The Court of Session has decided to delay giving a ruling on the nobile officium case brought against the Prime Minister by the SNP MP Joanna Cherry, the legal campaigner Jolyon Maugham, and the anti-Brexit businessman Dale Vince. The court has said that it must wait until the political situation has played itself out, pointing out that the Prime Minister has until 19 October to sign the letter to the EU asking for an extension to Article 50. He will only be in breach of the law if he has not signed the letter by that date. The court has said that if he does not sign the letter by that date, then the plaintiffs will be able to return to court on Monday 21 October and the judges will then make a definitive decision on how to proceed. This is the legal equivalent of yer granny getting a wet tea towel out, ready to flick you on the head with it if you don’t eat your dinner.
The Government wanted the Court of Session to dismiss the case. The judges have very conspicuously failed to do so. Instead they delayed a ruling and have put the Prime Minister on notice that the court expects him to obey the law and fulfil his promises to the court that he will do so. And if he does not, then the court will consider what further action to take. The Court of Session could sign the letter in his place, using the powers of that obscure legal mechanism that now everyone is talking about. The judges could hold the Prime Minister in contempt, and we’d be in the previously unthinkable situation of a British Prime Minister being in contempt of the highest court in Scotland.
If he set foot in Scotland after being ruled in contempt of the highest court in the land, it is even possible – albeit unlikely – that he could be arrested. Now that would be fun to watch, more fun than any number of milkshakes. It would be a delicious situation where the British Prime Minister was afraid to come to Scotland because he was afraid of getting arrested. It would make for a very interesting General Election campaign. The PM could be invited to an electoral debate in Scotland and be empty platformed with just a pair of handcuffs in his place. I’d give up that £170 million winning Euromillions ticket for that to happen. If I had it. Which sadly I don’t. I did win £10.80 though. So whoop, and dee doo.
The decision of the Scottish court creates yet more pressure on Lyin’ Bastert Johnson to do what the Benn Act requires of him, something which he is still saying that he won’t do. He still wants us to think that there’s a ditch with his name on it that he’s going to die in. But this is man who doesn’t do the dying himself, he gets others to do it for him. Today’s decision to delay a final ruling until after the cut off date of 19 October restricts the Prime Minister’s options even further. It makes it even more difficult for him to come up with some clever clever ruse to get around the Benn Act, as the Scottish court will expect him to obey both the letter and the spirit of the law, as he promised to do in the UK government’s deposition to the judges.
However this is a Prime Minister who may very well simply refuse to obey the law and to defy attempts to challenge him. According to The Sun – well yeah, I know, but – sources in Number 10 are claiming that even if there is a vote of No Confidence in the Commons after 21 October, Downing Street is planning to tell the Queen that she can’t remove him as Prime Minister. He’s just going to squat there to ensure that the UK crashes out of the EU on 31 October without a deal. That would ensure that the UK takes another step closer to an authoritarian state where the Hedge Fund party trashes our rights and our economic prospects in order to benefit disaster capitalism, all the while screaming 17.4 million voters!, WW2!, will of the people! This is the great danger of that unwritten constitution that British nationalists always preened themselves made the UK better than other countries, while not being nationalist about it at all. Oh no.
It is unthinkable that we have to raise this as a possibility, as unthinkable as raising the possibility that a British Prime Minister might be unable to set foot in Scotland for fear of arrest, but this is the crazy that passes for that security and stability of the British state that Scotland was promised in 2014. Long gone are the days when the biggest insanity of the British Government was Gordie Broon throwing a Nokia at the head of some hapless spad.
Meanwhile there have been briefings from Downing Street that in the General Election that’s coming, the Conservative Party will be seeking a mandate for a no-deal Brexit. Alarmed by this, a group of those one nation Tory MPs who haven’t yet been purged from the party sought a meeting with Lyin’ Bastert Johnson, during which he denied that this would be his manifesto commitment. It’s just that none of them believe him. The problem with being a serial liar is that no one believes you, even if by some miracle you are actually telling the truth. Which on this occasion he probably isn’t. A manifesto commitment to a no-deal Brexit would probably wipe out the Conservatives in Scotland. Clouds and silver linings and all that.
There is to be a special sitting of Parliament on Saturday 19 October. That will be the day when time runs out. Either the British Government will present a deal to the House for its approval, a deal which there is currently no sign of it getting, or it will have to ask the EU for an extension. If neither of those things happen, then the House can debate what next steps to take. MPs could decide to authorise someone else, such as the Speaker, to write to the EU to make the formal request for an extension. There could be a vote of no confidence and the Commons appoints a caretaker Prime Minister. Your guess about what is going to happen is as good as anyone else’s, because no one in any position of authority has a scooby either.
None of this really matters though, because two footballers’ wives have been falling out over what one of them claims that the other has leaked from the first one’s instagram account. The British media is less interested in barristers’ wigs than it is in WAGs. The only scooby that counts is the Scooby gang that Colleen Rooney has been playing at. Rebekah Vardy – no I hadn’t heard of her either – would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky kids. Who needs the Court of Session possibly about to hold the Prime Minister in contempt, who cares about the impending collapse of what passes for a British constitution, who needs to bother about the British government’s transformation into the sort of authoritarianism that would do Regip Erdogan proud.
When the history of this period in British history is written, the history of the final years of the UK before it breaks up, the history of the British state’s descent into drooling senescence, the British media will get a lot of the blame. They’re obsessed with the wrong sort of scooby.
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