WE have become inured to the serial scandals, the allegations of rank corruption, the hypocrisy, the blatant lies and the entitlement which are the defining characteristics of this Conservative government, so much so that we meet each new outrage against acceptable standards of behaviour in public office with a weary silence rather than the anger that it merits.

Yet with every new scandal and every new instance of rule-breaking and contempt for the parliamentary practices and customs which underpin democracy in the UK that they get away with, the Conservatives push the envelope that little bit further and chip away even more at the increasingly blurred line that stands between parliamentary democracy and outright authoritarian autocracy. 

The Conservative back bench rebellion against the serial liar and cheat who occupies the pinnacle of power in the UK looks as though it is running out of steam. It seems that the Tories are going to allow Johnson to get away with his lies and deceit and his wanton and repeated breaches of the Covid lockdown rules his government imposed on the rest of us. This will merely serve to confirm Johnson's conceit of himself as being above the laws and rules that everyone else has to obey. Far from learning a lesson from the experiences of the past few days, getting away with it yet again will only embolden Johnson and reinforce his deep-rooted sense of entitlement and privilege. 

However today a new allegation has been made which, if true, would signal that the UK is now a blatantly corrupt state, governed by a party with a gangster mentality. 

William Wragg, the Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester and the chair of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, has accused the Johnson regime and its supporters of trying to "blackmail" those Conservative MPs who have been pushing for a no confidence vote in Boris Johnson.

In a statement, he accused Conservative whips who are trying to shore up support for the Prime Minister of breaching the ministerial code by "threatening to withdraw investments from members of Parliament’s constituencies which are funded from the public purse". If true, this is rank corruption and a criminal offence. It would be confirmation of what has long been suspected, that the Conservatives are using public money in their so-called levelling up fund for nakedly party-political interests, treating the state and public funds as servants of the Conservative party and its unprincipled pursuit of power by any means. 

Wragg also accused party whips of attempting to bully and intimidate MPs by threatening the publication of stories in the press seeking to embarrass those whom they suspect of lacking confidence in the Prime Minister. 

These allegations are shocking but not surprising. No one should be surprised by this government's lack of principles, but we should all be shocked and angered that the British Government is so willing to adopt the same tactics as an organised criminal gang.

Now that he has his claws firmly dug into supreme power, Johnson is not going to give it up without a fight, and this is a man who has shown, as he did with his alleged willingness to collude in organising a violent assault against a journalist who had crossed one of his chums, that he is more than willing to fight dirty. If in the process democracy is trashed and laws are broken that will not trouble Johnson in the slightest. He's always got away with it in the past, and in this broken Britain, he's likely to keep getting away with it in the future.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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