On a sunny Saturday morning in The Square and Lower Gardens hundreds of protestors gathered among the trappings of the Air Show to protest about PM Boris Johnson’s undermining of the very parliamentary democracy we were taught the EU had stolen from us and led to believe that Brexit would return to us. Whether this was actually ever taken from us is a very debatable question.
Diverse and peaceful protestors against the prorogation of Parliament at this very critical time gathered at 11.00 am in The Square but were soon too many to be contained in the crowded space there and took a short stroll down through Lower Gardens to rally and listen to speakers from Dorset for Europe, Poole Labour and Bournemouth Labour.
It wasn’t necessarily a protest against Brexit itself; it was a protest that focused on the seizure and shut down of parliamentary process at one of the most important times in modern history by a roguish (to be kind), opportunistic PM who is playing to the right wing populism that has been unleashed by this Brexit episode in order to win a general election for the Tory party who represent the elite interests of this country.
The gathering and the march were not welcomed by all present in the town centre today. There were many cries back to the chanting marchers of: “Up, Boris!” and mutters of “These people don’t know what the meaning of democracy is.” The latter comment made me wonder what those people really understand about the work of parliament in terms of the daily bread and butter work of MP s– the surgeries, the research, the debates, the scrutiny, the committees, the parliamentary and the constituency work.
Unfortunately the understanding of what is called “civics” in the USA is so woefully lacking in this nation that for many of us the simple understanding of democracy is easily encompassed by a one-off direct democracy exercise that we can readily participate in and feel that that is it. That is democracy! Those of us calling out the defenders of parliamentary, representative democracy have so little understanding of it and this has been compounded by a systematic degrading of the reputation of MPs over the last couple of decades (Cash for Questions, the Expenses Scandal etc) that we have very little motivation to find out more about what actually makes our parliamentary, representative democracy the so-called Cradle of Democracy.
What is the difference between government and Parliament? How many of us actually wonder this? Government is happening to us now and Parliament has to sit on its hands.
For education and for actual democracy: how tragic.