Opinion: Who can save the UK from political meltdown? | Opinion | DW | 26.09.2019
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Opinion

Opinion: Who can save the UK from political meltdown?

It's hard not to feel a sense of doom descending over the UK. Political decorum and dignity have been replaced by bullying and threats. How low can the country sink, asks Rob Mudge.

In case you missed it: The UK is mired in a political crisis of epic proportions. Let's leave aside the Brexit debacle for a moment, although it is, obviously, intertwined in so many ways with the drama unfolding before our eyes.

Just imagine you live in a country where the leaders of the main political parties have lost all sense of decency, responsibility, of the notion to put a country's interests before their own political gain. And we're not talking about a failed state here, although there are arguments to be had for that. This is the current state of the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacted to the Supreme Court's ruling that the suspension of Parliament was unlawful as you would expect: like a petulant child whose favorite toy had been confiscated. He made no attempt to hide his disdain and contempt over the court's decision.

He is, quite simply, unfit for office. His display and the angry scenes in the House of Commons on Wednesday beggared belief. Decorum, dignity and restraint have gone out of the window. Defiling the memory of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a right-wing supremacist a week before the EU referendum, by saying the best way to honor her would be to "get Brexit done," is chillingly callous.

Read moreOpinion: Parliament must not just reconvene, it needs to grow up, too

A country on the brink

Deutsche Welle Robert Mudge (DW)

DW's Rob Mudge

The aggressive and inflammatory language on both sides is shameful and dangerous. A number of pro-EU MPs have reportedly received death threats.

And if all that isn't bad enough, the main opposition party (although the Liberal Democrats might now beg to differ) is hurtling towards political oblivion at a time when the country needs a clear and strong alternative to a government in meltdown.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has demonstrated ambiguity at every Brexit twist and turn. While many Labour members remain loyal to him, voters across the country will not be so forgiving. His plan now is to ensure that a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table, then to win an election, and then hold a special conference to determine how Labour should campaign in any second referendum. More procrastination, more sitting on the fence.

Both Johnson and Corbyn are untenable; both represent all that's gone wrong with British politics at the moment.

Special mention should, of course, go to Johnson's predecessors who laid the foundations for the terrible mess the UK finds itself in: David Cameron and Theresa May. The former played a risky game of poker and lost. The latter took the hand she was dealt and sowed even more confusion, divisiveness and deceit.

The erosion of balanced political debate, the lack of leadership qualities and the divisiveness up and down the country have left the UK in a precarious state. Some might argue it's been through worse (world wars, economic crises etc.) and survived. But those were different times, different circumstances. And back then the country had leaders who were worthy of that description.

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