AS much as the United Kingdom prides itself on its self-anointed mother of Parliaments, the myth of Britain as a functioning democracy is as poorly maintained 
as the crumbling Palace of Westminster itself.

There’s no better analogy for the state of Britain’s electoral system than the rat-infested hallways of the UK Parliament, replete with sparking light fixtures and dripping pipes.

Yet while the political class gasp at the trappings of autocracy abroad, British exceptionalism remains a successful barrier to the reality that calling Britain a successful democracy is akin to believing that the British Empire was a force for good. Remove those Union Flag- spattered glasses and the truth will reveal itself.

UK MPs are elected through a non-proportional voting system that actively maintains a broken two-party system. Our head of state is an unelected monarch with a penchant for poking her nose into the legislative process when it suits her; and the entirety of the UK is now set to be governed by a prime minister handpicked by roughly the same number of people as attended Glastonbury this year.

READ MORE: Penny Mordaunt would not allow indyref2 'under any circumstances'

Whoever takes the reins of the Conservative Party and, by extension, the disgraced office of prime minister, will have been chosen by a coterie of right-wing party members committed enough to the ideals of conservatism that they are willing to throw their cash into the party coffers on a regular basis.

It’s the equivalent of piling all the worst people you know into an auditorium, shunting in a few Tory leadership hopefuls, and giving them a big thumbs up. The pitches being made by the left in the leadership race are not considering the wants, needs or desires of the United Kingdom as a whole, but rather those of the same people who decided Boris Johnson was the man for them just a few years ago.

If you want an image of the contemporary Conservative Party, think of a sea of white-haired, I’m-alright-jacks clicking their tongues in disapproval at the modern world while Rishi Sunak et al play Who Wants To Be the Next Prime Minister with only their Ask the Audience lifeline left.

It’s a long-standing hypocrisy of the political right to simultaneously hold contradictory support for both small government that stays out of the lives of the individual alongside the belief that it is the government’s role to legislate abortion, gay rights and self-determination out of existence. Autonomy is all well and good apparently – just as long as it’s in line with a particular set of values.

Autonomy has, in fact, been the underlying theme of the Conservative Party’s leadership race so far, with candidates racing to assure their backers how little they care for such things.

READ MORE: Liz Truss would 'undermine the Union', say Scottish Tories

In the case of Penny Mordaunt, it has been her frantic attempts to distance herself from any comments she may have made in the past that could be seen as supportive of the bodily autonomy and rights of trans people.
In the case of Sunak, it’s the claims that the Tory frontrunner sees Scotland’s democratically elected Parliament as an obstacle to his legislative agenda.
And in the case of all candidates, none has wasted a second before dismissing out of hand the prospect of a second independence referendum in Scotland, regardless of the democratic mandate the Scottish Parliament holds to pursue one.
It’s been a veritable bonfire of previously held beliefs, thrown into the flames before party members have a chance to look too closely; a leadership race that has started in the ash.
Sunak has abandoned his statements from 2017 that it would be hard to block a second referendum in the future, but that it should be pushed until after Brexit. In his eyes, a good deal in leaving the EU could only strengthen the case for the Union.
Well, we didn’t get a good deal. We were hit with a right-wing "oven-ready” Brexit deal that has caused exceptional damage to the UK, both politically and economically.
Not content to just U-turn on the issue though, Sunak now allegedly supports overruling Holyrood entirely because, according to Scottish Tory MP Andrew Bowie, “we cannot trust the Scottish National Party to act in the best interests of the Scottish people”. Bowie isn’t really talking about the SNP though.

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What he really means is the Scottish electorate cannot be trusted to vote in a way that pleases the Conservative government – and so should have the opportunity to do so overruled.
A small number of Brits will soon choose the new prime minister on our behalf, following a grovelling electoral race that saw the interests of party stakeholders put on a pedestal above the interests of the UK as a whole. This tack to the right, soon to be followed by claims of having been handed a mandate from their membership, will be used to justify all manner of moves that seek to limit the autonomy of the people of Scotland.
Here’s hoping such a strategy only hastens the demise of the United Kingdom.