freedom.

So, in all these initiatives to limit the independence and freedom of our institutions, what do you think his objective is, smileless? (I assume you have read the article?)

Whitewavemark2 Sat 02-Oct-21 13:07:58

I thought we left the EU to gain greater democratic freedom?