Constitutional vandalism


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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31 thoughts on “Constitutional vandalism

  1. If Boris Johnson does this, defies the law, refuses to obey the law, refuses to be bound by the law, then at a stroke the need for a Section 30 order is null and void.

    A Section 30 order is about the UK Government recognising, accepting, acting on, the result of the Indyref.

    If we have a Prime Minister who is not bound by the law(s) made by Parliament then he wont, can’t be, trusted to be bound by any Section 30 agreement. Therefore under those circumstances the indyref can go ahead without one and the result, whatever it is, would be a valid one.

    And given the amount of networking, making friends and influencing people that Ms Sturgeon has done in the EU, UN and elsewhere in laying the groundwork for Indyref2 it is likely that the result would be recognised by the International community.

    As an aside: Amber Rudd has resigned from Cabinet and the Tory Party.

    • Legerwood: “If Boris Johnson does this, defies the law, refuses to obey the law, refuses to be bound by the law, then at a stroke the need for a Section 30 order is null and void.”

      I disagree. It makes it more important than ever. If the Scottish Government is seen as descending into the same depths of illegality as the current LBJ government, it will undermine its authority, credibility, and trustworthiness with the people of Scotland. Particularly the fawns (previous Dug blog post).

      • I would certainly expect the Scottish Government to ask for a Section 30 order but also expect it to be refused.

        (Even if he agreed would his signature be worth the paper it is written on?)

        In the event of a refusal then the SG can hold a referendum which, under normal circumstances, would/could suffer from a substantial boycott thus invalidating the result. But refusal by a PM who has ignored/broken the law, assuming he has found some way to stay in office, would not be normal circumstances. The confusion, chaos and paralysis of the Westminster Government under those circumstances is likely to increase support for, and participation in, a referendum called by the SG.

        Perhaps I have abandoned by usual caution on this occasion but really can things go on like this?

        I fully endorse the actions of the SG throughout this seemingly endless process. I think they have done an incredible amount of work to lay the foundations for the next indyref and played it exactly right. They have worked within the system and demonstrated very clearly to the people of Scotland how little they matter within that system.

        They will ask for a Section 30 and it is right that they do so but refusal in the current circumstances would not de-legitimise a referendum held after that refusal as it would almost certainly have done before this.

  2. Pingback: Constitutional vandalism | speymouth

  3. Boris is exactly the type to do this and wait out the days to Brexit day. Incredible events at the birth of an independent nation. The SNP cannot UDI if he does not obey the law. The British constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on…….

    • And yet, with all this, and yeah it’s just an opinion poll, still half of Scottish voters believe they are better off in the United kingdom….
      Yes, I understand that the poll didn’t cover EU voters and young people who will be eligible to vote in the referendum and yes I understand that the historical precedent has been for independence to rise throughout a campaign, but it does show what a mountain you have to climb

  4. Remember the “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley who told the court “We don’t pay taxes. Only little people pay taxes”

    Now we have Boris Johnson, the “Height of Shite” – his quote will be “Tories don’t obey the law. Only poor people & the Scots have to obey the law”

    Oh to be driving the tractor along our ditches, clearing them for the winter, only to find a festering blob of long forgotten Boris lying where he fell. Let’s face it, he lies wherever he sits, stands or walks so why not where he falls, into the Brexit ditch of doom.

  5. He should never have dumped Ken Clarke and Sir Nicolas. He fucked up seriously there. He’s dead in the water now and it seems as if the Tories are as keen as the opposition parties to humiliate him in his impotence. Amber Rudd no doubt resigned this evening in an attempt to save her political career. Others may follow. Certainly all those who remain stubbornly loyal can say goodbye to any career in the Tory party.

    Incidentally, the following chant was popular in Perth this afternoon:

    Boris Boris Boris
    Ditch ditch ditch
    Boris Boris Boris
    Ditch ditch ditch

    What fun we all had!

  6. Brexit – what are the likely consequences?

    End of the United Kingdom as a political union – Good?

    An independent Scotland & Wales? – Good?

    A united Ireland? – Good?

    An English Parliament – Good?

    We don’t need border controls or custom checks – Switzerland doesn’t have them. We just need agreement. Where’s there’s a will….and the will of the English people is very much in favour of the above. Yes it’s constitutional vandalism – but the victim is the United Kingdom.

    What’s the problem?

  7. Well said Paul.
    The man portrays the fool but he is not stupid enough to break the law, bend it twist it sure, hence Gove’s weasily words over what the legislation actually says. Benn/etc’s Bill will have been thoroughly scrutinised for legal loopholes, so that only leaves manoeuvres in Parliament to exploit. With the GE ploy scuppered, who knows what will unfold next week from the Cummings dirty tricks gamebook, but with Tory MPs ejected and Leadson’s move to unseat Bercow, the long knives of the Tory extremists are out in force for revenge.
    What is happening now may be popularly perceived as democracy amid “Remainer v Brexiter” tribal conspiracy hype, but more sinister forces are at work. Screwing May’s deal was not about Brexiting but about money and power, “No Deal” an essential component. Johnson’s “do or die” jingo may yet prove to be one of his few honest statements, he fails to deliver “No Deal” he is as good as dead to his beneficiaries, a useful idiot no longer useful.
    Brexit remains the UK’s democratic choice/right and will come to pass, disintegration of the UK was inevitable but now accelerated via resurgent English Nationalism, intended EU/ROI damage is unavoidable, but once the deed is done and the jingo abates, what next?
    Does the mask of the con slip in England, does civil disobedience follow?
    Johnson’s “dead in a ditch” may prove a fond wish in comparison to the ignominy of being sent into the political wilderness, but with England’s next assault by Mirage’s ToryMk2PLC army, we need to be as far removed as possible…

  8. I think we are seeing the final days of England’s natural ruling party.
    They have been at war,behind closed doors,since the UK joined the EEC but now it is out in the open for all to see.
    A realignment of politics in England is inevitable with new political parties emerging but with a fundamental split between those who see a future with our European neighbours and those who don’t.

  9. A competent patient government it never has to disobey the law as long as they can change it to suit themselves. However that means it’s a level playing field for us mere mortals if they do. That’s where the idea that no government can bind the next works. No law or permanent regardless of how binding or constricting.

    I suspect that the last ditch may be to abuse Henry 8th powers to re-word the law so that all Johnson has to do is nominate someone to seek an extension rather than achieve the impossible. Then he can go in to a meeting with the EU like a Bullingdon Boy tanked up to the gills, shitting in kettles, pissing in ponds and offering to shag their wives and mistresses.

  10. ‘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.’

    I don’t follow this reasoning at all. You mention martyrdom later on in the go to jail scenario, why does that not work more easily on resignation? He would play it for all its worth, the big martyr sacrificing his career for he greater cause of Brexit etc.etc. Except he wouldn’t be doing this at all, he’d remain leader of the Conservatives and aim to be back in No 10 in short order. Corbyn would not be asked to to go Brussels as Swinson and the ‘Independent Conservatives’ would never put him in No 10 even temporarily. So an extension would never be asked for and following Johnson’s resignation we’d have 14 days of wrangling then a 25 day GE campaign. So it is very easy for Johnson to engineer a default Brexit, just work back 39 days from 31 Oct and resign on that day or a bit later. He can then face the electorate having secured Brexit but before the realities sink in.

  11. He could send Cummings who could open proceedings with a foul mouthed rant and then ask for an extension “you shower of etc”.

    Then when the shocked EU side asks – as I think they are obliged to do – what the extension is for, Dominic could truthfully reply “f****d if I know – ask the arseholes who enacted the ‘Law'”.

    There’s plenty of big spanners that could be chucked in the works – it’s all good fun!

    • You’re right, douglasclark.

      The matter is “serious”. With “serious repercussions”. Of “the utmost seriousness.”

      [With acknowledgements to Yes Minister, c.1985]

  12. Since we are talking constitutional issues I wonder if we can write a Scottish constitution which will be a bitter pill for Brenda as HoS but not for say Wee Eck or Lesley Riddoch as President*.

    Back in Athens they had a law that the dictator had to be able to run around the Olympic track. One old guy confounded everyone by doing so. So a constitutional clause requiring the HoS to cycle from Holyrood House to Holyrood might be met and would deny disabled Scots the chance to be HoS.

    Perhaps that the Scottish HoS must sign up to a load of stuff which would make even a constitutional monarch like Brenda blench. It wil have to make Chuck blench as well note so a commitment to all religious flavours won’t fly. Answers on a postcard please.

    *Insert other candidates for Scottish President here.

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