Judicial Blowback 167

The Tory government, under both May and Johnson, has made plain its contempt for the rule of law repeatedly, and not only over the prorogation of parliament. In the last few days we have seen the Tories admit to illegal sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, in direct breach of a ruling by the Court of Appeal, for which “accident” Liz Truss gave a completely fake apology.

The Home Office has simply ignored court rulings in several immigration cases. To this must be added the whole “enemies of the people” attitude of the government supporting media towards judges in cases involving Brexit, and the remarkably equivocal noises from No 10 over respecting the Supreme Court on prorogation.

The arguments of today’s Supreme Court judgement were extremely strong. But even Supreme Court judges are human. No matter how much the judgement may be presented as purely the product of rarified intellect, I have no doubt the surprisingly unanimous view of the court was to some extent influenced by the chance to hit back decisively at a political faction which has cast the judiciary as the enemy and attempted to undermine them and to ignore or override inconvenient judgements.

Boris, meet Hubris.

I have expressed at length my view that the idea the Queen was “misled” is a nonsense. David Cameron’s description of the process of getting the Queen to intervene in the Scottish Independence referendum, involving multiple conversations with her private secretary (a senior civil servant on secondment), lifts the lid a bit for those who have not been inside the system. There will have been detailed discussions with the Queen’s private office of the prorogation and its motives, which Buckingham Palace could see as well as any of us. One cheerful thing about today’s ruling is that it states unequivocally that an Order in Council, issued with the authority of the Queen, is void if unlawful. This is as much a poke in the eye for the Queen as it is for Boris Johnson, despite the near unanimous pretence of her immaculate innocence and infallibility.

I had drafted a piece on Boris and Iran, but given today’s overwhelming news focus am leaving that till tomorrow.

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167 thoughts on “Judicial Blowback

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  • Brian c

    The House of Saxe Coburg Gotha wilfully mugged off by another fraud. Plainly there is an intense hunger at the summit of British class society for an NHS destroying Trump Brexit.

  • SA

    Chuka Umunna is single handedly trying to wreck any possible deal to support the leader of the opposition in favour of Harriet Harman whom nobody elected to represent anybody whi may be able to command a wider consensus presumably amongst Tory and red Tories. Maybe the NEC should ask HH whether she has been having talks with the turncoat and is willing to stab her own leader in the back.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      The majority of the HoC has to get behind somebody to take over as a caretaker PM. Hitler was only able to come to power due to the endless bickering and posturing of the other parties in the Weimar republic.

      The caretaker PM should not be a party leader. That would be a recipe for disaster. The MPs must take their responsibility. This is no time for Monty-Python-like games. It’s just not funny any more.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        They may as well choose 87 year old Dennis Skinner as caretaker PM. The one and only task the caretaker PM has to perform is to go to Brussels and ask for an extension to A50. Beyond that, there is agreement on nothing, nada, zilch. They can’t even agree on the reason for asking for an A50 extension. General Election first or second Referendum first?

        • OnlyHalfALooney

          Worse, Labour can’t even agree with themselves. And some ex-Labour “Chuka” bloke seems to be spokesperson for the LibDems now. All very confusing…

        • SA

          “The one and only task the caretaker PM has to perform is to go to Brussels and ask for an extension to A50.”
          It takes a little bit more than just that, it needs someone with some backing in parliament and a viable apparatus. If we send any of these named individuals the EU might turn round and ask what mandate do they have. And to think that Harman, Skinner or Clark will have more backing than Corbyn is La La land.

        • Jimmeh

          No extension is on offer, anyway. Even if we had proposals, the French would oppose an extension – they consider us a pain in the neck. But we have no proposals, other than a WA with no backstop.

          No proposals, no extension.

          • Jimmeh

            I meant to note that it follows that an extension is not a solution. The only way to prevent a no-deal brexit is for the government to withdraw the Article-50 letter. That would require a new “Benn Law” – one forcing the government to withdraw the letter.

            Without that, withdrawing the letter would require a general election, and it doesn’t look as if Labour wants to fight a GE over Brexit (and I can understand that position – the party would split, lose the election, and fail to promote the policies the party cares about).

            So I think no-deal is now unavoidable.

          • SA

            The EU may well accept an extension if those wishing to avoid a hard exit agree a no confidence vote with a resultant Corbyn led government with the express remit to ask for an extension followed by a GE.

      • Squeeth

        Nonsense, the NSDAP was jobbed into office by the camarilla around Hindenburg. Papen said “We’ve bought him”.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    This morning’s headlines in the press.
    The Daily Mail – “Who runs Britain?”. The Sun – “…. we don’t like you.” Reference the Supreme Court. The Daily Telegraph – ” …. there are a lot of people who want to frustrate Brexit.”. Daily Express – ” …. What’s lawful about denying 17.4 M Brexit!”.
    Seems like the Editors received the memo from Cummings. A “people v’s the elite” GE is on.

  • OnlyHalfALooney

    Johnson gave a very strange speech to the UN. Did he write it himself? Was this a speech left over from when he was Mayor of London? A column the Telegraph declined to publish perhaps?

    PM speech to the UN General Assembly: 24 September 2019

    You may keep secrets from your friends, from your parents, your children, your doctor – even your personal trainer – but it takes real effort to conceal your thoughts from Google.

    And if that is true today, in future there may be nowhere to hide.

    Smart cities will pullulate with sensors, all joined together by the “internet of things”, bollards communing invisibly with lamp posts

    So there is always a parking space for your electric car,

    so that no bin goes unemptied, no street unswept,

    and the urban environment is as antiseptic as a Zurich pharmacy.

    But this technology could also be used to keep every citizen under round-the-clock surveillance.


    Errm. But this what the NSA and GCHQ actually do Boris.

    So tell us about the GCHQ’s mass surveillance Boris. Tell us how the UK collaborates with the US through the “five eyes” agreement.

    Explain to us why, if you plead for transparency, Boris, why Julian Assange is imprisoned with murderers and terrorists in Belmarsh. Why Boris, why?

    And, why the snide remarks about “Zurich pharmacy” and Parisian Michelin stars?

    And why the silly Churchill impersonation, Boris? Just twist it a bit and it would be hilarious.

      • OnlyHalfALooney

        Well the EU has enacted extensive legislation to try to give EU citizens more control of their data. Not much the EU can do about the NSA and GCHQ though.

  • Hatuey

    The “haves”, toffs, middle class, liberal elite, the establishment, call them what you will, they are fuming. These are people who have done well over the last few decades as the working classes and poor suffered. They run everything, from social work to academia, law, the civil service, charities, you name it.

    Many of them have done well out of the move to the right in UK politics because when you destroy society, reduce welfare, destroy manufacturing, drive down living standards and wages, etc., you create a whole bunch of problems and those problems create jobs for the types I’m talking about.

    Society’s loss has been their gain for last 40 years. Increased crime requires more lawyers, increased alcoholism and drug addiction requires more social workers, increased misery requires more charities and good causes with handsome wages for those manage them. Does anybody trust charities any more?

    One of the reasons I walk away when people start talking about the environment is because the issue has become another industry for all these same types, trying to turn another disaster into lucrative careers.

    It makes a lot of sense to worry about the climate 20 years from now when you’re raking it in. By the same token, it’s hard to care about a 2 inch rise in sea levels when you’re sitting wondering where the next meal for your kid is coming from, as so many in Britain today are…

    And now they want to stop Brexit. Desperation is palpable. The obvious solution in the past would be for them to put their support behind Labour but Labour today aren’t quite Tory enough for them. The problem is that Corbyn is proposing to increase taxes (ever so slightly), and he talks a bit too convincingly about helping the many and not the few — can’t have that eh, I mean, what do you think the last 40 years have been about?

    It’s a dilemma and that’s why Chukka and Swinson are TV morning, noon, and night.

  • Sharp Ears

    This is a reminder of what transpired in the HoC on 9th September last when Parliament was prorogued until 14th October. Seem like years ago now.



    They resume today at 11.30. No business scheduled on the record. https://calendar.parliament.uk/calendar/Commons/All/2019/9/25/Daily

    ‘11.30 am
    Urgent question
    If urgent questions are granted, details will appear here as soon as possible

    Ministerial statement
    If ministerial statements are to be made, details will appear here as soon as possible’

    • Sharp Ears

      Will Johnson be in a fit state to attend the HoC ‘acting as Prime Minister’ after an 7 hr flight from the US?

    • Hatuey

      So, they basically have nothing to do.

      Maybe Swinson, Blackford, and Corbyn could be persuaded to make passionate speeches about democracy and the will of the people.

      They accused Boris of wanting run down the clock but it looks like he isn’t the only one.

  • Willie

    The prorogation of Parliament was certainly a visible exercise of how Johnson and his ilk like Hitler or Mussolini would take power. Abolish a functioning parliament.

    But when this is what they do in public it might make folks better realise what they do in less public situations. The incarceration of Julian Assange. The illegal selection of the Windrush group for hostile treatment. The whole process of the hostile environment treatment where process is illegally applied to make things as difficult as possible. The surveillance of vehicle movements on our roads, the introduction of mass facecscreening without parliamentary consent, the mass plunder and analysis of meta data as exposed by Cambridge Analytical, the deliberate policy of austerity creating in many cities virtual townships of poverty reminiscent of apartheid a South Africa.

    Metaphorically the elites have all the guns and we don’t. This Supreme Court decision may be a good decision but the apparatus of state under elite control is still there.

    And then you think about other European states like our nearest neighbour Ireland. It is not ripping itself apart. It is not under the all watching eye of Uber surveillance. Ditto Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands…….no it is here. The iron military surveillance state that is the UK.

    But maybe the UK has more enemies than most. It’s recent military adventures alone reinforce that. And then it has its own internal enemies – the poor, the immigrant and especially of colour, the Irish and yes the Scots who have over the recent past been identified as subversive. Think they are not watching us, then think again.

    Yesterday was a fight for democracy, but it was only one fight. Sadly Britain will have to burn before real democracy emerges if ever.

    Time for Scotland to go and let England get on with it.

    • SA

      “Time for Scotland to go and let England get on with it.”
      How? By undemocratic or democratic means?

    • giyane

      Personally I think that the sacking of a respected former Attorney General Dominic Grieve plus 25 other Tory MPs was what in the minds of the 11 senior judges, rather than the prorogation alone.

      Her majesty is too close in the public’s mind to her uncle’s Fascist sympathies to be allowed to cavort naked through the woods with fauns and Boris after closing down the executive six weeks before Brexit. Plenty of time for a Disney movie later when the only man with a plan for a sensible Brexit , Corbyn + Norway is installed as PM.

      Corbyn imho rightly assesses that a second referendum will deliver the same result and he will be able to rewind the clock back to May’s first day when she interpreted the referendu wrong. Who’d”ve thought the only lady who ever displeased the judiciary so much was the daughter of a preacher man.

  • N_

    Hilarious statement from Robert Buckland, the “Lord Chancellor”: “We must all remember that our world-class judiciary always acts free from political motivation or influence and that the rule of law is the basis of our democracy, for all seasons. Personal attacks on judges from any quarter are completely unacceptable.

    Hahaha! By “world class” does he mean they make lots of money from Russian “businessmen with unclear sources of wealth” in Chancery cases? Who are these slimeballs to think they can go around “judging” people?

    Note to Glenn: if you want “pomp”, take a look at how judges behave.

    • N_

      Who the hell does the Justice Secretary think he is to tell us there are some people who are above personal criticism for their actions?

      The whole idea of the separation of power has always been c*ck.

  • N_

    Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox has just challenged the Opposition to accept a one-line bill fixing the date of the general election.

    Why doesn’t the government table one??

    • N_

      I should make this clearer. A one-line bill fixing the date of the election need not require a VONC either first or afterwards, because it could repeal the provisions in the FTPA that specify the conditions under which an early GE may be held. Basically it could just say there will be a general election on such-and-such a date. Details as to how to phrase the amendment or repeal of relevant sections of previous Acts won’t delay the drafting clerks very long. In short, while the government doesn’t have the right to call an election, Parliament DOES.

  • SA

    Brexit is turning up to be a comedy of errors on both sides. That appears to be because all involved
    A. think they hold the key to all knowledge and answers and the others are morons.
    B. Are unwilling to compromise.
    C. Think that the whole world and politics are now only about Brexit.

    Most will wake up with a severe hangover on first of November after discovering that as a result of their intransigence we have allowed the Tories under Boris to rule for another 5 years.

    • Twirlip

      But surely current Labour Party policy implicitly denies all of A, B and C – and that’s exactly why it makes so much sense? Am I missing something here? Please explain.

      • SA

        I fully agree with you but this is the official Labour party policy which is being ignored and denounced by remainers in the labour party.

  • JOML

    You could see the government front bench squirming when Joanna Cherry was questioning the Attorney General, knowing they couldn’t bullshit someone with a sound legal background.
    It’s just a shame the SNP didn’t have the balls to accept Craig Murray to represent them in a constituency – can you imagine the squirming in Westminster when Craig stood up to speak on the government’s foreign policy? A real opportunity missed but there’s time to reconsider and get Craig to stand at the forthcoming GE, unless he is planning to stand as an independent candidate?

    • Mochyn69

      Craig can still make the bullets and let others fire them .. for now! Which I hope he is doing anyway.

  • Arby

    “No matter how much the judgement may be presented as purely the product of rarified intellect, I have no doubt the surprisingly unanimous view of the court was to some extent influenced by the chance to hit back decisively at a political faction which has cast the judiciary as the enemy and attempted to undermine them and to ignore or override inconvenient judgements.” Is that how the Justices should operate?

  • Komodo

    I agree, the Queen could not have been ‘misled’ and that she might be considered an accessory to this ‘breach’ of the ‘law’. But this is a major constitutional upset, and indicative of the Blair-founded and superfluous Supreme Court’s growing desire to control aspects of Parliamentary functioning not previously open to interference. It’s ‘law’ made up on the fly to cope with a single anomaly, only shakily based in one antique statute, and applied retrospectively. It is not law in any meaningful sense.

    • michael norton

      The Real law, should be the 2016 Referendum, 17.4 million voters opted for Brexit.
      This Law has not yet been implemented, the people and country have been frustrated by those we trusted to make it happen, yet the quislings have now enacted the Benn Law, to frustrate the will of the people, it is truly Parliament against the people.
      Dangerous times are on us.

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