IT’S like using a teaspoon to empty an ocean. Boris Johnson’s assaults on democracy mount so fast you begin to forget the last one before the new fully arrives. Just days ago, he was busy tearing up the treaty he signed and negotiated with Europe, thereby threatening peace in Northern Ireland, undermining the will of Ulster’s voters, and trashing Britain’s reputation around the world. Remember: he declared, with wild and phoney Trumpian hype back in 2020, what a “fantastic” deal it was.

Today, Johnson occupies himself corrupting the press – for doesn’t he corrupt everything, again like Trump, that comes within his orbit; covering up his grotesque nepotism on behalf of his former lover-now-wife; and waging war against human rights, devolution, and the very foundation of democracy: the rule of law.

We’re becoming Hungary. Viktor Orban, the tinpot despot on the Danube, successfully killed Hungarian democracy with his ‘Goulash Authoritarianism’ in a playbook now borrowed by Johnson – which was also, with wearying familiarity, borrowed by Trump. Orban slowly suffocated a free press, weaponised hate and discrimination, weakened the courts, and gathered power, and therefore wealth, unto himself and his cronies, until democracy died in Hungary.

READ MORE: Tory war on democracy

Last week, the New Yorker referred to the UK as a “rogue nation”. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – one of the world’s leading think tanks (founded by the Scottish tycoon Andrew Carnegie in 1910) – has published reports declaring Johnson a “threat to Britain”. Academics at King’s College London (KCL) debate whether his government is “actively undermining British democracy”.

Dr Andrew Corbett, of KCL’s defence studies department, concluded: “The government’s actions suggest a desire to govern not through parliamentary democracy and scrutiny but more by executive fiat, where national interest appears to be aligned with the specific interests of the incumbent government, not the national interests of the state … In hindsight, perhaps we will call it a coup.”

Like the inventory of his assaults on democracy, the list of wise heads warning that Johnson is a threat to our way of life is voluminous. It’s impossible to go into Johnson’s offences in detail in one column. I’d need to ask the editor to allow me to take over the entire newspaper.

There’s all the ancient history: the lies he told as a journalist, the chats about getting a reporter beaten up, the disgraceful comments about black people, Muslim women and gay men. He can’t even admit how many children he has.

Johnson is a loathsome character, we know that – but he’s taken his loathsomeness and poisoned Britain with it since he rose to power. The signs were there from his time as Mayor of London and the favour bank he opened for the woman he was sleeping with, Jennifer Arcuri. As foreign secretary his callous disregard for fellow humans saw Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe kept behind Iranian bars for longer than needed.

He used lies – £350m-a-week written on a bus – to take power, then purged Conservatives of any opposition, including Winston Churchill’s grandson. But then the onslaught against democracy really started with the unlawful ‘prorogation’ of parliament – aka shutting parliament to prevent scrutiny.

READ MORE: England slumbers while the Union dies

The Culture Wars, Johnson’s key weapon, began with judges labelled “enemies of the people” and calls to “crush” opponent “saboteurs” – in the Daily Mail. For services rendered, former Mail editor Paul Dacre looks set for the Lords. Johnson was unable to install him as Ofcom chief.

Johnson’s handling of Covid saw “tens of thousands” die “who didn’t need to die”, as his former henchman Dominic Cummings said. But then, Johnson was content to “let the bodies pile high”. Nevertheless, billions in lucrative Covid contracts went to Tory friends. Why not help the rich when you’re cutting aid to the world’s poorest, and waging war against the footballer Marcus Rashford over free school meals?

Perhaps the moment it became clear that Johnson would destroy standards in public life in order to keep power came during the Owen Paterson scandal. By then, though, we’d learned about the free holidays and donors helping to pay for luxury home refurbishments.

In truth, his Covid law-breaking and partying just took our eyes off his plans to undermine the right to protest, judicial independence, and voting rights – all of which keep democracy alive. The stink from corruption and lies means nobody can stomach being his ethics adviser. He rewrote the ministerial code, protecting himself from his own wrongdoing.

Now he eyeballs the Human Rights Act (HRA) – legislation which exists to defend citizens against government. It’s a step towards tyranny. He does so using the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as cover – allowing his Brexit base to conflate the ECHR with Brussels, even though it has nothing to do with the EU, but was, essentially, a post-war British creation. Hillsborough investigations would have been impossible without the HRA.

Why does Johnson assault human rights? Because he wants to use his frankly racist policy of exporting human beings, who are refugees, to Rwanda to shore up power – in a move that’s made Britain an international pariah.

He showers gold on the super-rich – currently he wants to remove limits on bankers’ salaries – while telling ordinary people not to ask for pay rises. A faithful client press helps him demonise striking workers trying to even the score. The decision by Rupert Murdoch’s Times, and the Daily Mail, to pull a story detailing how Johnson seemingly tried to fix a £100,000 government job for his now wife, when he was then having an affair with her, shows just how Hungarian our media has become. It’s all a piece with threats against the BBC and Channel 4.

Johnson’s assault on human rights also imperils devolution. The HRA is sown into the Scotland Act. To attack it, is to attack devolution here and also in Northern Ireland and Wales.

So here we are. In America today, politicians are engaged in an inquiry into how Trump almost ended US democracy. If we don’t wake up soon, then it feels very likely that some years down the track, this country will be doing the same.

Unless, of course, Johnson manages what Trump failed to do: and anaesthetises democracy while we sleep.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald