We need to make our voices heard

Boris Johnson has only been Prime Minister for 36 days, and yet his government have already launched an outrageous attack on our nation’s democracy.

Now we know for sure what Johnson and his acolytes meant by “take back control”. They didn’t mean bringing powers from Brussels back to Westminster – they meant putting power in the hands of the rich and powerful, and silencing opposition and dissent in the most dictatorial way.

The planned closure of Parliament, at a time of constitutional crisis, is the sort of manoeuvre more suited to a corrupt tin-pot dictatorship, not one of the oldest democracies in the world.

Boris Johnson stands against everything our union believes in, and those of us who plan on opposing his government every step of the way should be justifiably concerned that one of his first acts in power has been to trample all over our country’s long-standing democratic norms.

If this is what he’s willing to do after only a month in Downing Street, then where does he draw the line when it comes to those who would stand in his way?

Worst of all is that this is in pursuit of a Brexit – in all likelihood a ‘no-deal’ Brexit – that would shatter our economy, our society and our public services.

The government’s own report, ‘Operation Yellowhammer’, predicts food shortages, travel chaos and a long-lasting lack of vital medicines if we crash out without a deal. Meanwhile any alternative deal that Johnson might propose risks smashing rights at work into the dirt and ending twenty years of peace in Northern Ireland.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Johnson’s approach to Brexit will put lives at risk and cause the greatest disruption to life in the UK for a generation.

That our new Prime Minister (chosen, of course, by only a tiny handful of Tories), is willing to trample over Parliamentary democracy to deliver such a terrifying outcome should send a chill down the spine of everyone who cares about our country and our democracy.

That he is doing so under the guise of standing up for the will of the people shows him up for the tin-pot autocrat he aspires to be. We cannot and will not let him get away with it.

UNISON is actively working with other unions and civil society organisations to fight this abuse of democracy and the threat of a no-deal Brexit. And we are encouraging all activists to attend upcoming local protests so we can all make our voices heard.

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