Fragile Civil Order


I blogged in June about Duty owed by elected Leaders to the People.  Their duties include: preserve territorial integrity, represent the constituency on the platform campaigned on, preserve rights and liberties including peaceful protest, and uphold the rule of law.

We have been lulled into complacency by decades of civil calm in most democracies, coinciding with generally wise, moderate government and trade-fueled economic growth. Seems these tolerant peaceful days are everywhere threatened – by trade wars, economic malaise, angry have-nots and increasingly despotic leaders.

Among numerous international hot spots are Barcelona (independence), France (gilets jaunes), Hong Kong (protest against PRC rendition etc), Brazil (land hunger), India (Kashmir; Hindu supremacy) and Italy/Hungary/Turkey/Austria (right-wing intemperance).

But the United Kingdom, where parliament took two revolutions and 400 years of vigilance to gain and maintain dominance over the government, is this year’s disappointing surprise. For the Johnson government to gain a prorogation of Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit has caused a constitutional crisis and a clear danger to civil order.








Quotes of 29 August:

  • “However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now would be to stop parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country. I have had no contact from the government, but if the reports that it is seeking to prorogue parliament are confirmed, this move represents a constitutional outrage.” John Bercoe, Speaker House of Commons
  • “We are reaching the point where the civil service must consider putting its stewardship of the country ahead of service to the government of the day,” Lord Kerslake, former head of the British civil service.
  • “The government’s decision is a constitutional outrage. A government which is frightened of parliament is frightened of democracy. I hope that every member of parliament, in feeling this humiliation, will use every legal and constitutional weapon to obstruct a government proposing to force on the British people a historic change for which they have long since lost any mandate,” former Tory deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine.
  • “If the government tries to drive no deal through by stopping parliament from sitting, we cannot just rely on the courts and parliamentary process. We need a mass movement of resistance, with marches, civil disobedience and protests in every village, town and city of this country.” Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle

A devastating prospect! More inflammatory calls to action will follow in days ahead. While it takes a lot to anger the British people, the elements are emerging: –

  • A powerful rallying issue – our Parliament is under threat
  • Mass public demonstrations
  • Careless governance led by a deeply flawed autocrat
  • Scottish and Irish fury
  • Courts finding the prorogation unconstitutional
  • Social media aggravating people’s fears

Likely sparks to ignite wide civil disorder might be: – a rallying leader, foreign meddling (EU, France or USA), or a mishandled stand-off with an angry mob causing civilian deaths.

The British police would be sorely tested to control this level of disorder and would probably ask the Prime Minister to order the military to provide aid to the civil power. This military intervention is commonplace in France and Italy, but unusual in peacetime Mainland Britain. However the British State has enormous authority to apply force in the preservation of its interests and stability.

“Keep Calm and Carry On” won’t work in this scenario!