Our Prime Minister turned well and truly microscopic this week! Rishi Sunak has been busy making big military decisions without giving Parliament a peep, gallivanting into escalating conflicts in the Middle East without any apparent oversight – democracy, anyone? There’s something I find intensely jarring about the way all of this has unfolded – and from the looks of things, I’m hardly the only person wondering whether there was not a better way of going about this.
Let’s dive in.
Sunak running a one-man show?
Sunak’s unilateral decision to join forces with the US in this action against the Houthi Rebels raises more red flags than a bullfighter’s convention for me. There was not a whisper of this in Parliament – no debate, no consultation. It’s like Sunak’s running a one-man show, and Parliament’s apparently just a decorative piece.
The cornerstone of a functioning democracy is accountability, and transparency isn’t just a buzzword – it’s absolutely essential, especially when we’re talking about international military operations. We’re not choosing paint colours or wallpaper here; these decisions have global repercussions. Engaging in military action without parliamentary oversight isn’t just a kick to the shin of the democratic process; it’s a dangerous precedent. It’s like walking blindfolded on a tightrope – you’re bound to fall at some point.
Sunak seems to have forgotten that in a democracy, leaders are accountable to the people, not just during elections but in every significant decision they make.
Democracy at stake: the cost of bypassing Parliament
As we wade further into this quagmire, it’s clear that Sunak’s decision is more than just a political faux pas; it’s a demonstration of his cavalier attitude towards our democratic processes. It’s like he’s playing a game of Monopoly with real countries – bypassing Parliament as if it’s just a ‘Go’ square he can’t be bothered to stop on.
This move doesn’t just erode trust in Sunak; it undermines the entire democratic institution. It’s a slippery slope from ignoring Parliament on international military actions to sidelining it on other crucial matters. And let’s not forget that Sunak ascended to his position without a public mandate. This adds an extra layer of irony – or is it tragedy? – to the situation. It’s governance by autocracy, masquerading as democracy, and it’s as dangerous as it is disheartening.
Unanswered questions: UK’s role and risks
In the fog of Sunak’s decision to join the US in military action against Houthi rebels, there’s a barrage of questions that we, as a nation, urgently need answered. It’s not just about taking a stand; it’s about understanding the stakes.
Firstly, what exactly is the UK’s role in this new conflict? Are we just cheerleaders, or are we putting boots on the ground? Secondly, we’re stepping into a complex, volatile situation – do we know what we’re walking into, or are we just hoping for the best?
Is this a short-term engagement or are we signing up for another never-ending story in the Middle East? And critically, what’s the exit strategy? Wars are easy to start, hellishly difficult to end. Where’s the plan for de-escalation?
Then there’s the financial aspect. What’s the fiscal cost of our involvement? The morality of war is one thing, but it’s also about the economic burden on a country already grappling with financial woes and the erosion of essential public services.
A question being roundly (and rightly) raised everywhere is whether Sunak is chasing his own Falklands moment, hoping for a surge in national pride and political standing.
The comparison, however, ends at wishful thinking. Unlike the Falklands conflict, which rallied public support around a clear cause, Sunak’s Yemen escapade lacks transparency, public discourse, and, critically, parliamentary consensus. It’s less a unifying national moment and more a divisive, top-down decision.
Moreover, the global and political context has dramatically shifted since the Falklands. Today’s electorate is more critical, information more accessible, and the appetite for military entanglement far less. Sunak’s attempt at a Thatcher-esque boost may well backfire, exposing not strength, but a democratic deficit and disregard for collective decision-making.
Now, to add insult to injury, in a move that screams sheer audacity, Sunak, instead of recalling parliament on the day of the first strikes went to another parliament in another country for what appeared to be no more than a photo op in Ukraine announcing the renewal of our commitment to support it against Russia.
Sunak’s brazen choice to prioritise a PR opportunity over addressing our Parliament is more than just a misstep. It’s an infuriating act of political theatre, with Sunak vying for global limelight, leaving his duty to his own nation in the shadows. The message? PR will always trump national responsibility for our dear Prime Minister. It’s a bloody mockery of the office he holds.
Irrespective of the merits or demerits of the military campaign itself (I’m no expert in war strategy, nor pretend to be), Sunak’s evasion of parliamentary oversight in this Yemen ordeal isn’t just a procedural misstep; it’s a red flag for our democracy. Sure, there’s no legal straitjacket forcing him to consult Parliament, but damn, shouldn’t he have wanted to? Leadership is about being answerable, especially when the stakes are as high as international conflict. Sunak’s failure to even consider a discussion with Parliament, to weigh the questions and concerns of those representing the public, is not just an oversight; it’s a telling indicator of his approach to governance. We need a seismic shift in how decisions like these are made – where transparency and accountability aren’t just optional extras but the very essence of the process.
We need a general election. And we need it now.