TopGuard’s French correspondent, Sylvie de Beauvoire, completes her (spoof) talk with new UK Prime Minister Rish Soontech about Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. If you haven’t read Part Two yet, here it is. Part One can be viewed here.
Transcript resumes …
Sylvie de Beauvoire (SB): There are a number of other topics I would like to discuss with you: the environment including the water companies, legal and police services, energy, immigration, culture, media and sport. None are more important than democracy in my view, so may I ask you about that first?
Rish Soontech (RS): Please do, though I have other business to attend to at 4pm, so we may need to return to those other topic areas on another occasion.
SB: Very well. Rish. Democracy represents the trust that citizens place in the UK’s institutions and political systems to be fair to everyone. People now feel that the system doesn’t work for them, and is permanently loaded against them, and that Tories are working the system to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else. Your Party has undermined that democracy in so many different ways, for personal, financial and particularly Party advantage. That, to me, and to many people, is despicable. Why did you do it? Why do you continue to do it? I can spell out some examples, but you probably know what they are.
RS: How well you put it. To be honest, I’ve never grieved much over this. It is not a problem to which I have given much or indeed any attention. If it is a Party advantage thing, then “let’s do it!”. I was given the PM’s job to bring the Party together, settle the ship, and win the next election. The ends justify the means.
SB: Appalling. You say “we keep winning elections, don’t we?” Let’s consider how and why.
Many current anti-democratic examples to advantage Tories come to mind:
- Changing the Mayoral voting format back to First Past the Post;
- introducing an ID requirement for voting; weakening the powers of the Electoral Commission;
- appointing Tory donors and cronies to the House of Lords; managing the business in the House of Commons to minimise Opposition opportunities;
- delaying Freedom of Information requests, or forcing applicants to go to court to get the data;
- releasing Government policies to newspapers to spin them favourably in advance of announcing them in Parliament;
- sneaking out bad news when no one is watching;
- trying to change the rules for how Parliamentary Committees work to favour elements of business like the Owen Patterson and Boris Johnson Inquiries;
- packing Committees and Inquiry Panels with Tories who will provide favourable outcomes;
- introducing legislation which threatens to break international law or the rule of law or international agreements, such as the Illegal Migration Bill and the Internal Markets Bill;
- trying to pass the REUL Bill which assigns powers to Ministers to decide laws without Parliamentary consent;
- rigging public appointments to give important positions in the BBC and elsewhere to favoured Tory candidates.
That’s a long list of shameful anti-democratic behaviour. It’s all I can think of at the moment. Some of it breaks Constitutional Conventions, which rely on Government respect without necessarily having consequences for breaking them. Why should voters trust the Tories with the reins of Government again?
RS: Put like that, it is I agree, totally damning. I’m beginning to see the benefit of inviting you in to No.10. I’m very sorry. I wish we hadn’t done all those undemocratic things. I will try to row back on some of them.
SB: But you did it all knowingly.
Tories operate with three massive built-in electoral advantages under our so-called democracy, which explains why they win so many elections. Firstly, the Tory Party attracts massive donations, from companies hoping for lighter regulation or taxation of their activities, from wealthy individuals who hope for personal favours or some advantage, and so-called think tanks who funnel dark money to the Party in various ways under various guises. This doesn’t include MPs who take second jobs, or consultancies. Most of this is not available to other Parties.
Secondly, the First Past the Post voting system, which is now operated only by the UK, USA and Belarus to my knowledge, gives the Tories an advantage because of the way population is geographically distributed between rural and urban areas, the way individual constituency boundaries are constructed, and the fact that the Tories are the single main right-wing Party while the alternatives are split several ways.
Thirdly, the majority of the UK press, which is largely unregulated, is owned by just three billionaires who are very right wing, have very personal agendas, and live abroad. These newspapers, and the social media outlets that they feed, provide frequently distorted and misleading news coverage designed to whip up anger and distrust against any Party or individual which threatens Tory hegemony.
Finally, the Tories are trying to advance their prospects by waging aggressive culture wars of various kinds against certain issues and movements current in the UK at the moment. They are doing this in order to divide opinion, divide the public, and generate fear and distrust of parties and movements other than their own. I won’t list all these wars, which are mostly confected anyway, as I’m sure you’re aware of them, but they are designed to encourage the Tory vote as the only solution to imaginary threats and general wokeness and weakness. ‘Stop the Boats’ is the latest example.
Quite frankly, Rish, this all disgusts many people, it is deeply undemocratic, and I’m deeply disappointed to know of your leading part in it. The Tory Party are not a democratic Party, and are heading in the direction of the worst anti-democratic excesses of the Republican Party in the USA. They are using the freedoms of a democratic society to abuse it and take advantage of it, and remove people’s rights and distort their votes.
RS: Completely correct, though I hadn’t added it all up in my mind like that. It is a disgrace. I am part of a shameful Party. We shouldn’t be in Government. We have betrayed the people. We should probably be disbarred, or at least disbanded.
I don’t think I can take any more today though, Sylvie. It has been a very refreshing and salutary experience for me, and I’m deeply grateful to you. I must reflect long and hard on what you have said. Hopefully some things will change as a result.
Goodbye Sylvie, and thanks again.
SB: Goodbye Prime Minister, I hope we can meet again soon.
RS: Yes I hope so too.
Transcript ends …
I picked up my notebook and phone, and the Prime Minister ushered me through the door, where the aide escorted me down the stairs and out through the front door. I turned right, walked through the gates, and hailed a passing cab.
Arriving home, I made some tea and phoned my editor. He was quite agog when I told him what had happened, and he asked me to get him some copy as soon as possible. Meanwhile he would put his sub-editors, fact-checkers and lawyers on standby, so that the newspaper could incorporate my story the next day.
I now had a job to do, fast, and I settled down with my laptop. As it was so fresh in my mind, I was able to compose my story quickly, without consulting my phone. I read it through just once, and sent it off by about 9pm.
I knew it would create a media storm the next day, and that I would probably have to fend off a number of people who would want to talk to me. I would need a good night’s sleep. My editor phoned around 10pm, congratulated me on a major scoop as he called it, and said it would be headline front-page in tomorrow’s paper.
I turned in then, and slept soundly, knowing that I had done the best I could.