While some regard England and the House of Commons as the ‘mother of all parliaments’, Boris Johnson’s shutdown is certainly damaging that image. As the UK parliament begins a week that could be the ‘mother of all battles’, Johnson’s proroguing of parliament is changing the world’s impression of UK democracy.
But others believe that UK democracy is finally revealing its true self.
Exporting the UK system
The UK’s parliamentary system is used as a model by several nations around the world. A number of these, ironically enough, are former colonies of the UK.
And one of those former colonies, New Zealand (which still has “the Queen as Sovereign”), is having a laugh at the UK’s expense.
Opinion in New Zealand
Some New Zealanders are wondering whether it’s time to get rid of the monarchy as head of state and become a republic. Newspaper columnist Dave Armstrong said, with a great deal of satire:
Opinion in Uganda
Nicholas Sengoba, a columnist in Uganda, said Johnson’s actions show Britain can also abuse power. He went on to say:
The whole notion that a British prime minister cannot be as powerful as an African dictator has been stripped off
And according to Sengoba, the current Brexit stalemate and lack of leadership has made the UK “look extremely bad”.
Opinion in Canada
University of Otago professor Robert Patman, meanwhile, believes other countries are suspicious that Britain is behaving like a “banana republic”, because of Johnson’s behaviour. He said:
At the moment there’s a very dangerous situation in the U.K.
At the same time, Toronto newspaper the Globe and Mail said in an editorial:
Johnson’s plan to sideline Parliament cannot stand. It’s wrong. It’s undemocratic. It certainly isn’t British.
But in the furore around Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament, some are conscious of the UK’s record on so-called ‘democracy‘. As The Canary has reported, the UK’s record in the north of Ireland demonstrates that, whatever democracy existed there, it worked against the Irish republican and Catholic communities. Additionally, large parts of the globe colonised by the UK suffered as a result of its war crimes.
So Johnson’s prorogation, while a disgusting attack on democracy, is mild by comparison to some acts his predecessors approved. Nonetheless, we need to face it down and face down the likes of Johnson, who feel they can ride roughshod over British people and people all over the world. There’s never been a better time to stand up to this.
Featured image via YouTube – GuardianNews / Flickr – Alex Proimos