Sunday marks the International Day of Democracy, yet this week the seats of parliament were left unoccupied as streets across the country filled with protestors. Who can forget the sight of the Speaker’s chair in parliament, which was empty except for a sign that read ‘silenced’? It was a powerful image.
Just this morning, we find ourselves in a situation where a judgment from three of the highest judges in Scotland has unequivocally said that shutting down our parliamentary democracy is unlawful. The UK has a proud history of democratic process; we are one of the founders of parliamentary democracy and have always fought hard to protect it. It’s part of our national identity. But a minority government, led by a Prime Minister that 99.9% of the population did not vote for, has undemocratically suspended parliament through an exploitation of procedures.
This year, the EU’s focus for International Day of Democracy is ‘no democracy without accountability’. The Conservative government, especially the Prime Minister and his closest aides, would do well to be truthful and accountable to UK citizens. The PM’s actions over the past few weeks have been entirely undemocratic.
Parliament is sovereign in the UK, and its role is to hold the executive to account. When the executive tries to silence parliament, we have a problem. If this creates a precedent, what is to stop him doing it indefinitely? Nobody who respects democracy shuts down the very institution designed to enable it at a critical time for our country.
The Leave campaign lied to voters and was found guilty of electoral fraud. The PM was a leading figure in this campaign. Dominic Cummings, the PM’s chief adviser, was the campaign director of Vote Leave. How can the director of a campaign that was found to be fraudulent be the chief advisor to the Prime Minister of our country?
It is our job as your elected representatives to correctly inform and act in the best interest of the people, the communities and countries we represent. If what Johnson is doing is democratic, why have 21 MPs had the whip withdrawn because they voted against his plans for a no deal Brexit? Why are members of his own cabinet resigning? Why has the government claimed progress towards a deal despite no new proposals being presented?
This period in the UK, and those who represent this country at this time, will go down in the history books. Boris and co may well be remembered as the government that tried to attack democracy, but democracy is striking back. It’s no coincidence that there have been #StopTheCoup protests in towns and cities all over Wales – and there will be more pro-democracy protests in the coming weeks. It’s time we all stand up, march, protest and say no to breaching the rule of law and no to no deal.