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Is the UK Tabloid Racist Hounding of Meghan Markle Just a Murdoch Diversion to Allow the Tories to Seize More Power?

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President . . . is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else." Theodore Roosevelt, Editorial in The Kansas City Star May 7, 1918. (And that's Kansas City, MO.)

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Upon the founding of the European Union (EU) in 1992, Great Britain (or the United Kingdom, if you prefer) joined it. The UK had been a member of the several EU predecessors since 1973. The Union has a wide variety of purposes, summarized as follows:

The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardized system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, [13] enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, 14] agriculture, [15] fisheries and regional development. [16] For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. [17] A monetary union was established in 1999, coming into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency. (Great Britain did not adopt the single currency, maintaining what had been the Pound Sterling, which went back to a silver-based currency originally developed in medieval times. The currency is now known as the Great Britain Pound [GBP].)

Roman Empire Trajan 117AD.  So, you think that the idea is new, huh?
Roman Empire Trajan 117AD. So, you think that the idea is new, huh?
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org))
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The far right-wing of the Conservative (Tory) Party had been opposed to membership in the EU since its founding. One major element of the EU was that it provided for free passage between the member countries by citizens of all of them, without passports or border controls. Over time, significant numbers of Europeans, especially from Eastern European countries like Romania, emigrated to Great Britain. Some of them took jobs that were usually filled by British workers, but at wages lower than those for the same job that British nationals would take. The Right to this day has characterized this happening as "furriners coming to take your job," when it in fact it was the employers offering those jobs at below-market wages which caused the influx. (Sound familiar?) This was a major factor underlying the "anti-EU" campaign: the reliance on some combination of racism and xenophobia (again, sound familiar?)

Briefly, the Far-Right drumbeat on "Leave" led a center-right Tory Prime Minister named David Cameron to call for a national referendum on "Remain or Leave" in 2016. Everyone, including many of the pre-vote pollsters, thought that Remain would win. The Leave campaign was led by the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who told monster lies, from the amount of money which would go the British National Health Service after "Leaving" won to the amount of money the U.K. would save in dues to the EU if it left. Oh my. telling Big Lies in a political campaign. (Sound familiar?) At any rate over the ensuing three years, during which a peaceful exit was to be negotiated, a center-right Tory Prime Minister, Theresa May, with a varying but nevertheless thin majority in the ruling House of Commons, failed to achieve that result.

New elections were finally held late last year. The primary opposition party, Labour, could never get its act together on what its position on Brexit was and the Tories won a resounding victory. Running on the old reliables, especially xenophobia --- they are coming to take your jobs --- they now command a substantial majority in the House of Commons, a majority dominated by the right-wing of the Party. Many of the old Cameronites are gone, along with many Labour members, especially from the depressed North-East of the country, a former Labour stronghold. The outcome of that bodes ill in the long run for the British economy.

After the European Parliament ratified an agreement on January 29, 2020, the UK formally withdrew from the EU on January 31.

But it is what is happening right now at home on the politico-governmental front is absolutely fascinating. To me it reveals what for the Tory Right, Brexit was really all about, at least in part: achieving a commanding, Far Right Tory majority in the House of Commons so that major changes in the British Constitution could be made. (And for information on what is going on in that particular regard I am most grateful for the article "Après Brexit" by the British historian Ferdinand Mount, which appeared in the London Review of Books, 20 Feb. 2020.)

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the British Constitution is not a single written document. It is rather a collection of laws, traditions, customs, norms, and "generally understood" practices of legislation, legislating, and government operations, some which can be traced back to the adoption of the Magna Carta in 1215 (!!!). In modern times, major changes in it, for example by legislation, have been the reduction in the legislative authority of the upper chamber in the British Parliament, the House of Lords, in 1911, and the creation of a Supreme Court separate from its predecessor in the House of Lords in 2003.

There are/were many features of the British Constitution that were anathema to the Tory Far-Right. And so they began to move on them:

· The relative independence of Parliamentary legislative committees from the power of the Prime minister has been greatly reduced under the new, Rightist, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
 
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