Boris Johnson puts UK government in free fall - what's next?

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Australian Community Media's Head of Audience Gayle Tomlinson.

Oh Boris, what have you done now?

Oh Boris, what have you done now?

While Australia was this week saluting the service of a humble former leader, the United Kingdom was contemplating the self-serving captain's call made by its bumbling current leader.

More in a moment on former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer and his touching state funeral in the regional Australia he was proud to call home.

First, to the UK where something seems to have gone terribly, almost Trumpingly, wrong in the House of Commons in London.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has moved to suspend parliament in early September. What does that mean? The BBC can explain this better than I can here.

Have a read and then come back for a chat.

Ok. You're good now?

You should know that the UK Parliament has been on holiday for the past five weeks. And while it's not unusual for British MPs to have a bit of a holiday in October, this move means they'll return for six days and then head on out again. (It's alright for some).

The significance in Boris' latest move isn't that he's suspending parliament early, but he's giving his colleagues a five-week holiday in the lead up to the UK leaving the European Union on October 31. Effectively he's left just 14 working days for politicians to figure the thing out. A thing they haven't been able to figure out in the last 1162 days, I should add.

I know they say there is nothing like a deadline to get things moving and, well, if they haven't sorted it out in the past 1000-odd days then maybe this is the pressure that's needed.

A fair argument.

But is this really about Brexit? I won't pretend I'm an expert on UK politics, but in my humble opinion leaving the EU is just one huge mistake. Having moved to Australia two years ago from Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England, I consider myself a Brexit refugee.

What's particularly concerning about Johnson's actions this week is that a man whom many British citizens still find difficult to believe is their actual Prime Minister has made a move that feels undemocratic.

I'll remind you of this quote from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaiden's Tale: "That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on."

Is anyone else feeling chilled to the bone?

In this real-life scenario many British voters are looking for the direction to come from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. If Parliament passes a vote of no confidence then the UK could be looking at another general election.

I can hear you asking "but isn't that a good thing when so many Brits seem to want to get rid of Boris?"

Well, not really. Jeremy Corbyn was once loved by the Gen Y and Millennials of the UK, so much so that he was allowed to address the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2017. But to those voters he's now as disappointing as credit card debt and living at home with your parents.

Corbyn is certainly no Tim Fischer, the former deputy prime minister who was remembered in Albury this week.

He took his final train journey from The Rock to Albury and his state funeral at Albury Entertainment Centre saw politicians from across the bench gather to pay their respects.

Corbyn who once had the respect of the 20 to 40-somethings now can't win an election as Labour leader and Labour doesn't have another front runner since David Miliband (my personal favourite) moved to America and well, his brother, Ed, hasn't had the greatest track record in this field.

Yeah, you thought the Australian Labor Party had it bad. You can also check these babies out for a further compare and contrast.

In any case Corbyn won't step down or aside.

So what's next? We could be looking at a general election some time between October 10 and October 24. Then the UK is set to leave the EU on Oct 31 with or without a deal and with or without a new Prime Minister.

We have a saying the UK - 'Up shit creek without a paddle'. I'd say that's exactly where UK politics are right now.

Watch this space.

Gayle Tomlinson

Head of Audience, ACM

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