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  • Will Penkethman-Carr

The Great British Banana Republic

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq

We can umm and err and to and fro about exactly how we should judge our present government, but by now it should have been called out as corrupt. After the Christmas party fiasco that has been leaked, it is clear the government is in complete contempt for the public, and the only thing that seems missing is an equal and reciprocal contempt from the public to its government. Like with the old Trump administration, the compounding horror with each new and absurd gaff fails to arouse anger, but merely the shrugs of everyone now acclimatised to this new normal.

As befits their current ill record of maintaining law and order, the police have decided not to get involved in investigating any potential criminality regarding the Christmas party. More bad news: while the Johnson administration has been fined £17,800 for its illegal refurbishment of Downing Street, this is hardly anything worth celebrating over. It is a sum that looks like a lot to the majority of the population, but it is really little else than a slap on the wrist for the Conservative party that received £4,044,630 in donations alone last year. Meanwhile the Nationality and Borders Bill has passed through parliament, a piece of legislation designed to ensure that refugees never receive their full rights and can be detained in offshore camps indefinitely. This comes along with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill, which now has additional amendments, making it even more authoritarian than in its initial drafts.

With each passing piece of legislation one wonders for the continuance of democracy in the UK. There are however some rumours that Boris Johnson is under pressure to resign, and with Boris out of office maybe the worst can be averted. But what good would that really do unless the legislation passed under his regime is undone? It appears that no party has the willpower to do so. Nor do the lethargic public, stuffed with Christmas adverts and political amnesia. Everyone will forget.

Christmas is a great time for politicians. For about two weeks the general public lose focus on the doings of government to go spend money and blubber over the John Lewis advert. Then, when the grind begins all over again in the new year, there is an effective blank slate for the government to build from, secure in the knowledge that whatever happened in the last year is half-forgotten, essentially amounting to a form of forgiveness. Or maybe this is just what people wanted. It’s the political Christmas gift that everyone was secretly hoping for. Yes, we don’t want to help refugees stranded around our sacred isles! Yes, lock up the protesters, we don’t want any unrest whatsoever! Yes, break whatever laws you want while in power, we marvel at the spectacle!


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