JUSTICE minister David Wolfson resigned from the Conservative government last week saying he could no longer serve in an administration that ignored the rule of law.

In January, Lord Agnew – the very minister in charge of tacking fraud – resigned after accusing the Treasury of “having little interest in the consequences of fraud to our society”. He did so in the middle of a speech in which he accused the Boris Johnson government of “arrogance, indolence and ignorance”.

You might think that if the fraud minister resigns because the government isn’t tackling fraud, it might lead to a parliamentary crisis – or at least an inquiry. But again, there was only a deafening silence in the corridors of power and in the media.

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And the litany goes on. Last November, Boris Johnson’s independent ethics adviser, Alex Allan, quit after the PM refused to sack Home Secretary Priti Patel when an official inquiry found she had broken the ministerial code by bullying civil servants. Allan had served under two previous Conservative prime ministers. You know the drill: the ethics adviser quits because the Johnson administration has no ethics … and nothing happens.

The National: Alex Allan has resigned as Boris Johnson’s adviser on ministerial standardsAlex Allan has resigned as Boris Johnson’s adviser on ministerial standards

Last September, we saw the resignation of Jonathan Jones, the head of the government’s own lawyers. He quit in protest that Tory Attorney General Suella Braverman was serially ignoring legal advice in favour of political expediency. This included wilfully refusing to accept the Northern Ireland Protocol, an international treaty which Britain had just signed. Again, we have a government lawyer telling us government ministers are ignoring the law … and the media and political establishment just look the other way. Is this Russia? No, it’s modern, Tory Britain.

Last April, Samuel Kasumu, the PM’s most senior black adviser, resigned after a government report blithely declared Britain did not have a problem with racism. Kasumu had previously threatened to quit when a government minister went on Twitter to attack black journalists. Kasumu also said that tensions over race policy inside Number 10 had become unbearable. And again, the band played on.

OK, I know that most of these resignations were from bit-part players and second division advisers. But there was also the case of a certain Dominic Cummings, the PM’s most senior adviser and the man brought in specially to make the government machine work.

True, Cummings broke his own Covid rules but that is rather par for the course in Whitehall. What is more significant is that Cummings quit his job accusing Johnson of serial incompetence.

The National: Dominic Cummings was another to come and goDominic Cummings was another to come and go

When Cummings left, another former Johnson adviser, Guto Harri, was quick to defend the PM. Harri intoned: “Most of the public should never have heard of Dominic Cummings but they did because he imposed laws on the rest of us that he ignored himself. And went on then to treat us as idiots giving the most preposterous excuse for his behaviour and thinking we were mad enough to take it. You can’t have someone at the heart of public life who treats the public with contempt.”

I quote Guto Harri at length because he is now head of communications for Boris Johnson. Clearly, Mr Harri has no sense of irony. It is the PM who imposed laws on the rest of us that he himself proceeded to ignore, with an Etonian sense of privilege. It is Boris Johnson who gave “the most preposterous excuse for his behaviour” thinking we would be “mad enough to take it”. For once, Guto Harri is correct when he says, “you can’t have someone at the heart of public life who treats the public with contempt”. But now Mr Harri’s job is to defend the indefensible.

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You might argue that advisers and junior ministers resign from every government. But rarely do the head of the government’s lawyers, the man in charge of the anti-corruption drive and a law officer who happens to be one of the most senior barristers in the country quit their posts because they all think the government of the day holds the law in contempt.

I remind you that this is – nominally – a Conservative government. Except, of course, it isn’t in any proper sense. Instead, we are subject to a populist regime run by an arrogant opportunist and populated by parvenu millionaires who care more for headlines and their careers than good governance or the fate of the nation.

If all this reminds me of anything it is another regime to the east, run by oligarchs for oligarchs, where the rule of law means only the rule of those in power. We are saved to a degree in Britain by the serial incompetence and blithe stupidity of the Johnson administration. As an example, take Priti Patel’s attempt to “solve” the non-existent immigration crisis by deporting asylum seekers to a small, remote African dictatorship whose president was elected with 98.79% of the vote. Paying Rwanda to imprison our unwanted immigrants is a sort of reverse racism.

But a moment’s thought – not something the Home Secretary is renowned for – soon leads to the conclusion this half-cocked scheme is going to fall apart instantly. Does anyone – even Priti Patel – believe the Rwandan regime will treat Afghan and Syrian refugees with care and respect, no matter how much cash Britain coughs up? This plan is headed for the law courts and oblivion. Not that the Home Secretary cares much about the law courts or the advice of her civil servants.

The National: Priti Patel's Rwanda asylum policy has sparked fierce criticismPriti Patel's Rwanda asylum policy has sparked fierce criticism

How has the state of governance in Britain fallen into such an abyss? And why does no-one much care? One explanation: we live surrounded by a miasma of public self-deception that only Vladimir Putin can emulate. There were no parties at Number 10 during Covid, don’t you know? If there were, the PM certainly did not know about them. And if he did, he was wrongly advised.

Besides, it was all two years ago so breaking the law no longer matters. And anyway, Boris has apologised so the affair is closed. Besides, we are fighting a war for truth and justice and the rule of law in Ukraine. So anyone wanting Boris to act honourably can take a running jump.

We are now living in a deeply corrupt state. The usual checks and balances – which rely heavily on convention in Britain’s unwritten constitution – are being wilfully ignored. Whistleblowers are being ignored. And the official opposition acts as if the political status quo still exists.

On current form, with a complicit media in tow, Boris and Co will be re-elected. And the longer he stays in office, the deeper the corruption will grow.

I sense no state of urgency in Scotland. True, there is sound and fury from our political class but no real action is being taken. We are encouraged to be patient. But patience will not – cannot – defeat corruption as deep as this.