Well this is fun. If you define fun as the UK being mired in the biggest constitutional crisis in living memory. Which if you’re the sort of person who’s been arguing for years that Scottish democracy can only be guaranteed with a written constitution in an independent state is quite a good definition of fun, come to think of it. No one can now seriously argue that the UK provides Scotland with a political security and stability that independence couldn’t offer. There are spinning plates being supervised by a drunk man on an acid trip that are more stable and secure than the UK’s political system.
Never mind the rugby, constitutional law is far more entertaining. Sitting in the Supreme Court with her statement brooch, Lady Hale dropped a mic that was the same size as the Prime Minster’s ego. Boom. The effect of her ruling was simple and devastating. This is a Prime Minister without a majority or a mandate who unlawfully suspended Parliament in order to escape democratic scrutiny. And it’s not on.
The Supreme Court has made a ruling that went further than most expected. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously. It refused any avenues for further appeals. No one had expected that the ruling would be so emphatic in its condemnation of the Government. Before the case was heard, there was a lazy assumption on the part of the metrocommentariat that of course the UK Supreme Court would take the same decision as the English High Court and overrule those uppity Scots. How dare those Caledonians imagine that they can impinge upon the mighty High Court.
However as the case in the Supreme Court progressed, it became clear that the Government had no serious case other than the overweening entitlement of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and the belief that goes down into his bones that laws do not apply to him. No one could be found to make a sworn statement to the court that the reason for the prorogation was the one that the Prime Minister had claimed. The government’s sole argument was that this was a matter for Parliament and not the courts. However as the Supreme Court has ruled today, prorogation is not a matter for Parliament. Prorogation is something which is imposed upon Parliament from above. Parliament cannot hold a Prime Minister to account for proroguing it since prorogation means that Parliament is not sitting.
We are now in the incredible position of having a Prime Minister leading a minority administration who has been found to have acted unlawfully in his attempt to silence opposition. He broke the law in order to undermine the basic principles of democracy. Any other Prime Minister would resign immediately after such a ruling, but this is not a normal Prime Minister. This is a Prime Minister with a brass neck that even those tribal women from South East Asia would marvel at.
The court went even further than merely saying that the Prime Minister had acted unlawfully, and ruled that the prorogation was not merely unlawful, but that it was null and void and had no effect. It was, as the court says, as though the paper signed by the Queen ordering the prorogation was blank and contained no order at all. The court clearly made this ruling because the judges did not trust the Prime Minister to act appropriately if they had kicked the decision back to him, so they took it out of his hands. This was a court determined to prove that the law is not an ass but that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is.
The Speaker of the House of Commons has made a statement saying that Parliament will sit again tomorrow. Today’s ruling means that it is now impossible for the Prime Minister to ignore the law obliging him to ask the EU for a further extension to Article 50. The Supreme Court has ruled firmly and unequivocally that he has to obey the law exactly as the rest of us do. As Joanna Cherry said on the steps outside the court, this ruling proves that neither the Prime Minister nor the Monarch is above the law.
He’s only had the top job for a couple of months, and in that short space of time he’s managed to lose every single vote he’s faced in the Commons, lied to the country, lost his majority, broken the law, and abused his power. But apart from that, he’s doing really well.
Speaking on Sky News, the Prime Minister said that he strongly disagrees with the decision. People convicted of crimes often disagree with the guilty verdict, it doesn’t make them innocent. He repeated his determination to leave the EU on October 31. He has refused to resign. He insisted that there was going to be a Queen’s speech, which suggests he plans to prorogue Parliament again. He seemed to think that he was going to carry on regardless even though his strategy has clearly failed. This is a stiff upper lip that has numbed his brain to reality. The Prime Minister’s hubris and arrogance are dangerous. He still thinks that it’s not him that’s wrong, it’s the court. He still thinks that he can ignore the law.
We have a Prime Minister who is unfit for office. If somewhere deep down in that blawhardery that passes for his persona there is an atom of honour and self-respect, he’d resign immediately. But there is no hope of that. This is a man who lied and cheated his way into office, who made the decision about whether to back Brexit solely on the basis that it was better for his career. You can’t shame the shameless. Lyin’ Bastert Johnson is the epitome of all that is wrong with British politics and the British system. He’s what you get when privilege is more important than talent, when connections count for more than ability, when entitlement is more influential than principle. He oiled and schmoozed his way into power, coasting on a carpet of deceit as he charmed the charmless Conservatives. They thought he was on their side, but the only side he’s ever really been on is his own.
The great flaw of what passes for a British constitution is that there’s very little that anyone can do to punish this creature of contempt, this Dolos of deception. Consequences are for little people. If he refuses to resign, Parliament could pass a motion of no confidence in him, which would give opposition MPs two weeks to cobble together a makeshift coalition with the goal of preventing a no deal Brexit. They will certainly seek to take action to prevent him from proroguing Parliament again. They may even seek to impeach him. Parliament tomorrow is going to be interesting. Get the popcorn, the British state is the biggest disaster movie on show.
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