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khrushcheva115_Michael Kappelerpicture alliance via Getty Images_boris johnson Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Boris the Bolshevik

By moving to suspend the UK Parliament for five weeks as the Brexit deadline looms, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has severely – and perhaps permanently – damaged the rule of law. A man who fancies himself as leading in the Churchillian tradition is acting more like Europe’s fascist leaders did in the 1930s.

MOSCOW – Most people think of revolutions as sudden earthquakes or volcanic eruptions that come without warning and sweep away an entire political system. But historians, political scientists, and even the odd politician know that the reality is very different: revolutions happen when systems hollow themselves out, or simply rot from within. Revolutionaries can then brush aside established norms of behavior, or even of truth, as trivialities that should not impede the popular will. A revolution happens, as the Chinese put it, when a system of rule loses the “Mandate of Heaven.”

Only time will tell whether we are currently witnessing the hollowing out of British democracy. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson may well have crossed some invisible Rubicon by recently moving to suspend Parliament from mid-September until October 14, with the aim of virtually eliminating any chance the people’s elected representatives might have to thwart his plans for a possible no-deal Brexit on October 31.

Whatever happens now, British parliamentary democracy may never be the same again. It will certainly never again be the model that so many people around the world once admired.

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