The Etonian Erdoğan

We’re living in dangerous times. The UK has a government of liars, of charlatans, of law-breakers, who are totally shameless about their disregard for the law, for the courts, for parliament, and for anyone who does not agree with their naked power grab. This is a government of posh boy bullies who display their entitlement as a badge of pride. This is a government which broke the law and which reacted by using the language of contempt and disdain, and acted as it were those who had found them out who were the moral transgressors. Yet perhaps even worse than any of that, this is a government which has signalled that it is quite prepared to break the law again.

We saw Attorney General Geoffrey Cox boorishly boom that it was the opposition parties who were morally bankrupt even though it was his own faulty legal advice that encouraged the Prime Minister to break the law. We saw Michael Gove oleaginously slime his way through non-answers to serious questions about the preparedness of the Government for a no-deal Brexit, glibly playing to the Tory backbenches as though the highest stake was a prize in a students’ debating society and not the fate of thousands of jobs and livelihoods. But not Michael’s job or livelihood.  He’ll be just fine, and his lack of concern and care oozed out of every pore in his oily persona.

And then we had the main event. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson appeared before Parliament, refusing to admit that he had done anything wrong even though the judges in the highest court in the UK had unanimously ruled that he’d broken the law. He thinks the judges are wrong, not him. And with that statement we saw his entitlement in the raw. He believes that he knows the law better than the judges of the Supreme Court. He believes that their ruling shouldn’t apply to him. He believes that the greatest wrongdoing of all is that his wrongdoing is called out and checked. How dare anyone seek to hold him to account.

He used words of division, deliberately, calculatedly. His tactic is to stir up public anger, to create an artificial atmosphere in the coming election of the people against the parliament where the upper middle class Eton educated cousin of the Queen poses as the champion of the common man and woman. He destroyed the last vestiges of the dignity of his office in his pursuit of a General Election at a time and a framing of his choosing. He has unleashed the beast of right wing populist English nationalism, and now is worshipping at the altar of the mandate of the EU referendum, sacrificing democracy, the rule of law, and tolerance to nourish the flames of the ERG’s hatred. He used the language of surrender when referring to the bill compelling him to ask the EU for an extension, framing his self-inflicted predicament in terms of warfare with him as the action hero. Those who oppose him are enemies of the people.

Watching him speak, you could see the goddess of democracy shrivel and die with every lying self-serving word that he uttered. And those so-called moderate Tories on the back benches applauded him, cheered him on, gave succour and comfort to the death of those British traditions of democracy, moderation, and tolerance that they keep telling us they hold dear. Authoritarian governments don’t get into power solely on the strength of fascists and bigots. They do so with the help of those who do nothing to stop them because they’re more interested in their own careers and their own selfish interests. They fancy their chances of advancement in the authoritarian right wing state that Johnson has in mind for us all. Even when confronted with clear, undeniable, unequivocal evidence of this Prime Minister’s authoritarian rule of law denying agenda, they say nothing. We’re looking at you, Scottish Conservatives. We’re recalling your promise to be a strong voice for Scotland within the UK. Your electoral day of reckoning is coming.

The Prime Minister’s performance was a truly shocking exercise in arrogance. He boored. He bloviated. He blustered. There was no hint of contrition, nothing to suggest that he could even intellectually grasp the proposition that he was in the wrong when he prorogued Parliament unlawfully. Nothing to suggest that he understood that in a democracy, the Prime Minister cannot silence those who disgree with him. Nothing to suggest that he grasped the concept that as a Prime Minister without a majority he has no right to ram anything through a democratically elected legislature. His speech represented his unassailable and unshakeable right to rule unchallenged by bothersome MPs who insisted that they possessed a democratic mandate from their constituents.

Yet he managed to trump even his own trumpian ditch digging. Labour MP Paula Sherriff raised her concerns about the death threats that she has been receiving, threats which echo some of the language used by the Prime Minister and his supporters. It’s language of betrayal, of treason and traitors, of surrender or victory, and threats that if those MPs don’t comply then they will be dealt with violently. And this Prime Minister dismissed those fears as humbug, even though a woman MP was shot and killed by a right wing extremist who used the style of language that the Prime Minister so cynically deploys. He even suggested that the only way for MPs to be safe was for them to ensure that Brexit goes ahead. Think about that for a second. We have a Prime Minister who really believes that the physical safety of MPs should be conditional upon how they vote.

The language of Brexit harks back to the days of Empire. It’s language of conquest, of victory, of colonialism, of masters and slaves. There is no room for democratic debate with Brextremists, just as there is no room for democratic debate between a colonial power and the people it has colonised and exploited. They cast Europe as a coloniser, because in a world view with no shades of grey there can only be villains and saints. If the England of their imaginations cannot be at the pinnacle of power, then it must be enslaved and colonised. When you accept that view, then any action becomes justifiable in order to remove the source of the perceived injustice.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson deliberately panders to that infantile reactionary English nationalism. He nurtures it. He seeks to enrage. He wants to inflame. He knows that under the skewed and flawed system of Westminster elections he only needs to secure the support of a third of the electorate who bother to vote in order to win a majority in the Commons. That’s why he wants an election and not another referendum, because he only needs the support of one third in order to pursue the no-deal Brexit that his backers crave, not the support of more than half. And in pursuit of that goal he will lie, he will cheat, he will connive, he will dissemble. God knows what he’ll do if he does win a majority in the Commons.

It is incumbent upon any serious and responsible politician to weigh their words with care, to reflect upon how those who do not necessarily support them might perceive what they say. It is their duty as public servants to reach out and to heal the divisions that their campaigns might have created. We’re not going to get that from this Prime Minister. He is neither serious nor responsible. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson thinks that being Prime Minister means never having to say that you are sorry. Because he’s not sorry. He’s interested in one thing and one thing only, the pursuit and maintenance of his own power, and he doesn’t care who gets hurt, who gets trampled on, or who suffers in the process.

The ultimate loser will be British democracy. Back in 2014 anyone who tried to argue that Scottish independence was necessary in order to protect and defend democracy itself would have been laughed at. Now the defence of democracy has become the most important and pressing reason for independence. Democracy is endangered in the UK. Look at Bolsonaro’s Brazil, look at Erdoğan’s Turkey, look at Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. Wrap that in a union flag and you can see a future that’s coming here all too soon. Yesterday in the Commons, the Etonian Erdoğan announced its arrival. We’re living in dangerous times.

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52 thoughts on “The Etonian Erdoğan

  1. Couldn’t agree more,Paul. I never thought that there would come a day when I was genuinely fearful of the government. The Tories have completely lost their minds.

    • Come on! Tories strictly speaking don’t have ‘minds’. They have appetites, spites and greeds, and that’s about it.

  2. The scary thing, or at least one scary thing, is that so many anti-Boris comments still treat him as if he was Bozo the clown. This is a really nasty and dangerous individual. In any rational and civilised society he would have been thrown out years ago. But then, it is Westminster where rational and civilised get hooted down. I have a thought that during PMQ someone, maybe John Bercow, could shout ‘Food fight’ to see how close their Public School education is to the surface …

  3. One of the most obscene things so far from ABdePJ was the suggestion that the best way to honour Jo Cox’s memory was to deliver Brexit. The fury that followed this remark had little or no effect on him. What a vile creature he is

  4. I think would be better to call him BoJo the Puppet. I’m sure the belligerent talk is just what he thinks is needed to get the deal done and rally the faithful (and neuter Farage who is still waiting in the wings). However, like Trump, he would not be in that position without a large amount of support, particularly money, in the background. It’s all very well to lament about the neo-con agenda but at least one group within the establishment thinks this can be pulled off successfully.

    What if this fighting talk gets out of control? Is Farage (who apparently has been rather silent) waiting because this is going in a direction he like or it’s going in a direction where he can step in and take the reins?

  5. Part of the problem with the Westminster bear pit that poses as the Mother of Parliaments is that very few ‘honourable ‘ members know how to behave in a debating chamber ; and very few of them could possibly be classed as proper debaters , and even fewer are orators !

    If I had a penny for every time the Speaker chastised the ‘honourable’ members for behaviour that would not be tolerated in a Glasgow pub on a Saturday night , then I would have enough to afford an Eton College education – then I could learn how to misbehave in the Commons .

    The threats from the Speaker to quiet the rowdy yobs who pose as elected members are completely useless . If proper sanctions were available for this unsavoury conduct then perhaps their might be a chance for real debate in this ‘pretendy’ debating chamber .

    That so many of these yobs are expensively privately educated and have university educations beggars belief !

    • “That so many of these yobs are expensively privately educated and have university educations beggars belief !”

      Not so – these are the sources of their arrogance and entitlement. As Labour(!) has promised, we have to abolish private (Public) schools and make Universities egalitarian

      • Reading an interesting book (Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain) that describes how these schools lead to people that are immature, greedy and with a belief that they are entitled to power and money. That’s no accident, it’s the aim. To take just one example of what this leads to, it explains austerity.

  6. Wow, WGD that was a real blast of anger. I agree completely with that, needless to say. Not being able to sit through that whole display of disgraceful, rabble-rousing arrogance from Cox as well as Johnson, who the Tories obviously saw as the star turn, I had to retreat to take solace in some music.

    This is the worst I have ever seen in political chicanery and overweening entitlement being displayed in the House of Commons and this is from some one who has experienced several decades of the preening dishonesty of that place. Long ago I was convinced that we had to be free of them and now it is desperately imperative to be so.

    Many of us have been feeling that the cause of independence was wallowing in the doldrums of inactivity and that was making for a restive atmosphere among indy supporters with much grumbling in the ranks. But that incendiary shock of Boris Unchained in the HoC yesterday should have concentrated minds greatly, one would have hoped.

    Those other regimes mentioned in your post have been instructive for Johnson. All you need is someone reckless enough and unscrupulous enough to stir a certain demographic which is the same in any country – a mixture of the rootless and disaffected, allied with the privileged boot boys like Johnson. Cummings and Johnson know exactly how to call up these elements. It’s what they have dreamed of and readied themselves for – to wreck the old order which they too despise.

    The sickness which has infected the body politic of England has been brewing for a long time and now has turned into something raging and destructive. The elite never destroys itself – it is simply replaced and reformed and Johnson is so baleful and vainglorious that he means to be its destroyer and reformer. Let the devil take the hindmost.

    What do to now? I hope that sharper minds than mine can get out of this stasis which has provided an ideal opportunity for Boris the rule breaker. That is what he is relying on, that his opponents can’t think of another plan and are immobilized by their rules.

    I hope someone has a plan because just asking for a section 30 and relying on Westminster eventually recognizing the justice and fairness of independence is not going to work with Boris. He will be delighted to say no and jeer at you for simply asking.( I also hope that Johnson’s hubristic performance so far is not playing out in Scotland as well as he might think it will in England.)

  7. I know you have written thousands of words and hundreds of blogs over the past years but nothing will compare to this one sentence:

    ‘Watching him speak, you could see the Goddess of democracy shrivel and die with every lying self-serving word that he uttered’

    Thank you

  8. VERY – WELL – SAID!

    It has been mentioned a time or two on these threads that the way you practice politics matters. HOW you win a thing matters. HOW you govern on behalf of those in your care MATTERS.

    The so called ‘accepted practices’ of Westminster politics and the social structure it supports, created the epic omnishambles we see today. The majority of members in that house are wholly responsible for the fractured, angry and fearful society we see today. They are responsible for the narratives used to manipulate the opinion of populations.

    You want change? You want a different and better way? Then be the damn change. Don’t allow these people in Westminster sway over your lives and life choices.

    In Scotland you aren’t just the end user. YOU are the employer. YOU are the management. A Scottish government is your servant and are bound by Scottish law to act under your instruction. The Claim of Right isn’t a serving suggestion. It’s yours by, well, rights.

    USE IT! Use it and the choice it can provide you.

  9. Well, it’s all grist to the mill. The more Bawheid de Peffel rants and foments lawlessness, the more that Westminster shows itself as anti-Scottish and dysfunctional, then the more the remaining Scottish unionists will become disillusioned by the whole unsavoury scam.

  10. I have been worried for a good wee while now regarding a rising far right political agenda. Many think a Nazi future could not happen here but it could.

    Having said that I think money is driving this. The EU is increasing penalties for tax evasion and money laundering plus insisting that global corporations pay all due tax in each country they trade in. I reckon what is driving Brexit. Greed and the wish for less control.

    It is a worry how this will damage so many people. It is damaging the economy already.

    They are self serving bastards.

    Regrettably our opposition parties are not shining themselves with glory either, in this dangerous situation they could do a lot better

    • “Having said that I think money is driving this. The EU is increasing penalties for tax evasion and money laundering plus insisting that global corporations pay all due tax in each country they trade in. I reckon what is driving Brexit. Greed and the wish for less control.”

      Andy, could not agree more.

    • Absolutely, and the MSM owners have been egging it on with increasing jingo since the Maastricht Treaty came in..
      How much of the Opposition behaviour is due to sheer incompetence or direct influence (it all revolves around London) to ensure that’s what is perceived is open to debate… Anti-semitism and Labour has been milked to death by Tories and MSM alike, and although no Labour supporter, they are no less victims in this billionaires coup…

  11. From Wikipedia describing a group to which several members of HM Government including Jacob Rees-Mogg belong:

    The Cornerstone Group is a socially conservative or traditional conservative political organisation within the British Conservative Party.[1] The Group espouses traditional values as exemplified by its motto: Faith, Flag, and Family.

    I know it’s considered bad-form to call anything that’s not the actual Nazi Party, fascism but this really does bring to mind Kirche, Kuchen, Kinder.

    This is really getting scary now.

  12. Hi Paul,
    A very powerful and apposite piece. For me the great worry is Corbyn appears not to have the wit, insight or eloquence to defend us. Johnson should be ridiculed and exposed as the narcissist he is. Clinical narcissism that is. He is dangerous. Read the definition.

    It’s a threat that there is no authoritative voice able to take him to task. It’s all just shouting and name calling, tactics and posturing. Fiddling, indeed, as UK burns.

    I’m pretty sure Ms. Cherry could do the job for fun, but our system seems only to allow Corbyn any real time to challenge him.

    I despair.

    • Johnson has found his soul mate in America, Trump. American clinicians, watching Trump, warned that Trump displayed all the symptoms off a ‘ malignant narcissist’.

  13. B Johnston is doing what he is doing because he feels he has the right to do so on the grounds that a majority of people voted in favour of brexit.
    I am a remainer but I do think that brexit should go ahead simply because the brexiters won the brexit referendum.
    When the NO side won in the Scottish independence referendum I accepted that they won.
    When the YES side wins in a Scottish independence referendum I expect that to be accepted too.

    I hear people saying they didn’t vote for a NO deal , even remainers say that ?
    Well all I say to them is that if you didn’t know that a NO deal brexit or a hard brexit etc was possible you should have done your homework at the time.
    I have to say also that I personally thought that remain would win easily but I knew very well what would be possible if leave won.

    The fact is that the brexiters won the vote and that gives them the right to decide what kind of brexit it will be just the same as when the YES for Scottish independence side win we will decide what kind of move to independence we will have we won’t be dictated to by the losing side.

    I agree with WGD about all the terrible consequences of BJ and a no deal brexit but if that is what the brexiters want it is what we will get and the only way to change it is through the voting system.
    Yes BJ wants an election and not a referendum and the thing is the law allows him that .
    The real problem here is not Boris Johnston it’s the millions of voters in England that want brexit in any form that can be delivered even if it’s the worst brexit
    possible, they are the majority and the majority takes all in UK politics.

    • ; that gives them the right to decide what kind of Brexit it will be’

      That’s nonsense Terry. A small cabal of alt right fascists are trying to impose a no deal Brexit for personal gain, nobody, even barristers voted for that.

      • Brexit was brexit when people,voted, there was no discussion at the time of the vote about hard brexit , no deal brexit etc .
        The fact is the leavers won and they will decide what kind of brexit we get.
        I’m a remainer
        But I accept remain lost and should therefore not be the ones that decide how brexit is carried out

          • If only the brexit referendum had been for individual countries , I wish
            The fact is though
            We all walked in to it without giving it enough thought
            I like most thought remain would win easily I expected 60% or 70% remain
            I like everyone else knew it was a uk vote
            Not individual country vote
            I like to think that being a Scottish independence supporter enhances my sensibility , I still retain my sense of humour.
            I would say the joke is that some people try to ignore that it was a UK vote
            whilst accepting t was a uk vote I still think it wrong that Scotland has to do what the majority of voters across the uk want to do
            Scotland said long before the brexit referendum took place that if this very thing brexit should happen then it would have another Scottish independence referendum
            Well done the SNP for predicting the possibility of a brexit and Scotland being dragged out of the EU along with England wales and NI

          • But do you not think Terry of the con that has been played in respect of democratic outcome? It was Cameron who said the government would honour the outcome of the referendum, nobody else… It remained an opinion, a referendum is still not a democratic expression under law, it is advisory. It only took on a democratic mantle when both main UK parties stood in 2017 to enact the Leave outcome of that referendum and folk voted.
            The leave minded electorate in England had the choice between Leave and Leave, so voted by majority for, surprise, Leave. Yet if you read Dorling’s analysis, the Tory heartlands by a remarkably high turnout compared to elsewhere in the country, shifted the outcome dramatically, they essentially used the FPTP system to their own advantage.
            London voted Remain, NI voted Remain, Scotland under the same system but different political climate voted Remain, yet it matters not a damn to “democracy”…
            It is no longer the case Scotland blindly votes Labour, shifting the balance between Tory and Labour support in England, nobody down south votes SNP. Scotland is only a loss to Labour ultimately, but we have to stop thinking in a UK context, the UK is no longer a democracy, but a plaything for offshore billionaires…

    • Having just watched part of QT, the hysteria over Brexit was extraordinary, the conspiracy theories that “establishment-remainers” are the only obstacle to leaving the EU a perfect example of the successful manipulation by Press Barons with selfish monetary objectives.
      What is drowned in the din of (3 years ago) “17.4 million” voting (in the referendum), but Brexit was not about “no deal” in 2016, and need not be now. The May deal would have resolved this 6 months ago but was scuppered by ERG and the DUP, fervented Leavers all.

      Parliament must act in the national interest, not 1/3 of the British electorate, and even though I believe “No Deal” will ultimately be delivered by some wizard wheeze, what then?
      The notion that the binary tribalism decades of propaganda has generated in England will vanish overnight is nonsense, it would take decades to dissipate naturally. Having whipped up the mob, do you honestly think an independent Scotland is not the next target/scapegoat of the propagandists?
      It is not just about the Majority having their way, Brexit is a symptom not the illness…

  14. Crabbitgits gie it a rest. FM has to convert a majority to Indy, 20% will be fixed No, 20% yes and the 60% in the middle will switch from one week to the next. Too many supposedly Indy supporting commentators on Indy sites these days dissing the SNP – they need to rule for the majority so get off your soap box and actively campaign for Indy or are you just another Britnat troll trying to sow seeds of disolution?

    • Aye, once we have the solid majority backing Independence, the SNP will have some real options, until then they are tied into playing all the stupid Westminster games. Must admit I get a bit fed up of the litany of SNP – never good enough/not doing it my way/should go into action now – but I just keep reminding myself that they are reacting how the media wants them to react & it’s been happening for a while. Get everyone riled up to try and get the SNP to make a move too soon seems to be the plan, and that would be disaster. The SNP seem to have called it right so far, however frustrating that might be, and the situation is far too volatile at the mo to make any judgement on how to deal with it – that is, better them than me.

      Don’t think ‘disolution’ is the right word, but can’t think of what should is – discontent maybe?

    • Skintybroko, how dare you. How dare you accuse me of being ” just another Britnat troll”! Take it back! I demand a retraction. I have been commenting on this blog since 2014, a lot longer than you I bet. My views and support for independence are without question but I am not a blind follower of the SNP. I am a supporter of them at the ballot. I have a right to say what I said and will not be castigated or put off by the likes of you. Your defamation is totally unwarranted and a disgrace. How dare you! Utterly shameful.

  15. I repeat, the Tribe That Lost Its Head.
    It is about to blow up in their faces.
    We must hold our nerve. Yesterday Johnson repeated the Once in a Generation nonsense when challenged over a S 30 order.
    We shall go ‘over his head’ and petition the International Courts.
    London will riot first.
    1400 lose their jobs in N Ireland as yet another manufacturer, Wrightbus, goes to the wall.
    The Brexit damage is happening now.
    Good news for me; the surgery has been in touch to arrange my Flu jab.
    Will pensioners in England and Wales be so lucky?

    Like a snowball down a mountain…

  16. Yes Paul, you have as usual hit the nail on the head.
    What in my humble opinion is required for now in the HOC isn’t anger at Johnson and the other Tory gangsters, but something much more subtle. It is obvious that Johnson, Cox, Gove and Rees-Mogg are happy to deal with the anger and disgust their behaviour has caused in the HOC. In fact, they are stoking it up and inflaming it. They are enjoying winding up their attackers on the opposition benches, as they double or triple down on behaviour that would have been unthinkable even 5 years ago. For all their many faults, Cameron and May would never have gone down this route.

    No, what is required is using humour against them. Being laughed at is something Johnson is incapable of coping with. Derision, mockery, ridicule, scoffing with well thought out attacks can be devastating. There is plenty of ammunition, it’s just finding the proper conduit. Unfortunately, there is no one of the wit of Frankie Boyle or Don Rickles on the opposition benches. Alex Salmond was a master of this approach, Ken Clarke can be effective. However, Corbyn would be useless as would Jo Swinson. Ian Blackford? He doesn’t use this method of attack but I believe he could be successful.
    Recent example of using this approach. Mark, a hoax caller got through to Nigel Farage on LBC. The call begins with Mark setting out a case for why he was once a strong remain supporter, but who has now apparently seen the error of his ways.

    He tells Farage: “I’m immensely grateful for everything you’ve done in British politics in the last few years. I used to be an ardent remainer. I voted remain and I believed in the European project, and I believed that staying in the European Union was the best thing for us.
    “And then something happened – something monumental happened – and it completely changed my opinion on the whole situation.”

    “What was that monumental thing Mark?” Farage asks.

    “I was kicked in the head by a horse.”

    “Right, very good. Okay, fine, thank you” says Farage, who does manage a weak smile at his own expense. “Mark we’re going to move on from that.”

  17. And nail on the head. I totally agree with you Marlon McBrand. Humour and satire are skills narcissists are unable to contend with. Bile and vitriol feeds their addiction of gluttony.

    Another blog from the heart Paul.

    On the offchance: Is there any chance of a recording of your talk this evening (Friday) over on the lovely Isle of Arran? Or perhaps you have another planned event nearer to Perth?

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