Economies of truth

December 21, 2021 10:01
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Photo: Reuters

Why would one expect anything better from a government led by a constitutional liar cocooned by the greatest collection of sycophantic misfits to ever furnish a British cabinet?

Time was, when a solitary lie to the House of Commons was the death knell of a political career, think of John Profumo. It is a lamentable fact that those days of principled cabinet ministers are long gone.

The current collective of dyed-in-the-wool compound liars has converted government into a fictionosphere in which falsehood is the currency.

Most of them are compelled to cling like limpets to their parliamentary salaries because no self-respecting organisation would give a nano-second’s thought to employing them, which is why they neither hear nor see evil when it is already fully up their nasal cavities.

Of course, all those flaky companies desperate to get their snouts in the trough will fall over themselves to employ an ex-Minister who can give them a fork-lift passage to publicly funded enterprises.

It is the greatest deception since Harry Houdini, that men – and it is virtually always the men – whose sole qualification for a ministerial appointment is their pukeworthy talent to genuflect to a con artist like Boris Johnson, only acquire value once they leave office.

The soldier’s metric is a useful yardstick to ask, rhetorically, whether one would willingly share a trench with any of them, to which the invariable response must be ‘I certainly do know a better ‘ole.

If any military unit was sufficiently incompetent to appoint Boris Johnson as a Lance-Corporal, those in his section would know for sure that he would abandon them at the first shot fired in anger, if Private Gove had not already knifed him in the back.

Second Lieutenant Rees-Mogg, having purchased his commission, would be resting louchely in his dug-out translating the Manual of Military Law into Greek.

Quarter-master Sergeant Raab would be doctoring the casualty figures in order to get his hands on more rations and medical orderly Hancock would be seen heading for the rear at the gallop.

This verminous collective of malcontents are bent on foisting on the British public a truly dodgy catalogue of laws, many of which ought never to see the light of day.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is 300+ pages of legislative provisions notable only for their inaccessible opacity, the very antithesis of legal clarity. One can visualise a host of Bob Cratchits labouring by candlelight with quill and ink to formulate these crabby words that defy ready comprehension by lawyer or layman.

Buried in this excrescent verbiage is this Tory government’s steps to criminalise peaceful protest.

Hong Kong’s government, for all its many faults, at least makes no pretence when promulgating autocratic edicts that outlaw dissent, whereas Johnson’s motley band of addle-brained bigots wear the outer vestments of democracy.

Unquestionably, blocking the M25 motorway by members of the Insulate Britain organisation caused great inconvenience to the public and may even have prevented the passage of emergency services, but protesters were arrested for existing offences of blocking the highway and causing criminal damage when gluing themselves to the road.

In addition, a High Court injunction was issued prohibiting blocking the highway, which exposed offenders to both fines and imprisonment.

As a full range of criminal offences existed and still exist to deal with this kind of protest the question arises why create a further arsenal of criminal behaviour unless it is to pander to a fascistic element in society?

Criminalising making a noise by a protester that may cause annoyance to a member of the public is the sort of offence that one would only expect from somewhere like the Peoples’ Republic of Bananarama, not the land of Magna Carta.

Careful reading of this grotesque gothic confection reveals a provision which empowers the police to hold someone on Police bail for up to 9 months without requiring a court appearance.

It is already clear that the 300 pages of obscurely crafted novel offences and restrictive provisions will not be given the time necessary for comprehensive parliamentary scrutiny that it demands. The Johnson mafia will railroad it onto the statute books with that cavalier disregard for individual freedoms that is its hallmark.

The duplicity and hypocrisy would be breath-taking in a civilised society but this administration has been midwife to a level of shameless corruption and mendacity that is as toxic as any viral infection.

It is perfectly natural for this ministry of snake oil salesmen and bootleggers to take steps to restrict the powers of the judiciary to hold them to account.

In the flurry of activity to counter the spread of Covid-19, all the nepotism and bent chummery that siphoned off countless millions to the administration’s friends and relations almost slipped by unnoticed. Will there ever be a reckoning?

Certainly not whilst the master of flummery, deceit and double standards is Her Majesty’s Chief Minister.

There is more than an air of Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera about the floss haired panjandrum’s band of beholders, if only it were not so dire.

When governments of whatever political colour abandon the norms of civilised behaviour and bend the law to their distorted concept of a just society, the governed will protest.

Peaceful protest is the citizen’s final resort against disproportionately repressive measures and is only criminalised by autocratic regimes that fail to answer to the reasonable needs of its society.

Where is the latter day Oliver Cromwell to stand tall in Westminster’s hall and tell these mendacious self-serving pseudo-politicians “In the name of God, go!”

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King's Counsel