Motes and beams

June 10, 2022 06:00
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo: Reuters)

How refreshing it would be if all the judges of the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court resigned lest, in Lord Reed’s words, “they appeared to endorse an administration which has departed from values of political freedom, and freedom of expression, to which the justices of the supreme court are deeply committed.”

What is sauce for the Hong Kong goose must surely be sauce for the British gander.

What are the values to which the Boris Johnson government is deeply committed?

To lie both to the House of Commons and the electorate, to flout, flagrantly and with total impunity the laws of the land that they impose on that same electorate, hardly sounds like something that the Supreme Court judges would commit to, deeply or shallowly.

To sell, because selling is what it is, those seeking asylum to a dubious African leader in order to satisfy the lowest possible denomination of racist populist, evokes striking similarities with slavery.

Is it consistent with freedom of expression to introduce into the criminal calendar a law that makes it an offence for a protestor to raise his or her voice loud enough simply to annoy someone else?

How much value, if any, can one put on a man who would break an international agreement which he not only signed but participated in drafting?

How much more egregious when to do so could easily re-ignite the inter-communal violence that took years to pacify.

And this pandering to a vocal but tiny minded gaggle of MPs choking on their nostalgia for an imperial past, is lest Johnson be removed from office.

Are these the values of political freedom before which Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Gove, Raab et al genuflect?

In my respectful submission, my Lords, the Supreme Court needs to look to its own house cleaning before assuming a mantle of moral superiority.

Recently, there have been two events in which a tiny cohort of electors exercised their entitlement to express their opinion: in both cases the results, theoretically, could have had a significant effect. Yet neither generated a level of engagement that was proportionate to their outcome.

One event was carefully choreographed so as to lead to a foregone conclusion. Hong Kong’s electorate were not inconvenienced by a profusion of candidates selling their souls for power.

They were treated to the elevation of a Chief Executive by a process that avoided all the hoopla and circus of a contest, resulting in a smooth transition of power utterly devoid of discussion or dissent.

Many would regard this as a kindness, many would not.

The outcome of the other event depended upon the fickle whims of arguably the worst profanity of parliamentarians that have ever infected the House of Commons.

The British had to rely on a collection of self-serving politicians, most of whom lack the talent and/or credentials for any form of useful employment.

Unsurprisingly, the Conservative Members of Parliament endorsed the leadership of both party and country by a constitutional liar and cheat, to have done otherwise would have put their comfortable income and secure way of life in jeopardy.

In all truth, the confirmation of Boris Johnson provided a striking argument against democracy.

The ultimate argument in favour of liberal democratic rule is the opportunity it affords to change those who hold power.

Rational and reasonable men and women can only hope that, in time, the scales will fall from the eyes of the purblind who fell for the kindergarten level deceptions of Johnson and his fifth-rate cronies.

Which is not to argue in favour of a political system which outlaws the very concept of the polemic, it is far from perfect but Churchill got it right.

Once upon a time the House of Commons was a great debating chamber where outstanding politicians made speeches that not only convinced the house but inspired and informed the public.

The current lack-lustre batch of incumbents have neither the oratorical skills nor the sense of purpose to encourage a drunk to lift his elbow for the next sip.

Any more than Hong Kong’s Legislative Councillors do.

At a time when the world is on the brink of an economic dark age brought on by the combined effects of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we seem bereft of a political structure that protects the individual from the excesses of the state, and people of quality to operate it.

Even a democracy can give rise to a fascist dictator, viz., Hitler, Francisco Franco.

Ultimately, everything depends on the quality, sound ethics and incorruptibility of those who wield power.

Has this world ever been so devoid of men and women endowed with such?

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King's Counsel