Time To Protect Democracy

It is impossible watching how the politics of truth in the democracies across the world stage are unfolding without asking the very basic question of how can we safeguard democracy and the hard won rights and freedoms in the United Kingdom.

I ask the question because we appear to have very few safeguards when any law can be overturned or changed by a simple majority of one in a single sitting of Parliament.

Which if you didn’t know includes our Human Rights Act, Employment Rights, Equal Opportunities Rights and in reality any current Act of Parliament.

In theory within the “British Constituition” the Queen is our safety net against such actions however in reality the Queen has never – and is very unlikely to ever – use her powers to act against the advice of her ministers.

The very ministers who would be responsible for abolishing the rights.

It is true that the opposition can and do voice it’s protest sometimes very vocally but the voice of the opposition cannot overcome the majority in Parliament.

Which leaves the public with what to safeguard against an irresponsible or/and tyrannical Government?

Of course the people could rise up and take to the streets resorting to civil unrest either peacefully – or not – but if civil unrest is the only answer we have to protect our democracy then we really do have a problem.

For all the talk of the importance of the Magna Carta Libertatum – which for those who don’t know is Latin for “the Great Charter of the Liberties” first signed on 15 June 1215 guaranteeing liberties and freedom – the constitutional lawyers in the United Kingdom are only too well aware of how weak they are against the power of an unscrupulous Government.

A constitution is supposed to lay down a set of fundamental rules on how a country and nation is governed with a two fold purpose.

Firstly to protect the people against the Government and especially its abuse of power.
Secondly a constitution is supposed to guarantee and protect the people’s fundamental human rights.

The issue in the United Kingdom is that the constitution is a very grey area which is unclear, inadequate and in many instances inaccessible to the “ordinary” person.

It is not so much a constitution but a mixed up collection of statutes some of which are so ancient and archaic that even constitutional lawyers not only have difficulty but on occasions find it impossible to interpret and understand them.

The result is that we have to rely on our politicians being fair and playing by the rules and on sensible, logical and fair decisions being made by the courts.

Brexit has clearly and starkly highlighted how there are no rules or procedures in place of how Britain should go about leaving the European Union and even the constitutional lawyers in the United Kingdom have no idea how to go about it.

Not that a written constitution is protection from a Government determined to ride rough shod over it as we are currently seeing across the pond in the USA.

However in the UK our Parliament can simply choose to ignore our rights and pass anything into law if it chooses to.

And what do we rely on to protect us?

That those who are elected to Parliament have a moral compass to put the rights and welfare of the people before themselves.

Looking at the current make up of Parliament it doesn’t appear that many of our Members of Parliament share the moral compass that is expected of them.

The problem is that without protection we may well end up with a situation where a cut priced cardboard Donald Trump such as Boris Johnston or Michael Gove may end up being Prime Minister.

The other problem is that the current Government are choosing to bypass the usual channels for passing laws in order to avoid them being properly scrutinised in what I see as the slow erosion of our rights and freedoms.

Of course people may point to the fact that we have an Upper House in the House of Lords whose job if not to hold the Lower House to account is at the very least supposed to limit its stupidity.

The problem is of course that the House of Lords is comprised entirely of unelected people and the Government of the day can – and does – fill it with those who will support their actions.

What it means is that the protection of our basic rights and freedoms are subject to the political whims and vagaries of the very politicians who may well pursue the very destruction of those very same rights.

It is time for a written constitution designed to protect the people from an abuse of government power and when as we are seeing happening across the world we will be very happy that we have the protection of a written constitution.

If you have any doubt that we need a written constitution just look around at what is happening in the world democracies.