Mike Vickers' Blog

September 16, 2019

Johnson dictating to Juncker who won’t show ‘Flexibility’

Filed under: Boris, Brexit, Dictatorship, Northern Ireland, UK Parliament — derryvickers @ 10:11 am

Yesterday it was Johnson dictating to Juncker.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/15/johnson-to-defy-benn-bill-quit-31-october-come-what-may.

Today it’s EU showing ‘Flexibility’.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/sep/16/brexit-latest-news-boris-johnson-talks-juncker-eu-must-show-flexibility-says-raab-ahead-of-boris-johnsons-key-meeting-with-juncker-live-news-latest-news

Pity Number 10 can’t seek with one voice.

But then its the Tory ‘Party’

Or maybe it’s just that Johnson needs the Excuse to leave; any excuse will do and Rabb is just his man to provide it (for now).

September 10, 2019

Johnson – One Nation Conservatives – Oh Really?

Filed under: Boris, Dictatorship, economics, Equality, Workers Rights — derryvickers @ 1:15 pm

Disraeli understood to establish One Nation Conservatives as:

‘Disraeli adopted one-nation conservatism for both ethical and electoral reasons. Before he became leader of the Conservative Party, the Reform Act 1867 had enfranchised the male working-class. As a result, Disraeli argued that the party needed to pursue social reforms if it were to have electoral success. He felt that one-nationism would both improve the conditions of the poor and portray the Liberal Party as selfish individualists.

While in government, Disraeli presided over a series of social reforms which supported his one-nation politics and aimed to create a benevolent hierarchy. He appointed a Royal Commission to assess the state of law between employers and employees. As a result, Richard Cross was moved to pass the Employers and Workmen Act of 1875. This act made both sides of industry equal before the law and the breach of contract became a civil offence, rather than criminal. Cross also passed the Conspiracy, and Protection of Property Act in the same year which enshrined the worker’s right to strike by ensuring that acts carried out by a workers’ group could not be indicted as conspiracy.’

Brexit: Boris Johnson rejects claim he is making Conservative party extreme – live news
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/sep/10/anger-abounds-after-parliament-suspended-in-night-of-high-drama-politics-live#img-1

Not much similarity to me

September 6, 2019

Step forward Benito Mussolini

Filed under: Boris, Brexit, Dictatorship, Italian, Politics — derryvickers @ 1:37 pm

Step forward Benito Mussolini.

West Yorkshire police have criticised Boris Johnson for making a political speech before a backdrop of its officers, with the chief constable saying the force was assured this would not happen but that Downing Street changed plans at the last minute.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/06/criticism-grows-boris-johnson-use-police-officers-political-speech

September 5, 2019

Told You So Johnson

Filed under: Brexit, Dictatorship, UK Parliament, Westminster — derryvickers @ 10:33 am

May: I told you what to expect but you brushed me aside.

So!

Theresa May has the laught

Told you so Johnson

September 1, 2019

Yes it’s a Coup

Filed under: Brexit, Dictatorship, George Orwell, Patrick Cockburn, Politics — derryvickers @ 8:44 am

 

Patrick Cockburn in Saturday’s Independent

Britain is experiencing a slow-moving coup d’etat in which a right-wing government progressively closes down or marginalises effective opposition to its rule. It concentrates power in its own hands by stifling parliament, denouncing its opponents as traitors to the nation, displacing critics in its own ranks, and purging non-partisan civil servants.

Some describe this as “a very British coup”, which gives the operation a warmer and fuzzier feeling than it deserves. It is, in fact, distinctly “un-British” in the sense that the coup makers ignore or manipulate the traditional unwritten rules of British politics over the past 400 years whereby no single faction or institution monopolises authority.

What we are seeing has nothing to do with the British past but a very modern coup in which a demagogic nationalist populist authoritarian leader vaults into power through quasi-democratic means and makes sure that he cannot be removed.

This new method of seizing power has largely replaced the old-fashioned military coup d’etat in which soldiers and tanks captured headquarters and hubs in the capital and took over the TV and radio stations. Likely opponents were rounded up or fled the country. The military leaders sought popular passivity rather than vocal support.

I first witnessed the new type of coup in action three years ago in Turkey when it took place in reaction to an old-fashioned military coup. Part of the Turkish army tried to stage a military putsch on 15 July 2016 and provided the then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with what appeared to him to be a heaven-sent opportunity to install an elective dictatorship in which subsequent elections and the real distribution of power could be pre-determined by control of the media, judiciary, civil service, security services and, if people still stubbornly voted against the government, by outright electoral fraud.

I spoke to plenty of people in Istanbul in the days after the abortive military coup who saw clearly that its failure meant that they might have escaped rule by the army, but only at the cost of being gripped ever more tightly by civilian authoritarian rule.

“Erdogan’s lust for power is too great for him to show restraint in stifling opposition in general,” predicted one intellectual who, like almost everybody I was interviewing at this time, would only speak anonymously. This was certainly wise: TV stations, radios, newspapers, critics of all sorts were being closed down by the minute. When one small-circulation satirical magazine dared to publish a cartoon mildly critical of the government, the police went from shop to shop confiscating copies.

Some Turks comforted themselves by quoting the saying that in government “the worst politician is better than the best general”. Three years later, those not forced into silence, in exile or in prison may not be so certain that the difference between a civilian and a military dictatorship is quite so great.

The PM worries about damaging trust in politics – but he is the damage

By the day of the referendum in 2017, some 145,000 people had been detained, 134,000 sacked, and 150 media outlets closed. No act of persecution was too petty or cruel: one opposition MP, who denounced the “yes” vote, found that his 88-year-old mother had been discharged by way of retaliation from a hospital where she had been under treatment for two-and-a-half years.

Less than a year after the failed military coup, Erdogan held a blatantly rigged referendum which marginalised parliament and gave him dictatorial powers. Despite the harassment and silencing of critics, it passed by only 51.4 per cent in favour of these constitutional changes as opposed to 48.6 per cent against. Even this narrow majority was only achieved late on election night when the head of the electoral board overseeing the election decided that votes not stamped as legally valid, numbering as many as 1.5 million, would be counted as valid, quite contrary to practice in previous Turkish elections.

Turkish elections are not a complete farce as in Egypt and Syria, as was shown by the election of an opposition candidate as mayor of Istanbul earlier this year. But the political process as a whole is now so skewed towards Erdogan that it will be extraordinarily difficult

 I spoke to plenty of people in Istanbul in the days after the abortive military coup who saw clearly that its failure meant that they might have escaped rule by the army, but only at the cost of being gripped ever more tightly by civilian authoritarian rule.

“Erdogan’s lust for power is too great for him to show restraint in stifling opposition in general,” predicted one intellectual who, like almost everybody I was interviewing at this time, would only speak anonymously. This was certainly wise: TV stations, radios, newspapers, critics of all sorts were being closed down by the minute. When one small-circulation satirical magazine dared to publish a cartoon mildly critical of the government, the police went from shop to shop confiscating copies.

Some Turks comforted themselves by quoting the saying that in government “the worst politician is better than the best general”. Three years later, those not forced into silence, in exile or in prison may not be so certain that the difference between a civilian and a military dictatorship is quite so great.

The PM worries about damaging trust in politics – but he is the damage

By the day of the referendum in 2017, some 145,000 people had been detained, 134,000 sacked, and 150 media outlets closed. No act of persecution was too petty or cruel: one opposition MP, who denounced the “yes” vote, found that his 88-year-old mother had been discharged by way of retaliation from a hospital where she had been under treatment for two-and-a-half years. Could the same thing happen here in Britain? This is one of the strengths of the Johnson coup: many people cannot believe that it has happened. British exceptionalism means that foreign experience is not relevant. Few knew or cared that Turkey had a strong tradition of parliamentary democracy as well as a grim record of military takeovers. But it is these slow-burn civilian coups which are such a feature of the modern world that we should be looking at – and trying to learn from – and nor what happened in Britain in the 1630s when Charles I sought to impose arbitrary government.  Opponents of the suspension of the parliament have a touching faith that the present government will stick by the historic rules of the political game when everything it has done so far shows a determination to manipulate and misuse these rules to gain and keep political power. Progressive Turks have been down this road and knew all too well what lay at the end of it. Revolutionaries on the left suddenly discover that the right also stages revolutions and that there is virtue in a fairly elected parliament. “So here I am, gone from post-structuralist anarchist to ballot-box monitor,” tweeted one Turkish convert to this view as he vainly tried to thwart fraudulent elections.

Many in Britain are now springing to the defence of parliament and elected representation, but they should have sprung a bit earlier. Those in the Labour Party who were neutral about Brexit – or even saw it as a welcome disruption of the status quo and an opportunity for radical reform – only now seem to be noticing that Brexit was always a vehicle whereby the hard right could take over the government.

Chants of ‘Boris out’ outside British embassy in Brussels

Turkish elections are not a complete farce as in Egypt and Syria, as was shown by the election of an opposition candidate as mayor of Istanbul earlier this year. But the political process as a whole is now so skewed towards Erdogan that it will be extraordinarily difficult to dislodge him. This is a feature of the 21st-century type coup: once in office, leaders are proving more difficult to evict than a junta of military officers a century earlier.

Less than a year after the failed military coup, Erdogan held a blatantly rigged referendum which marginalised parliament and gave him dictatorial powers. Despite the harassment and silencing of critics, it passed by only 51.4 per cent in favour of these constitutional changes as opposed to 48.6 per cent against. Even this narrow majority was only achieved late on election night when the head of the electoral board overseeing the election decided that votes not stamped as legally valid, numbering as many as 1.5 million, would be counted as valid, quite contrary to practice in previous Turkish elections.

A pro-democracy movement against Boris Johnson has been bornA weakness of such resistance is that its potential leaders, including supposed radicals like Jeremy Corbyn, really do look at Britain’s past as a guide. It is those who have been mocked for trying to recreate a fantasy England, such as Johnson and his chief lieutenants, who are much more in tune with the modern world and instinctively follow in the footsteps of Trump, Erdogan and their like from Washington to Sao Paolo and Budapest to Manila.Successful resistance to this toxic trend means learning from the fresh experience of other nations similarly blighted and not from British history.

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-prorogation-parliament-erdogan-democracy-turkey-a9086011.html

Also a shortened version at:

https://ffrancsais.blogspot.com/2019/09/britain-on-brink-of-coup.html

 

 

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