The Coronavirus Bill has had little public political discussion. It is being rushed through parliament today (23rd March). Its provisions reflect the scale of the impact of Covid-19: an impact which will be all the greater the longer the lessons of countries which have contained the virus are not learned (particularly China). Instead of containing the virus government’s lack of appropriate action is allowing it to spread.
The claim from the Tory government and its army of media supporters that the latest Budget has ended austerity is completely false. It is very important for the left and the labour movement as a whole that they grasp the character of the new attacks to come, so that they can resist them.
The crisis around Brexit in political terms is the deepest one for Britain since World War II and from a legal/constitutional viewpoint it is unprecedented for over 300 years. Such a depth of crisis can therefore only be propelled by huge social forces.
Statements from Boris Johnson and some of his leading supporters make it absolutely clear, beyond doubt, that this is an attempted coup against parliament. They have followed up their plan to suspend parliament with the declaration that they may ignore any laws passed by it in the few days allowed under their plan.
It is crucial in the present situation, faced with an attempted coup, to understand why Johnson can’t prorogue Parliament unless MPs let him.
If Parliament is prorogued it will only be due to the wrong judgement or cowardice of MPs. The fate of Parliament lies entirely in its own hands not those of Johnson.