I have been watching the political scene in the US and the UK and it is really shocking. It reminds me of the obstructionist actions taken by Hezbollah in Lebanon after the assassination of Rafic Hariri.
Hezbollah and their allies had more than a third of the members of parliament. They used this position to oppose everything the government proposed. They even staged a sit-down in the middle of the city centre, which resulted in the shutdown of many of downtown Beirut’s businesses. They refused elections. They refused anything proposed by the government. In effect, it became a) either the government agrees with all Hezbollah’s demands or b) they keep the country and its people political hostages.
We have seen similar stances by ideologist movements elsewhere; either you go along with them or they do whatever they can to hold a country prisoner until their demands are met. This is in the Third World. Now we are seeing this happening in the West. For me, this is a red flag that demands our attention.
I’m seeing the same scenario in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Third World repeated in London and Washington, the two pillars of democracy and freedom of speech in the wider world. In the US, we are seeing crazy demands from the Democrats. The Republicans are refusing these demands, so they hold the country hostage. They block excellent appointments to keys posts proposed by the elected government.
We see the Democrats block funding for humanitarian purposes, just for the sake of opposing the Republicans. We see them blocking budgets for the same stupid reasons. They don’t just oppose any motion proposed by the elected government; they start hurling accusations of racism, bigotry or Islamophobia too. They do it to scare the elected government into not taking a decision that might not be in line with their stance. We are seeing the same thing on the other side of the pond. We see groups opposing any motion presented by the current UK government.
Let’s put some facts on the table:
- The 2016 referendum result was clear instruction from the British people to leave the EU. And yes, during the campaign, it was clear that leaving meant leaving with or without a deal. All you need to see are the videos of the politicians during the campaign. So, the British people understood what they were voting for.
- The Brexit party made gains in the EU parliament elections; a message from the British people that they had not changed their position.
- Boris Johnson ran for the Tory leadership based on a platform of leaving the EU, deal or no-deal.
What is happening now in Westminster? We are seeing politicians acting as obstructionists. They are arranging for sit-downs to shut down the country. They are using the notion of rejecting no-deal to hide behind their real intentions: they want to defy the will of the people and keep the UK within the EU. They are holding the country hostage by refusing elections. They even passed a law that the UK must not leave the EU without a deal. So, what happens if the EU does not agree on a deal that Parliament will accept? I’ll tell you: the UK will not leave the EU.
So, in essence, the opposition parties are hiding behind objections to a no-deal Brexit to keep the UK in the EU. To further this aim, they oppose the government on anything and everything. They opposed a general election, something previously unheard of from an opposition party. They started attacking the Prime Minister with accusations of bigotry and racism.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of similarities between what the Democrats are doing in the US, what the opposition parties are doing in the UK, and what Hezbollah did in Lebanon after Hariri’s death.
Is this what we pride ourselves on in the West? Should we be copying what Third World countries are doing (much as they copy what the West has done in terms of rule of law, freedom of speech and democracy)?
Politicians on both sides of the pond should be wary of such behaviour, which can be summarized as not trusting the ballot box. If not, they risk mirroring Third World regimes, which ultimately serves no one’s interests.