On Saturday, for the first time in living memory, neo-fascists were chanting the name of the serving prime minister. Supporters of the English Defence League and the Democratic Football Lads Alliance wandered around Whitehall some drunk, harassing random remain protesters and shouting into the faces of journalists until, inevitably, they attacked the police.
It’s part of an unnerving trend that’s emerged in the past two weeks: the normalisation of chaos.
We have a parliament suspended against its will. We have ministers threatening to break the law. We have allegations that a network of advisers inside Whitehall are using encrypted messaging to circumvent legal scrutiny. And we have briefings to selected journalists that the government might suspend the rule of law by invoking the Emergency Powers Act.
Yet at the end of the headlines there is always the weather and the same jokey riff between a presenter and a hapless BBC political correspondent. Nine out of 10 stories on the front pages of news sites remain focused on dating, food fads and the antics of minor royals.
Nothing in this bleak and blurry picture is happening by accident. Listen to the reported promises of Dominic Cummings: he will “wreck” the Labour party conference; he will “purge” the Tory rebels; he will “smash” Jeremy Corbyn and he reportedly does not care if Northern Ireland “falls into the sea”.
This is a power-grab run to a script, whereby every time the government is thwarted by MPs it simply ups the ante: between now and the European council meeting in October, it will stage one calculated outrage after another. [Continue reading…]