Trump pardons, Johnson ennobles – the swamp deepens

“Swamp TV.” by James Good is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It is impossible to shake off the sense that decent people, on both sides of the pond, are being brazenly trolled by their corrupt and mendacious leaders. “Look what I can do!” Trump and Johnson seem to say, “and there’s not a darned/damned thing you can do to to stop me.”

Trump’s sick execution spree (including the proposed execution of the first woman in 67 years on 12 Jan) and almost equally morally-repugnant pardoning of convicted felons (who just happen to be his sycophantic supporters) and of killers of Iraqi civilians (a dog whistle to his supporter base) shows the world that the swamp is the place Trump loves best.

Johnson clearly enjoys a good wallow himself and he appears to be dragging the Conservative Party into the stinking depths with evident glee, flouting the rule of law and undermining institutions that would ordinarily curb such behaviour as he goes.

His most recent affront to decency is the ennoblement of Peter Cruddas to the House of Lords. Cruddas was once ‘credited’ with being the richest person in the City of London. He donated £1.5 million to the Leave campaign, £50,000 to Johnson’s leadership bid and a further £658,000 since Johnson got the job. Total contributions to the Tory party? £3 million. Nice.

That’s cronyism in action plain and simple, only there’s an extra twist. Cruddas resigned as Conservative Party treasurer eight years ago for selling access to the then prime minister David Cameron. Yes, he successfully sued the Sunday Times for defamation , but he was forced to repay most of the damages when the Court of Appeal reviewed the case and his actions were described by the court as “inappropriate, unacceptable and wrong”. No surprise, then, that the independent House of Lords appointments commission turned down Johnson’s recommendation that Cruddas be elevated to the peerage.

But what do such august bodies and their recommendations matter to Johnson? Is he bothered? Nah! He couldn’t give a monkey’s and thus becomes the first prime minister to disregard the commission’s recommendation in its 20 year history.

And it is that flagrant disregard for compliance and propriety (and for the optics) that should alarm and disgust us all. That, and the bypassing of parliamentary scrutiny which has become a shocking hallmark of this morally-bankrupt leader and his government of brown nosers.

Sir Norman Fowler, Speaker for the Lords, took to Twitter to express his concern:

“IMG_8119” by Zefrog is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“My response to the announcement today that @10DowningStreet has appointed 16 new peers to the @UKHouseofLords:

My fundamental concern is about the number of new peers that have been appointed by the Prime Minister in his first 12 months in Office. Mr Johnson has added 16 to his list of appointments bringing the total for the year up to 52 new peers over two lists. This list will bring the total in the House of Lords to over 830 – almost 200 more than the House of Commons.

I will not comment on the personalities involved, although perhaps I could personally welcome @JohnSentamu. But my concern remains that the central defect is the present system of appointments.

Unlike other senates in democratic countries, there is no limit on the number of members there can be. Any Prime Minister can appoint as many as he or she likes. To her great credit the previous Prime Minister, @theresa_may , committed her govt to a policy of ‘moderation.’

In a massive U-turn, those words seem to have been forgotten. It may also now be the time to review the role and the powers of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC.)

The number of appointments now being made also run smack against the recommendations of the Burns committee on the size of the House that was overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Lords. The committee recommended that numbers should be reduced to 600.

To add insult to injury, for the second time the announcement of new peers has been made when Parliament is not sitting.

Sometimes the Lords itself is blamed for a failure to change. My answer to that is- don’t blame the Lords, blame successive governments who have avoided the subject. The reply has been that change is ‘not a priority’. It is possible that with the last two lists, the public may now disagree.”

Originally tweeted by Lord Speaker (@LordSpeaker) on 22/12/2020.

Johnson’s relentless trolling of law-abiding, honest citizens appears to serve two purposes and to have direct parallels to the Trump strategy. 1) to allow him to pay off all those who have backed him and to cement their loyalty and 2) to rub our noses in his dirt and attempt to grind us down.

Neither narcisisstic despot now makes any attempt to conceal their contempt for the people, the institutions or the law. Johnson, who allegedly craves love and adoration, doesn’t crave it so very much that he can be bothered to mask his scorn for us. Nothing illustrated this better than his chortle at Peston’s questions on Brexit in a recent presser. I swear he and Grant Shapps were playing ‘question bingo’. Watch how they exchange sniggers and then appear to tick off something on their cards. Distasteful at the best of times, but absoutely devasting in its awfulness in the middle of the worst crisis and human tragedy to beset this country for decades. It made me feel sick. How about you?

And if he thinks that rubbing his hair with two balloons before he goes on in an attempt to ensure we stay focused on his through-the-hedge-backwards look will continue to distract us from the absolute carnage he is perpetrating, he has another think coming.

We see you, Alexander de Pfeffel Johnson, swamp-dweller and #KnownLiar, and we think and hope that more and more decent people across the UK are seeing you for what you are, too. And there must, surely, be Conservative MPs amongst that number. Surely! Why not ask your MP how they feel about this behaviour?

But you know there’s always karma.
One day.
Make it soon.

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