An unsent letter to Mel Stride, MP

:: politics, doomed

They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

In the last week1:

  • Neil Parish, a tory MP, has been caught, twice, watching pornography on his phone in the house of commons;
  • an anonymous source, but almost certainly a tory MP, has told misogynistic, false, stories about a senior, female, labour figure to a newspaper which duly published them;
  • Liam Byrne, a labour MP has been found to have bullied his staff and suspended;
  • Boris Johnson, prime minister and criminal, told more lies (although this is hardly news);
  • we’ve learned that 56 MPs (not all tories) are under investigation for sexual misconduct.

Let’s take that last figure. Presumably not all of those under investigation will be found to have done whatever it is they have been accused of, and some of those actually won’t have done it. But given the very obvious culture of bullying in the house of commons and the pervasive lying, at least by senior tories, there are probably many other people too frightened to come forward. So let’s say that it’s a round 65 people all in. So, plausibly, one MP in ten has been sexually abusing people.

And that’s not the end: for each person who was doing this, how many others knew but did nothing? Based on my own personal experience as someone who knew but did nothing the answer is ‘several’, so let’s say two. If that’s correct (and it’s perhaps low if anything) it means about one MP in three was plausibly either sexually abusing people or knew others who were and chose to do nothing about it.

Let’s leave the bullying, the lying, the bribery, corruption and all the other manifold abuses which infest the UK’s politics for another day: this letter is already too long.

And while all this has been going on more than half of the MPs in parliament – including you – have been either actively supporting or too frightened to vote against legislation which would make Putin proud. Peaceful protest is now criminalised in the UK. British citizenship can be removed without notice. Based on transparent lies about imaginary election fraud, voter ID will now be needed, which it is estimated will reduce turnout by over a million, with a convenient bias towards those who would not vote for the johnsonite tory party if they could vote. And finally, the Electoral Commission is now under the control of ministers: people who, you know, might have just a tiny conflict of interest, don’t you think?

There is someone else who told lies about electoral fraud in order to keep himself in power, isn’t there? The same person who attempted a coup on January 2021. The same person who has turned his party into an explicitly anti-democratic shell for his own desire for personal power, a shell which, quite probably, will turn the US into an authoritarian state in two years time. He might remind you of someone closer to home, I think.

The UK is not there yet, but the death of democracy2 is now clearly in sight. The johnsonite tory party must now be seen as an explicitly authoritarian party aiming to secure eternal power for itself at any cost. You belong to that party: I will leave it to you to decide what that means.

(And don’t insult me by claiming that ‘it can’t happen here because the UK is a democracy’: in 1933 Germany was also a democracy; in the late 1990s Russia was a democracy. And besides, if it can’t happen here why are you voting for it?)

It’s a strange situation, isn’t it? Perhaps the best hope for the UK is that johnsonite tory MPs will be so stupid and so incompetent (really, how stupid do you have to be to watch pornography in the house of commons? or to go to parties during lockdown given that phone cameras are a thing? pretty fucking stupid, I think), and so busy masturbating, sexually assaulting people and taking money from Russian oligarchs in return for favours, that they’ll eat themselves alive before they get around to installing the one-party state they so clearly desire. That’s not an attractive choice.

And in the meantime, the next time some MP whines about how hateful and abusive people are to MPs who are ‘just doing a very hard and difficult job as best they can’, then we’ll know what to say. You know what: you don’t have hard or difficult jobs, and most of you don’t even know what a hard and difficult job is. Doctors and nurses working in hospitals have hard and difficult jobs. During the pandemic (which means now, because lying about it does not make it over) they have very hard and difficult jobs. People in Ukraine have extremely hard, difficult jobs. Do you think doctors and nurses keeping people alive have time to watch porn while doing so? No, you don’t in fact have hard and difficult jobs: you have easy, undemanding jobs which involve sitting around, talking and drinking. Or in many cases sitting around, lying, drinking and abusing people. Here’s a clue for you: if your job allows you time for a second job then whatever it is, it’s not hard. So don’t expect any sympathy from the people you lord it over like childish tinfoil tyrants.

And the next time some halfwit gets up on his hind legs and says that

the problem in the house of commons is ultimately the overall culture of long hours, bars and people sometimes under pressure and after all of that, that can create a toxic mix that leads to all sorts of things

we’ll also know what to say. Here’s the thing: being tired and drunk all the time doesn’t make people into bigots and misogynists: it removes their inhibitions so they express the bigotry and misogynism they always felt. If you behave like a bigot and a misogynist when you are tired and drunk (because your pretend-hard job somehow requires you to get drunk a lot), than it’s not because you’re tired and drunk: it’s because you are a bigot and a misogynist.

I wish no-one ill: but if the sea were to rise up tomorrow and drown the houses of parliament and everyone in them, I would not weep.

Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.

  1. This was written on May day, 2022. Mel Stride is my MP: I did think about sending it but what purpose would it have served? In the unlikely case that he read it rather than one of his staff would it make him change his mind? Of course it would not. 

  2. A book you should read, along with How democracies die