Who will defend the High Court Three? Welcome to British mobocracy. Pitchforks provided.

8 Nov 2016 at 09:21

What dreadful little lickspittles to the Mail and Telegraph this government has become. You would have thought that over the weekend May and Truss would have had paused for reflection and whilst lauding a free press condemned them for personal attacks on the judiciary. Not a bit of it. They care more about a few cheap headlines than the erosion of the rule of law. When Igor Judge, the last Lord Chief Justice, appeared on Newsnight last night and reminded us that the Lord Chancellor has a statutory obligation to protect the judiciary and that Truss’s statement was ’ a too little too late and not a lot’, ministers should sit up and listen. Not a bit of it. They sat up and begged for a Dacre Bonio. And Rees Mogg’s reputation as great Parliamentarian diminishes by the the day. Does he not realise how chilling his words were yesterday when he warned that there may be a time when ‘judges need to be held more firmly into account?’ By whom? Parliament? The people?

There is a chilling resonance with the Mail’s front page ‘Enemies of the People’ headline and the German newspaper headline in 1933. Six judges are pictured under the banner ‘Enemies of the people get out of the way of the German People’s will.’ And now the slimily creepy Farage is threatening to lead a March of 100,000 of his goons to the Supreme Court. Welcome to British mobocracy. Pitch forks will be provided.

The only Brexiteer with any substance to openly support the judges is Gove. He described the the High Court Three as, ‘brilliant thoughtful wise and decent men…their judgement deserves respect.’ I miss the old boy. He may be unstable as a Russian nuclear reactor, less trustworthy than Iago and a more accomplished stilettor than Brutus, but he was a great Lord Chancellor. He cleaned up Grayling’s carnage. He threw a lifeline to a drowning legal profession and built bridges with the judges. Because he genuinely believes in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Truss is finished. Not through incompetence, one can forgive that in ministers. But through cowardice. There will be a time in the near future when she will have drinks with the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chief Justice. She won’t be able to look them in the eye. They will treat her with Arctic courtesy. This is what happens when you put a career politician in an ancient and sensitive great office of state. May should job swap her with David Liddington at the earliest opportunity. A decent man who has always been undervalued. And Javid? Another careerist greaser and chancer. A self made man who worships his creator.The writing is on the wall for him too.

The trouble with the referendum result is that the people are now mouthing the words of Michael Caine in the Italian Job, ‘you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.’ I don’t think that they voted to blow the whole van up. And there lies May’s dilemma. She has to do tough negotiations the the EU. She has to make them believe that Brexit will happen, which at the moment they don’t. Of course Parliament has to be consulted over the mood music rather than the brass tacks of negotiation. They have a right to decide whether we want the benefits of the single market or not. There is a message here. Every time there is talk of hard Brexit the pound and the markets tumble and every time there is talk about soft Brexit both lift. But Parliament alone must decide this. And one way or another eggs will be broken. May will have to make the most difficult decision that any Prime Minister has to make. She has a straight choice between party and country.

May is beginning to realise that controlling immigration to an acceptable level (whatever that might be) is nigh on impossible. To be fair as Home Secretary for the last seven years she probably knows this already. The price for a trade deal with India is more visas. A tricky one to sell back home. A tricky one for the EU too. That is why a trade deal with India fell by the wayside. But now it appears that much heralded Canada deal which was nearly scuppered by the Walloons could have the kibosh put on it the by the Dutch.

There is a lot of dangerous talk about rushing through a resolution (wrong in law) or a one clause Bill (right in law but wrong in head) to rubber stamp our exit. Worse, if this fails call an election. Well, Parliament doesn’t like to be ridden over roughshod. And neither do I. This government is not exactly a beacon of competence. To ask us to trust them and them alone to steer us though the most difficult decisions since Suez is an ask too far. Some of us just might consider fighting such an election as independents.

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