WELCOME to Boorish Johnson’s banana republic, minus the fruit but full of nuts The term “banana republic” was coined to describe a politically unstable country. Typically, a banana republic has a society of extremely stratified social classes, usually a large impoverished working class, and a ruling-class plutocracy, composed of the business, political, and military elites of that society.

A banana republic is a country with an economy of state capitalism, such that the entire country is operated as a private commercial enterprise for the exclusive profit of the ruling class. This exploitation is enabled by collusion between the state and favoured economic monopolies, in which the profit, derived from the private exploitation of public assets, is private property, while the debts incurred thereby are the financial responsibility of the public treasury.

Reading the above, one could be excused for believing this is a perfect description of the UK at present. Boris Johnson and his willing henchmen happily exploit the public purse to finance their whims, while all the while protecting themselves from the results of these actions.

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And some of a pedantic disposition might argue the UK is not a republic, because it has a monarch.

True, but it does appear that the Queen has become merely another asset to be manipulated. (As regular readers will know it is the view of this column that her Maj has been a not unwilling participant in this travesty.)

Therefore, it is not to be surprised at that broadcasters have abandoned their previous approach when it comes to the so-called leaders’ TV debates and will now implement a process that defies all logic. Little serious attempt has been made to defend this egregious behaviour.

Indeed, Sky has made a plea for greater state regulation! Heaven only knows what Rupert Murdoch and other press barons make of this idea.

Further, it would call for immeasurable levels of naivety to suppose that all of this was not contrived some time ago and that the decision was arrived at in full consultation with the “main” political parties.

Only this week we hear of the decision not to release an intelligence report that may contain material unfavourable to the regime.

This process of manipulation is likely to intensify. You ought to expect media manipulation on a grand scale, and all forms of political manoeuvring to intensify.

The false choice of LabourTories in Scotland will be heavily promoted, and to the extent the state finds it useful, the LibDems will get a look in.

There will be very few mentions of the fact the LibDem leader can play little part in many parliamentary votes because under the EVEL rule she cannot – as a Scottish MP – vote on English matters.

We have, gentle reader, descended down the constitutional equivalent of the rabbit hole. Words will be deemed to mean whatever the state says they do.

And any constitutional safeguards you thought you might have enjoyed are a myth. For example, Johnson recently issued none-to-veiled threats on the Scottish NHS. Now, you may be excused for thinking these intimidations might be difficult to enforce. But this is a banana republic, so you need to think about Henry VIII.

A very long time ago, old Henry was as exercised as Boorish Johnson about the difficulty in getting his way. So, he gave himself the power to change laws without passing new ones.

It is open to any UK government to utilise these powers. In essence, a “Henry VIII power” enables a minister to amend an act of Parliament without needing another Act of Parliament. Typically, this is done by issuing regulations. This reduces the Government’s accountability to Parliament. In other words, it gives the Government, any government, powers over the scrutiny of Parliament. While MPs can amend acts, they can’t do that with regulations.

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Note the antiquity of this process, Henry VIII died in January 28 1547. So, the constitution has been banjaxed since then.

Surely this qualifies the UK for the title of the world’s oldest as well as newest banana republic. It is hard to think of a more suitable candidate.

Let’s move on a few weeks and examine what happens after the election. Some 472 years after Henry VIII’s demise, will we see legislation that makes a bonfire of the NHS, environmental protections, worker safeguards, and human rights?

In these circumstances there will be no point appealing to Westminster’s better instincts. The spectre of Henry VIII will command all.

We desperately need a statement of Scotland’s commitment to decent behaviour and the rule of law. When Westminster abolishes or emasculates our institutions, we will surely need a banner to gather round that reflects the whole country.

We need a clear proclamation of what we stand for and what we will not stand for.

A symbol that is in sharp contrast to the depredations that will assuredly afflict us all soon. We need a written constitution. Let’s get it done.


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