Just yesterday when I wrote this week’s Column I commented on a serious matter in the Westminster World - whether or not the current Covid-inspired arrangements were or were not good for Parliamentary democracy. That now seems a petty consideration by comparison with the developments overnight in America.
It is simply inconceivable that in an advanced democracy thousands of thugs supporting the losing side should think it reasonable to invade Capitol Hill and seek to disrupt the smooth transition of power. The Republicans demonstrably lost the election, reconfirmed by the unheard-of loss of two Senate seats in Georgia. The Democratic party, for good or ill, now control both the Senate and House of Representatives as well as having a duly elected President. So be it. That’s democracy for you.
What comfort it must be to corrupt dictatorships round the world to hear ‘The Leader of the Free World’ apparently incite his disappointed followers to seek to disrupt that very democratic process. By any standard of decent governance anywhere, it’s an absolute disgrace, and President Trump will leave office under a cloud of shame.
The Global Covid crisis (and the UK figures announced yesterday are horrific) demands at least good sound governance to deal with it - governance which the people respect and accept even if they dislike it. That principle seems to have broken down in the United States and it must be restored.
In our own little way, we here must make sure that Parliamentary procedures and practice equally deserve the respect of the electorate as a whole. Government must be seen to be fair and decent and strong. That’s why I am so keen to be certain that the Westminster Parliament behaves and is governed in a way that all of the people accept, even if they dislike it. If it does not, then we risk undermining the whole basis of decent Parliamentary democracy.