Brexit? Bloody Useless!

Posted: November 3, 2016 in Politics, Uncategorized, World News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Today in the UK, the High Court ruled that the Government must put the triggering of Article 50 to a vote in Parliament so as not to undermine the sovereignty of Parliament. This ruling has, it’s fair to say, not gone down very well amongst some quarters of the political sphere.

David Davies, MP for Monmouth in South Wales, tweeted this lovely well-considered hot-take on the issue:

Suzanne Evans, UKIP leadership candidate, had this to say:

Nigel Farage came up with this:

(Ed’s note: remember this is the same Nigel Farage who promised it wouldn’t be over if the vote was 52-48 in favour of remain…)

To give a bit of an idea of how our whole political system works – it is split into three core areas; the Executive (basically the Government and its ministers), the Legislature (the remaining MPs who are not serving ministers in the Government and who vote on proposed laws), and the Judiciary (the courts and judges who apply the law set by the Executive and Legislature). This is how the separation of powers in the UK works. In this situation, the Judiciary has ruled that the Executive cannot bypass the Legislature when invoking Article 50 – in effect, it has to pass a law in order to invoke Article 50.

Now there are many who are screaming (as we see above) that the High Court is out of bounds by insisting that this be the case, despite the fact that it is established in the way our democracy works. We have people complaining against “unelected judges” – effectively conflating two separate issues, namely the position of the House of Lords (which up until 2009 held the unique position of serving both Legislature and Judiciary functions until the Judiciary was spun out into the Supreme Court), and the positions of judges in the court system. The Judiciary is designed to be independent, so that it can operate without accusations of political interference. It is supposed to operate to apply the law without bias, and without outside pressure. Because our law is a common law system, it uses precedents as well as statute in order to apply judgment, and that is what happened here. The judges decided that the Government’s legal arguments did not apply in this case, and that Parliament must be involved in the process of invoking Art.50.

Let’s imagine for a second that we did have elected judges. On what basis do we elect them? Their legal expertise? Their political leaning? Their popularity? Let’s face it, we live in a country that will vote for a tawdry stereotyping parody act in a popularity contest, so can we really be trusted to elect people into highly complicated, highly important positions?

The whole Brexit thing has been a complete shambles. From the referendum campaign based on no facts whatsoever (Hello Mr Gove, still sick of “experts”?), based on outright lies (Oh hi, NHS bus), and based on exploiting the prejudices of people (I see you there pointing at dirty immigrants, Nigel!), to the aftermath where the financial markets delivered its verdict on Brexit (goodbye cheap holidays, hello expensive imports), this has been a shining example on what happens when people don’t have the right information to make an unbiased decision. And what happens when voters are treated with contempt by those who think they are actually ruling by law rather than following the rule of law.

The next step will be interesting, to say the least – the Art.50 ruling only affects whether the Government can trigger the article without the consent of Parliament. What happens after that are the negotiations for trade deals, between companies and countries. The Government has already had discussions with Nissan, but won’t tell us what they said in those discussions that led to Nissan deciding to keep production in Sunderland. I foresee the next court challenge being about the level of Government negotiations, and whether they have the power to do so without consulting Parliament. Because we cannot return to the days of backroom deals – these negotiations need proper scrutiny. And that is what we must remind our MPs.

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