We’re well through the mirror now. Today the press are discussing the chances of a British Prime Minister refusing to obey the law and having to serve jail time as a result. This is the crazy that passes for normality in British politics these days. This is because the British Parliament has passed a law compelling the Prime Minister to request the EU for an extension to Article 50, and the Prime Minister has said he’d rather die in a ditch.
According to The Telegraph, the Prime Minister has now written to Conservative party members and doubled down on his refusal to obey the law, saying, “They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.” If he is true to his word, and we must not forget that this is a man that this blog refers to as Lyin’ Bastert Johnson for good reason, he’s only got three choices. He can pull some wizzard wheeze out of Dominic Cummings’ increasingly discredited arse, he can resign, or he can go to jail for contempt of court.
Certainly it’s the first option which would be LBJ’s favoured move. The problem is that no one can think of anything that has more of a chance of flying than a dodo which has been nailed to Jacob Rees Mogg’s face. Some have suggested that LBJ send Michael Gove to do the deed, but that doesn’t get around the obvious objection that it’s still this Government which will have broken its oft-repeated promise to leave on 31 October do or die. Or the possibility has been aired of the UK refusing to appoint an EU commissioner, which means that the UK will be in breach of EU laws and so would be expelled. But that’s such an obviously transparent ploy that you could see through it even with the dodo nailed to your face. The EU would simply find some accommodation and LBJ’s predicament would not change.
Resigning would mean that LBJ becomes the shortest serving Prime Minister in history. Usually it takes at least a couple of years for a Prime Minister’s career to end in disgrace, LBJ would have managed it in a few weeks. After having schemed and plotted and developed an entire Boris persona with the sole aim of getting himself into Number 10, he’s not about to give up on his dream of being World King quite so easily. Resignation would be an utter humiliation, and a tacit admission that he could not deliver the promise he’s made repeatedly. It could possibly end his chances of ever getting the job again. It would then be up to Jeremy Corbyn to go to Brussels to ask for the extension. The extension would most likely be granted, as it would allow the UK time to hold a General Election, and LBJ would then have to go into the election without having achieved the exit from the EU that he’s been promising. That leaves him open to attacks on his right from the Brexit party and would seriously threaten his chances of gaining a majority in an election that’s going to be close anyway.
Which brings us to option three, a refusal to obey the law. LBJ is precisely the kind of over-privileged posho who has a rock solid belief in his own entitlement, possibly the only belief that has been constant and firm throughout his life. It’s the closest he has to a religious conviction, and he himself is god. He comes across as the kind of individual who can’t really believe that laws should apply to him. It’s the little people who should obey. It’s the little people who ought to do what the rules say. For LBJ there’s always an exception. He’s the World King after all. Deep down in what passes for his heart, he thinks that he can break the law, because the law doesn’t really apply to him.
A long time ago, while he was still at Eton, his school housemaster Martin Hammond wrote to his father Stanley Johnson expressing his concern that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was irresponsible and paid little attention to facts. The teacher wrote, “He honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.” All these years later he still believes that it is churlish not to regard him as an exception to the rule of law.
Has any other British Prime Minister ever threatened to break the law? It’s a surreal state of affairs that we should even be discussing this. But that’s where we are. We live in a state which has no written constitution, which is uniquely vulnerable to unprincipled politicians who are prepared to trash the conventions, understandings, and traditions which pass for a British constitution. We are in fact in a state where it is perfectly possible for a Prime Minister to act unconstitutionally, but not illegally. It’s a short step indeed from ignoring the conventions and precedents which constitute the British constitition to ignoring a law.
Even Scottish Tory MSP Adam IT’S THE LAW Tomkins can’t bring himself to imagine that a Conservative PM might break the law. The Prime Minister is after all the embodiment of the rule of law, the leader of the government which sets and determines the laws that all citizens must obey. It is unthinkable that any Prime Minister should imagine that a law specifying what the Prime Minister must do under a certain set of circumstances could be broken because the Prime Minister finds the law politically inconvenient. Should that happen, the UK ceases to be a country defined by the rule of law. It would spark off the mother and father of all constitutional crises.
The question then becomes, what remedies are available should the Prime Minister take this step. In theory he could be found in contempt of court and dragged off to jail. Which would be the second favourite choice of a great many people for what should happen to LBJ after the being found dead in a ditch one. Some Brextremist MPs are even urging the Prime MInister to allow himself to be sent to prison, so that he will become a martyr to the Brexit cause and act as a totem for those who want a no-deal Brexit. However that scenario depends on a judge being brave enough to put a serving British Prime Minister in jail. It is far more likely that the judge would seek to kick the issue back to Parliament for it to sort out by holding a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister. But Parliament can do nothing if it has been prorogued for five weeks.
So we’re back to square one, with a political and constitutional crisis, a looming Brexit deadline, and a Parliament and a Government with no idea what to do about any of it. The Prime Minister is gleefully vandalising the constitution, and there’s little to stop him. The British state and constitution are unfit for purpose. The security of our democratic standards as guaranteed by the British constitution that Scotland was sold in 2014 is as big a lie as anything that comes out of the Prime Minister’s mouth.
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