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The feather to break the horse's back: The United Kingdom’s demise?

On January 12th of 2022, after weeks of unrelenting avoidance of truth, Boris Johnson confessed to breaking national COVID laws, holding a party of 40+ people, in May of 2020. Many across the country are fraught with profuse rage at the evident divide of freedom of liberty within the British class system and mourning the family members of thousands, who, adhering to covid regulations, had to die alone. The world is watching as Johnson fumbles towards the knife's edge of his dissolving and failing state.  

People are not angry about a party. People are demanding accountability over the abuse of power. 

In the last twenty years, Britain lost two wars - one at least was incited illegally, ushering in the death of New Labour and the voice of the working class across the UK. The financial crisis of 2008 hit, destroying the UK social and economic settlement. In 2016, members of the Tory (including Johnson) and the UKIP party victimised the British public, harbouring English nationalism and tore the long-term foreign policy agreement with the EU. Brexit began on its path to tyranny, carving economic trenches with its largest trading partner (EU), with Northern Ireland, and dragging the entirety of Scotland out of the EU against its will. English nationalism fractured the union of nations, revealing the true nature of British politics to the world as structurally unequal. Johnson spent £100m of taxpayer money on the 2019 Brexit Campaign, distributing propaganda and inaccurate information. The ongoing impact of the Brexit agreement has stirred division in the UK member nations. The UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss issued a warning on January 8th, 2022, to override parts of the post-Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland, triggering a new border that will split the UK down the Irish Sea. A separation of Northern Ireland from England, Scotland, and Wales runs the risk of igniting wounds of Irish independence and Unionist conflicts of 1968-98.

EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said that if Ms. Truss were to do this, it would jeopardise 'the foundation of the entire deal' between the UK and EU. Current and previous Scottish Conservative leaders; Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson have expressed fears over No.10 destain for its own lockdown regulations. Concerns of corruption through lobbying and the handling of Brexit is damaging the Tory brand, claim Ross and Davidson. They believe that this Tory reputation pushes Scottish voters toward an independent nation. The internal division between the Scottish and English sects of the conservative party has grown tense following Johnson's confession and further fracturing is imminent. 

Disillusioned Britons watched as the government undermined scientific advice and subsequently committed what some conservatives claim is "one of the worst Health failures in British history.” Failure in protecting the public interest, the UK population had to endure one of the worst economic recessions, with one of the highest death rates in the so-called developed world. Since April of 2020, the UK has amassed 176,032 deaths involving COVID. In January 2022, the NHS declared a 'critical incident,' enlisting army medics into hospitals. Desiccated from the last 11 years of Tory rule, privatisation, and severe funding cuts, hospitals are critically struggling, staff numbers dwindling whilst lives are left to perish. Avoidable mortality rates have not been released since 2019 by the Office for National Statistics. Figures in 2021/22 indicate that government spending for day-to-day health services will bring the country back to just over the average of the last 70 years.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, new laws proposed have begun to impact the union as a whole. Brexit seemed like a logical and advantageous step for the Tories. The public witnessed the incremental perversion to our human rights. Abdicating from EU standards and regulations, the Tories could have absolute control over our governing principles. In 2021 Johnson and his cabinet advanced a series of new laws that would shake the very pillars of democracy. The Policing Bill (2021) would make it illegal for the public to exercise the right to protest. The Nationality and Borders Bill (2021) would give the government the power to deport anyone whose heritage can be traced back to other countries without notice or the right to legal representation. Legislative attacks were made on freedom of speech, as the Tories proposed amendments to the Official Secrets Act to meet digital demands. Under new provisions, journalists could be seen as foreign spies and arrested for 14 years if they embarrassed the government. 

It was only a matter of time until the British public, right-wing media and even his party members, would turn against Johnson. Johnson's failure to keep to his laws may have been the feather to break the horse's back. National polls show 66% of voters want Johnson's resignation ‘immediately,’ and all three opposition leaders have urged him to do the same. This, however, has never happened in British parliamentary history. A further 26 MPs and MSPs including the Scottish Conservative party current and former leader have demanded Johnson stand down. 

What if he were to remain in power? 

If Johnson were to continue as PM, it would carry a certain symbolic weight which will bring grave consequences. The UK must be wary of Johnson's ongoing success from here. Seeing him and others who broke COVID regulations continue in office will legitimise abuse of power, enshrine a two-tier legal system of public (punitive) and state (immunity), and usher us into a potential authoritarian regime. In principle, being above the law of the land would see an end to British democracy and the beginning of something worryingly anew. The British public and the world will watch to see what direction the pendulum will swing. 

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Tags: #change #tyranny #ukpolitics


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