It’s a long time since I blogged about anything – I’ve felt a bit uninspired – but I’ve recently come up with a whole slew of things to write about, so keep your eyes peeled. First off, I’m going to talk about what I did yesterday, and why I did it, because I think it’s very important.
I’m not much of a political animal, but the recent election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister by a mere 90,000 Conservative Party members, and his determination to take the country down a destructive path with no scrutiny, has horrified me.
So far, thanks to the lengthy summer recess of Parliament, he’s faced a mere one day of Parliamentary business, and now he’s announced he wants to shut down Parliament for five weeks at a time of national crisis. This is a politician whose career has been a lengthy catalogue of lies, corruption and failure, and he wants to add to that by crashing us out of the European Union and selling us down the river to Trump. Whatever he might try to claim, this is not what people voted for in 2016 – he told us back then that a deal would be easy, and that we’d retain our freedom of movement. He also told us we’d have shedloads of money to lavish on the NHS, and that we’d usher in a new golden age. All of that, like most of the bullshit he’s spouted during his life, has turned out to be lies.
Johnson’s actions bear horrifying similarities to the Enabling Law passed in Nazi Germany, that suspended the Reichstag and gave Hitler the ultimate power to pass legislation without scrutiny. This is absolutely not what should be done in a supposedly liberal democracy in the 21st century. In five weeks, he could do all sorts of things without any checks and balances, including a permanent and drastic change to the way our nation functions.
Protests began popping up on Wednesday morning, after the decision was announced. In a clear piece of evidence that Johnson views us with contempt and considers us all gullible fools, I think the opposition has taken him by surprise. Plans were made for a number of protests across the country yesterday, so I went and attended the one in Edinburgh. It’s only the second political protest I’ve ever attended in my life – the first was an anti-austerity demo in 2010 – but I felt this was far too important to ignore.
I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I arrived at the Scottish Parliament at midday, but I was greeted by a large crowd, with a variety of banners and flags. There were only a couple of official speakers, the rest of the time was an open mic for the crowd, during which many people spoke eloquently of our need to defend democracy, defend human rights, and look very seriously at what sort of world we want to build.
I’m opposed to Scottish independence for a number of reasons, partly because I think it will produce even more chaos for precious little reward, and I worry that Brexit has made independence far more likely, but the event yesterday saw representation across the political spectrum and didn’t act as an independence rallying cry – I appreciated this enormously. In the midst of all the grim things happening right now, I was greatly cheered by the positive, inclusive atmosphere, and by the number of people who had made the effort to show up on a blustery day to make their feelings known.
Not much had been arranged as it was all at short notice, so there wasn’t a march planned, but one of the organisers suggested we could “walk as a collection of individuals in approximately the same direction” up the Royal Mile to The Mound, and so we did, chanting on the way. We made quite an impressive sight, I think, and it was good to see the cheery response we got from the busy streets we walked along.
It may only have been a small thing, but there were lots of other people doing the same, and I think it was very important that I was there. Signing petitions and grumbling does nothing – we need to be more active in defending our right to be heard, and ensuring that our elected representatives aren’t silenced.
I fully intend to join more protests, and I’d strongly urge you to do the same. Are you in?
I’ll leave you with a few pictures of yesterday’s event.