It may seem that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump live in parallel universes. In both their universes, they came to power and remain in power on a raft of lies calculated to fire up nationalism and mislead an already resentful ‘left behind’ working and middle class. Both have found scapegoats in erstwhile friendly allied countries and a supposed fifth column ‘liberal elite’ at home that conspires against the interests of the masses. Both have set about undermining the constitution, including attempting to interfere unlawfully with the workings of the legislature, attacking the judiciary and politicising the professional civil services. Both are served by law officers who appear as indifferent to their oaths of office and professional ethics as they are enthusiastic about sucking up to their political masters. Both are willing to do whatever it takes to impose their will on the country irrespective of the law on the basis that they can do whatever anyone cannot stop them doing. And both appear sanguine about the help of a hostile Russia in realising their revolutionary aspirations. This is not the world in which many Americans and Brits thought they lived and the fragility of their constitutions when faced with dishonest and malign actors is now a deeply disturbing fact. The only saving grace for the UK may be that Bojo, unlike The Donald, does not have access to heavily armed private militia. The UK should perhaps be grateful for what, in the worse-case scenario in the USA, might prove a crucial difference.
Published by Peter G Harris
Peter G Harris is a barrister and was a senior civil servant responsible for advising ministers in the UK on policy and legislation for reforming the civil law and civil justice system. He is now based at Exeter College in the University of Oxford where he teaches and continues to think about the law as an instrument of public policy. View all posts by Peter G Harris