The Press and the Supreme Court Judgment
David Alan Green who writes on legal issues for the the Financial Times says today: “The Supreme Court judgment shows the constitution is working – Parliament, not the government, is the ultimate power in the land“. This is a first class analysis of the decision. Particularly astute was this comment:
“The attorney-general said the government was “disappointed” at the result. Such frustration is the sound of a working constitution. Constitutions exist to limit what governments can lawfully get away with. Here an independent court has told the government that parliament is the ultimate power.”
The Financial Times also has this editorial “The UK Supreme Court rules for democracy – Brexit supporters wanted British sovereignty — now they have it“.
Likewise, the Guardian has this from by Louis Blom Cooper: “The supreme court has resoundingly dismissed the government’s vanity – The verdict on article 50 was the right one, but the referendum should never have been the end of the matter anyway“. He rightly points out that the Referendum result had no legal effect. It was advisory.
The Guardian also reports a panel discussion on the consequences of the Judgment: “Panel verdict: the supreme court decision on article 50 – The justices ruled that parliament must vote before article 50 can be triggered. Our panel responds to the latest Brexit development“.
The Times has this: “Judges make history in Brexit blow to ministers – Supreme Court rules parliament must decide on Article 50 and Tory rebels demand debate over EU departure“. That headline assertion is questionable. The sovereignty of Parliament has long been a fundamental principle of our democracy.
The Independent has this: “Brexit: Iain Duncan Smith makes series of ‘inaccurate’ statements to attack Supreme Court ruling – Is contradicted in short order by David Davis backing independent judiciary“. It is no surprise that IDS gets it wrong.
The Spectator has a rather splendid piece by its editor, Frazer Nelson: “The Supreme Court ruling, like the Brexit vote, has defended the sovereignty of parliament“. This paragraph gets it absolutely right:-
“The fault for this entirely unnecessary drama lies with those who advised Theresa May over Article 50 in the first place. The issue is fairly simple: if parliament passed a law signing Britain up to the EU then parliament needs to pass a law undoing it. As Vernon Bognador memorably put it, sovereignty can be expressed in just eight words: what the Queen in Parliament enacts is law. The only power that the EU ever had in Britain is power that parliament voted to give it. If that power is to be retrieved, then parliament must vote to reclaim it – following the result of the 23 June referendum. No judge, no Eurocrat and no Prime Minister can undo what Parliament has done. All of this was explained by the rather magnificent High Court judgment – which, unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court has just reinforced.”
In reality, this too may be a problem which can be ascribed to poor David Cameron who ditched the highly able Rt Hon Dominic Grieve, PC, QC MP as HM Attorney General and replaced him with the present Attorney General, Jeremy Wright MP who might have been good for criminal cases in the Midlands but not a safe pair of hands for much more.
The Wicked Witch takes account of the Judgment
It is good news that in PMQ’s today, Mrs May has agreed to publish a White Paper on her Brexit plans: see this BBC Report: “Brexit: Theresa May promises White Paper on EU exit plan“. This is a first step in the right direction.
It remains to be seen how well Parliament may be able to ensure continued membership of the Single Market in goods and services and the Customs Union.
Donald Trump (aka Mr Toad) and Mexico
The Guardian reports: “Donald Trump to order Mexico wall in national security crackdown – US president due to sign off executive orders, including a temporary ban on refugees from the Middle East“. One is reminded of what a former President of Mexico – Porfirio Díaz (1830-1915) once said: “¡Pobre México, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de Estados Unidos!” – Tr: Poor Mexico, so far from God and so near to the United States.
When Mrs May goes to Washington (whether by broomstick or something more mundane) perhaps she should take along an album documenting her efforts to ensure that the “wogs stay in Calais“. With all her experience as Home Secretary, she could certainly explain to Mr Toad how she seeks to ensure that poor and deserving refugees are kept out of the UK by fair means or foul and why she doesn’t want Poles, Bulgarians or even Italians coming to the UK, taking the jobs our own citizens don’t want and then setting up small businesses with signs like “Polski Sklep” or “Trevi Ristorante Italiano” in her Maidenhead constituency.
Teresa May (aka The Wicked Witch of Westminster) might do well to consider this piece in the Washington Post: “Why Trump’s con can’t last forever“.
The EU is the world’s largest trading bloc, and second largest economy, after the USA. In 2014 the value of the EU’s output totalled $18.5 trillion. The five largest Economies, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain, account for around 70% of the 28-country trading bloc. The UK is better off in the Single Market and the Customs Union than it ever could be outside.
More importantly as an issue for Mrs May’s Washington visit is this editorial in the New York Times: “Russia Gains When Donald Trump Trashes NATO“. See also this report: “Trump Criticizes NATO and Hopes for ‘Good Deals’ With Russia“.
Defence of the Realm is the first duty of government. NATO is an essential part of our national defence – as it is for the other members of the alliance. So it is to be hoped that Mrs May will be able to persuade Mr Toad of the essential part NATO plays for the security of the UK and Europe and that Vladimir Putin is too dangerous to be an ally.