Wednesday 5 October 2022

Lexicographical crime


Yesterday, the new empathy-challenged Home Secretary, chosen for the job on the basis that her predecessor, Priti Patel, was simply not nasty enough, claimed that those Tory MPs who had ‘forced’ the government to abandon part of its proposed largesse towards the richest, had staged some sort of ‘coup’ against the elected government of the UK. Her definition of a ‘coup’, which is that MPs had threatened not to vote for a policy which they did not support and which formed no part of their manifesto at the last election probably constitutes some sort of crime against lexicography, but using a different dictionary than the rest of us, and defining words to mean exactly what they want them to mean (well, perhaps not exactly; exactitude is another missing attribute amongst the current government) is far from being the biggest problem with her statement. Within the normal meaning of the word coup, the overthrow of one government and its replacement by another, there has indeed been a coup, but it’s the one which took place a few months ago under which the Tory Party deposed one clueless leader in order to give itself free rein to find someone even more clueless, which is, I suppose, at least one task they’ve managed to complete successfully.

The bigger problem is that, under the UK’s unwritten constitution, and despite the way the media cover and present elections, we do not elect (and never have elected) governments, parties, or Prime Ministers. The only thing we are allowed to elect is a member of parliament for the constituency in which we live; once elected, he or she is free to support whatever policies, parties, or leaders he or she might choose, regardless of any pledges which might have mistakenly appeared on his or her election material. The result is that we now have a government whose leader was chosen by a vanishingly small proportion of the electorate as a whole which is following a programme which is significantly different from what the same people promised in 2019. And it’s all entirely legal and above board. There may be a few deranged members of the governing party who inexplicably consider that they might have some sort of duty to stand by what they said only three years ago – the ones who Braverman accuses of being coupists – but seen from the bunker in Downing Street, these people are little better than traitors, reneging on the only responsibility they have, which is to do as they are told.

What the rest of us need to remember is that this ability to replace a government with a wholly different one, committed to a completely different political direction, isn’t a bug in the UK’s constitution, it’s a feature of it. There has been an entirely legal coup; this is the way things are supposed to work. The PM is appointed by the monarch, not elected by the people, and once appointed is free to do almost anything he or she wishes, subject only to having a sufficiently servile bunch of MPs for those changes which require legislation, which is far from being all of them. The ‘solution’ is not just to hold a new election. That might defer the problem until halfway through the next parliament, or the one after that, but it doesn’t solve it. And since the only solution for the UK as a whole involves persuading turkeys to vote for Christmas, the only way out is to escape from the turkey farm and ensure that independent states in Wales and Scotland start life with proper written constitutions, fair electoral systems, and a recognition that sovereignty belongs to the people not the monarch. We could call it something novel and exciting, like perhaps ‘democracy’.


Gwyn Jones said...

Have viewed parts of the tory conference. Had not seen so many fascists in the same place since the Nuremberg Rally.

dafis said...

Gwyn - don't fall back on the infantile "fascist" trope that so many of our immature herd rely on when unable to articulate a criticism, or is it just laziness. Most of that herd at Tory Conference share a supremacist delusion but given the divisions within that Party they do not possess the more uniform orthodoxy that a full on Fascist gathering would have on display. There are Fascists among them and probably working hard to get the upper hand, but greed,self interest and an inherent supremacist trait are currently the most prevalent characteristics. If you are seeking Fascism check out what nearly happened to Yes Cymru last year and it could come around again. The next Fascism will not be a replica of the Adolf- Benito variant but will have its own new distinctive exclusionary features.

Gwyn Jones said...

LBC's James Obrien's defenition of fascist is a person who wishes to "punish" people who have done nothing wrong, be they Jews or as it effected me, pistol shooters over 20 years ago. The only mp in north Wales who opposed handgun confiscation was Martin Jones, labour Wrexham. All my nationalist mp's in the north west supportrd the bill to deprive people of their property and civil rights. They were either full blown fascists, latent fascists or had taken a leaf from Pontius Pilate's book and were ready to throw some people to the lynch mob which is fascist by any other name.
I was going to resign from Plaid as a result of the actions of their mps but decided against it as curiosity of what these people will do next keeps me going.