Even when an investigation does take place, the prime minister can suppress its conclusions, as Johnson has done with the report on Russian interference in the British political system, which remains unpublished. Does it contain details of unlawful donations to the Conservative party? Or of Conservative Friends of Russia, whose launch party was attended by Cummings? A key figure in this group was a man who has subsequently come under suspicion of being a Russian spy. He has been photographed with Johnson, whom he described as a “good friend”. What was going on? Without parliament’s intelligence and security committee’s report, we can only guess.
These formal rings of power are supported by further defences beyond government, such as the print media, most of which is owned by billionaires or multimillionaires living offshore, and the network of opaquely funded thinktanks, that formulate and test the policies later adopted by government. Their personnel circulate in and out of the prime minister’s office.
Oh, for those halcyon days when it was the right sort of Russians sending the Moscow Gold to the Morning Star and the like…..