The truth is Johnson knows that his vision is lacking a mandate.
Boris Johnson warned, last week at Conservative party conference, that if Brexit were delayed, there would be “grave consequences for trust in democracy”.
He has championed Brexit, the political project that has become so intrinsic to his political career, as the people “taking back democracy”. Boris Johnson’s rhetoric has long suggested that he believes he is the champion of democracy, but it can be argued there has been no graver consequence for trust in it than Boris Johnson’s premiership.
First of all, he was elected by just 0.2% of the population, who were predominantly white and from the highest income groups. Secondly, he effectively suspended democracy by proroguing Parliament. Third, the supreme court ruled it was unlawful for him to do so. Fourth, he says he will not comply with the Benn act, which would be breaking the law.
Fifth, and most recently, Boris Johnson has apparently threatened to “squat” in Number 10 if he is removed from power by Parliament, and would only leave if dragged out by the police – claims that were not denied by Number 10.
The contempt that this man holds for a democracy, as evidenced in his actions after being Prime Minister for just over 2 months, is insulting to people across the UK. For him to consistently suggest that it is his opponents that are standing in the way of democracy is worse still.
The British people did not vote for a No Deal Brexit in 2016 and they did not vote for Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2019. To imply that he has a god given right to stay in 10 Downing Street if parliament votes to remove him is reminiscent of the actions of a tin-pot dictator.
There are many ways in which the last few months have had grave consequences for trust in democracy, and almost all of them have been at the hands of Boris Johnson. Those who argued for legislation to prevent the No Deal no one voted for, and those advocating for a People’s Vote, have been vilified by those at the top of government as though they are enemies of the people – a dangerous suggestion for our democracy in itself.
But every single person fighting for a confirmatory referendum has spent months arguing in favour of more democracy whilst Boris Johnson has fought to restrict it. If he trusts that this is what the people want, why not ask them? Why not achieve the mandate on Brexit that he currently lacks?
The truth is, as Boris Johnson knows, that his vision is without a mandate. He has left the future of people in my home, in Northern Ireland, hanging by a thread. He has left EU migrants fearful and those reliant on at risk jobs worried about what Brexit will entail. It is no wonder now the disastrous nature of Brexit has never been more evident, that he does not want to take the decision back to the people.
The Prime Minister has openly flouted and threatened to break the law several times, and now hints the police must drag him out of Number 10. It is impossible to imagine any other Prime Minister, or party leader, behaving the way he has and getting away with it.
The fact that Boris Johnson thinks he can get away with is rather terrifying, but we can only hope that the democracy he has shown so little respect for triumphs in the end – for all our sakes.
Democracy is about trusting the people, and no matter your politics, if you are a democrat then you should support a People’s Vote, because we know that we can’t trust Boris Johnson.
Rosie McKenna is the mobilisation officer at For our Future’s Sake.
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