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The Supreme Court, Proroguing & Dangerous Precedents Remainers celebrating the ruling need to consider the greater implications of a judiciary that enforces policy, not law

Kit Knightly

The Supreme Court has ruled against Boris Johnson’s proroguing of Parliament. Because of course they did, because they were always going to.

People all over the country are celebrating this ruling, but one can’t help but feel that comes from the perspective of not fully understanding what it could mean, down the line.

Essentially Britain, a country that famously has no official “constitution”, just a network of vaguely-agreed upon conventions, legal opinions and precedents, now has a Supreme Court which is willing, when invited to do so, to make decisions on policy.

This is very important – this legal finding is nothing to do with “legality”. Neither Johnson nor any member of his cabinet is accused of having actually broken the law.

They acted entirely within their prerogative and according to their legal authority. That is not being challenged.

What’s being challenged is whether or not they acted for the right reasons, or at the right time. These are obviously both highly subjective questions.

In fact, this hearing, a combined appeal, is entirely about legal opinion – mostly about whether or not the decision to prorogue parliament is even actionable under law.

To sum up the history:

Gina Miller, a private individual, brought a legal case to overturn the prorogue in the English courts. It was thrown out, with a judge claiming it was not subject to legal challenge (from the SC’s official summary below):

On 11th September, the High Court of England and Wales delivered judgment dismissing Mrs Miller’s claim on the ground that the issue was not justiciable in a court of law.

However, in a separate case, 75 MPs took a similar challenge before the Scottish courts. That court found (our emphasis):

the issue was justiciable, that it was motivated by the improper purpose of stymying Parliamentary scrutiny of the Government

So you see, the issue is not one of legality, but of opinion and motivation. Very dodgy areas for a court to be issuing precedents. Essentially the Scottish courts ruled that Johnson can’t prorogue Parliament, in this instance, not because he acted outside his legal authority, but because he did it for the wrong reason.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Supreme Court agreed with the Scottish court’s findings. To quote the official summary:

The power to prorogue is limited by the constitutional principles with which it would otherwise conflict.

The “constitutional principles” being invoked here are the sovereignty of Parliament, and Parliament’s duty to oversee the executive.

The Supreme Court has ruled that though the Executive (the Prime Minister) has the legal power to prorogue the legislative (Parliament), his use of those powers in this instance, is improper.

Do you see why that might be a problem?

Essentially, it is now a precedent – in a country who’s entire legal foundation is built upon precedent – that a private individual (in this case Gina Miller) can invite the Supreme Court to reverse decisions of the elected executive IF they deem the PM’s motivation to be improper.

That’s all very well and good, some might say, because we currently have a heinously incompetent, brutally unpleasant, right-wing Tory government.

However, that will not always be the case.

Imagine if Jeremy Corbyn (or some other left-winger) were to become PM. How long would it be before his power was undermined in this fashion?

“Ah, no” – some will argue – “this case is a one-off because Johnson was going against the constitution”.

Which would be a fair point except – as I have previously pointed out – the UK has no constitution. They have a the Bill of Rights act of 1688, they have Human Rights Act of 1998, the UDHR and ECHR and a spiders web of interlinked legal precedents. There’s no single codified document, and as such our “constitution” is subject to interpretation on a case-by-case basis.

It is absolutely foreseeable, just as an example, that a governmental boycott of Israel could be ruled “unconstitutional” because it is “motivated by antisemitism” and therefore breaches UK’s “commitment to anti-racism”.

Or that a push to re-nationalise industry would be subject to legal challenge on the grounds it was “unconstitutional” by conflicting with the “British values of free enterprise”. (Don’t forget Richard Branson once sued the NHS, he would absolutely take Corbyn to court to protect Virgin Trains).

Then there’s the question of our actually leaving the EU, or the second Scottish independence referendum, both of which could now easily face legal challenges to (at best) delay, frustrate and obfuscate their execution.

In a country with no solid, written constitution, you need to be careful with precedents. This one feels important, and leave or remain, should it be a cause for celebration?

You can read the entire summary here, or below, and decide for yourselves.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

Filed under: Brexit, featured, latest, UK, UK domestic politics

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker

It’s quite bizarre that the far left is supporting the Neocon, fascist, Disaster Capitalist attempted coup of Britain.

I guess that’s because ultimately revolutionaries of either side don’t do democracy. They both need Parliament usurped and out of the way to stand any chance of them taking charge.

In other, plainer, words, dangerous nutters of the right and left are united in their attempt to dismantle British Parliamentary democracy. I hope you can sleep well at night.

fonso
fonso

The British left saw the EEC for what it was long before it morphed into the nakedly neoliberal, anti-democratic outfit of today. However, if you regard the true left as being Chuka Umuna and Jo Swinson rather than Denis Skinner and Tony Benn I accept your comment is one made in good faith.

Eric
Eric

Parliament is a servant of the neocon, neoliberal, fascist, Disaster Capitalist attempted coup of the world. You are too unintelligent or dishonest to state the obvious truth, that the “centrists” that the media so lauds are in fact the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. They are committed to doubling down until we are all dead. This court ruling is just another step.

Ben Trovata
Ben Trovata

“centrists”…it’s almost flattering; they need a name that describes who they really are.

bob
bob

Found this little snipet on another site:

“according to Quentin Letts in The Sun, Lady Hale has just taken on a (cushy) job at an Oxford College run by Alan Rushbridger , ex-editor if the Guardian and prominent supporter of Gina Miller.”

no matter abut conflict of interests amongst the judiciary then!

intp1
intp1

A Supreme Court, as we have seen in America, often has to rule on a balance of conflicting legal or constitutional obligations. E.g. privacy vs security. So I dont think that ruling where the law is not evident or is contradictory is unexpected or unwanted for a Supreme Court
Setting precedent is its main job and without a written constitution, they are in effect, gradually writing one.
If a Labour Govt. sanctioned Israel or whatever, the Supreme Court could be appealed to. If they ruled on such a thing, the circumstances would be different and the outcome with respect to what the Govt wanted would probably be different.

I don´t think any of that is such a bad thing. Better than a Boris, Neo-Con mindset of The law is what we say it is.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

Legend has it that when Gerald Gardiner’s daughter arrived home from school one day to discover that an especially sumptuous tea was being prepared she was told, on asking why, that one of Daddy’s judgements had just been upheld on appeal.

Bkes
Bkes

Most seem to have misunderstood the way the system in this country works. Parliament creates laws, and the Judiciary interpret those laws, using precedent of previous decisions when appropriate as guidance. No one, or group, is above the law, and that includes Parliament and the Prime Minister. Parliament could in theory pass a law that the Prime Minister can prorogue Parliament in the controversial way he did. But no Parliament would ever pass such an act.
It is important that the Judiciary is completely independent of Parliament and that it can, as it always has, interpret (and in effect create) laws. The system rubs along mostly satisfactorily, if uncomfortably. Boris Johnson, in this case, stretched the seams of this power-stuggle too far. The Supreme Court had to come to the decision it did or else risk being subjugated to the Prime Minister’s will. This would create an unfortunate precedent; a government would no longer be able to be held to account.

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour

For anyone who unquestionably bows down to the decision of these 11 judges, think again.
Law is based on interpretation, it is inconsistent and is not dispensed evenly.
If you doubt what I have said, then ask yourself this.
Why is Julian Assange still in prison.
Who can forget law lord Charlie Falconer and his part in persuading/making a case for the legality of the Iraq war.
The establishment doen’t care about ordinary people or their views, it uses them and despises them.
Who is the establishment?
The BBC, most politicians, the judiciary, the house of lords and most importantly – the EU.

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour

Excellent article Kit, you have demonstrated how easy it would be in the future to stop any and every decision made in Parliament.
First of all, I am no fan of Boris Johnson, but it is obvious that he wasn’t the only person responsible for prorouging Parliament, it would have been a cabinet decision.
We shouldn’t forget that John Major did the same thing back in 1997 when the “cash for questions” scandal was going on.
As Rhys correctly states, I too cannot believe that all 11 judges voted this way.

FrankSpeaker
FrankSpeaker

Boris Johnson, a disgusting and immoral man, a dangerous neocon, hijacked our democratic process, being a PM placed into power by just 90,000 Tory swivel-eyed loons…being supported in his unlawful actions by Marxists and Trotskyists.

How utterly bizarre.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar

11 Remain-voting Supremes are a balanced judicial body are they?

Make every one of them state publicly how they voted.

11-0 will have as much credibility in Middle England as Boris Johnson trying to pull in a gay bar….

Nick Bell
Nick Bell

Firstly, you speculate about the Supreme judges’ beliefs. Secondly, you use the term ‘Remain-voting’ as a smear. WTF?

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar

What people should be discussing is the flight to authority and why such authority has any legitimacy.

The west is imbued with childish delusions that certain groups of people are selfless saints who only act in the gest interests of others, whereas others are rather worse than estate agents.

Scientists, notably climate scientists, are portrayed as dispassionate experts utterly above politics, used as bulwarks of honesty by climate alarmists. Rarely has there been a more fatuous, self-serving pile on unadulterated bullshit. Academic scientists need grant money to stay on the gravy train and they sing for their supper to get that grant money. Indeed it is precisely the ones and only the ones who do sing for their supper who gain seniority. They are utterly political, entirely biddable and treat dissenting voices like witches at Salem….

The next group are doctors. Doctors are a very strong Trades Union who say that they- and only they are capable of speaking with authority about ailments. Healthy living is quite another matter. Doctors are flooded with opportunities for drug lunch freebies and mostly are loyal parroters of the official line. There is a tiny set of opinion formers who are often concealed from public gaze and many are intimately entwined to the drugs industry. Whilst that is not all bad, the starting point for any judgement of doctors should be their avarice, their status seeking, their totalitarian definition of health matters in terms where they are in charge. Perish the thought that healthy living for the masses is more likely without doctor diktat….and that challenging doctors where appropriate is entirely justifiable.

Whilst everyone knows that both politicians and lawyers are biddable scoundrels, for some reason Supreme Court Judges are today seen as some saintly group representing the country. They are anything but. Like anyone else in the higher Establishment echelons, they are sharp elbowed, self interested, politically flexible bureaucrats who do what is expected of them.

In this case, it should be a sine qua non that every judge should be required to reveal how they voted in 2016. It is by definition impossible for 11 Supremes to reach a balanced, honest judgement if all 11 voted to remain. Any of them that refuses to divulge how they voted should be treated identically to Julian Assange and should be locked up without trial until they do. I remain 100% condident that the voting pattern was between 9-2 and 11-0 in favour of Remain and my money is on 11-0.

Every Remain voting MP in the Labour who states that a 9-2+ majority for Remain can possibly represent an honest bench needs incarceration in a home for the mentally deranged. There can be no possibility of any respect for any Labour MP who challenges that. Indeed they should be forcibly prevented from entering the House of Commons until they publicly state this self evident truth.

I hope people are beginning to think that there is nowhere in the Estblishment where they can turn for dispassionate saintly actions.

The Establishment is a bear pit, with both sides of it being biddable, corruptible, self-serving unrepresentative groups of slick wordsmiths.

George Robinson
George Robinson

A finely balanced response. Thank you.

Estaugh
Estaugh

Bill of Rights 1688/9 .
I A B doe sweare That I doe from my Heart Abhorr, Detest and Abjure as Impious and Hereticall this damnable Doctrine and Position That Princes Excommunicated or Deprived by the Pope or any Authority of the See of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their Subjects or any other whatsoever. And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God.” What more do you need? —— In 1972, Sovereignty was surrendered to a foreign potentate, (vis: EEC), and on that very day, (‘cos the GOD saw it happen), Parliament ceased to exist as such and the Monarch was no longer a monarch. 30 years on, in 2001, certain lords, miffed at being excluded from their hereditary birthright, invoked, according to the regs in vigour, Article 61 of the Magna Carta 1215, aka “Lawful Rebellion”. It is not a take it or leave it favour your being asked, It is a “Royal Command”: “and those five and twenty barons shall, together with the community of the whole realm, distrain and distress us in all possible ways, namely, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, and in any other way they can, until redress has been obtained as they deem fit, saving harmless our own person, and the persons of our queen and children; and when redress has been obtained, they shall resume their old relations towards us. And let whoever in the country desires it, swear to obey the orders of the said five and twenty barons for the execution of all the aforesaid matters, and along with them, to molest us to the utmost of his power; and we publicly and freely grant leave to everyone who wishes to swear, and we shall never forbid anyone to swear. All those, moveover, in the land who of themselves and of their own accord are unwilling to swear to the twenty five to help them in constraining and molesting us, we shall by our command compel the same to swear to the effect foresaid.” But meanwhile the given narrative goes on and on and on. The Sovereignty and authority of Parliament ceased the moment of the royal assent to the Act of 1972. Authority of the judiciary ceased at the same moment, as did that of the executive. Having been fraudulently achieved, the EEC entry Act is void from day one and all subsequent Acts by these same authorities are equally void. The fruits of Treason ripening in their season, and I wait in grim anticipation for the seeds to burst.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

I may be revealing my ignorance here–driving on the wrong side of the road, as I do!–but does this ruling actually directly affect Brexit at all? I was under the impression that Brexit now arose by default on Oct. 31st, regardless of what the Parliament in London may or may not do. I was told that the only body in Europe that could now reverse Article 50 would be the EU itself. Was I misinformed? If not, than this is all a tempest in a teacup.

FrankSpeaker
FrankSpeaker

No Seamus, it doesn’t impact Brexit directly. We’re still heading for a No Deal and B-Day on the 31 October, for the moment.

This court ruling allows the unlawfully suspended Parliament to return to work. In so doing there may be attempts by some MPs to defer or scupper Brexit, or lead to a General Election, or another referendum, but only if they can get enough support, just like with anything else that’s put to the House and voted upon.

Therefore, indirectly, Brexit may potentially be affected, and that’s why Johnson unlawfully suspended Parliament to avoid any possibility of Brexit not occurring, stopping ALL activity in the House, an exceptionally extreme and dangerous action to take.

If he had got away with doing that for one thing, he would have set a dangerous precedent for any future tinpots of the far right or far left to hijack the British Parliament and our representative democracy (as opposed to direct democracy) for whatever nefarious purpose.

margaret
margaret

It was only a prorogation for a few days at a time when there would normally be a recess anyway for party conferences as I understand it. They were still scheduled to return around Oct 10 I think so would have had plenty of time then to scupper Brexit since that is what they want to do. Just another attempt to paint Boris is as bad a light as possible imo.

George Robinson
George Robinson

@margaret No, listen to the whole ruling of the Supreme Court. She explains that being in Conference Recess is very different to being prorogued.

Even as a Clean-Brexiteer I acknowledge that the Supreme Court might actually be right. I underestimated the impact of prorogation, which was heavier than I’d previously thought.

No. 10 acted poorly to disable Parliament’s right to object to them. The MP’s are becoming increasing treasonous post Brexit, but they should still be allowed to do business even though it’s irritating to see Brexit delayed, and to have them put off the general election until the last moment.

But the process for the people to see their will done, is
1- The silent Queen takes advice from the Executive
2- The Executive governs by consent & confidence of the House
3- The MP’s are elected to represent, and are checked by, the people.

Boris attempted to bypass Level 2, which should not have been permitted, even though he did it justly to increase the chances of a Halloween Brexit.

The correct route is for No. 10 to argue clearly for what is right, to be defeated by the liars if need be, and then allow the electorate to correct the damage with a new wave of MPs after the ensuing General Election. It’s slow, expensive, and frustrating but it allows the truth to stir the people into directing our nation into safer waters.

We can celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling, and the overwhelming power of our functional pyramid of accountability, as a beacon democracy to the less fortunate EU.

Our job is to continue speaking the truth, silence no-one, allow the parliamentary procedures to take a wrong turn, and then fix it as the general election cycle comes around.

Joerg
Joerg

Please see the interview of “The Duran” with the video “U.K. SUPREME COURT DISMANTLES BORIS’ BREXIT PLAN” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95aRljx2lnw

C Starkey
C Starkey

Many commentators here are forgetting that the 2016 referendum result has no constitutional grounding, whereas political power in the United Kingdom has for centuries been ultimately ceded by the executive to Parliament.

Once upon a time the monarch ruled supreme and was above the law. Overtime, the aristocrats of the land began to challenge the supremacy of the monarch leading to Magna Carta. This began a long history of legal and political manoeuvring, including violent conflict, that shifted supreme political power to parliament.

Recall that parliament was made up exclusively of aristocrats until relatively recently. Politics and the law itself have not really adjusted to account for this change. There is no connection between the legitimacy of a parliamentarian’s actions and the preferences of the people he or she is representing.

So, everything the executive does is subject to the scrutiny and curtailment of parliament. Whether this is the correct state of affairs is besides the point when considering the Supreme Court’s decision.

Proroguing parliament necessarily deprived parliament of its ability to wield its supreme political power. The court has held that such proroguation can only lawfully occur if there is a legitimate reason. In this case they found, based on the evidence presented, that there was no reason at all, let alone a legitimate one.

Whether or not parliament is disregarding the outcome of what is essentially a nationwide opinion poll, constitutionally speaking, matters not one iota. If the citizens of the United Kingdom prefer an arrangement where political power is ultimately ceded to their will rather than that of parliament, a revolution is required.

lundiel
lundiel

If parliamentary business was democratic we would not have had austerity. The people’s vote was for most, the only vote they will ever have that had meaning.

Ben Trovata
Ben Trovata

Very nice precise. The author’s remark”…and as such our “constitution” is subject to interpretation on a case-by-case basis.” brought to my mind:as a physician would.

FrankSpeaker
FrankSpeaker

Excellent summary C Starky.

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour

C Starkey, please stop using the BBC/remainer chant of – “but it was only advisory”.
If it had been advisory, people would have stayed at home and not voted.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

Had the Remainers won the referendum, you can be pretty damn sure the establishment would not be calling it ‘advisory’!

C Starkey
C Starkey

@andyoldlabour and @Seamus Padraig I am commenting very specifically about the basis for the court’s decision, not the moral correctness of parliament’s behaviour.

Morally, parliament should give effect to the outcome of the referendum. Politically, the consequences of failing to do so should be removal from parliament, at the next election, of those not heeding the “people’s vote”. But as things stand, that’s all you’ve got. The current constitutional arrangements do not contemplate, in any shape or form, direct political decision making by the citizenry. The peoples’ role, again, constitutionally speaking, is to elect representatives, and no more.

If you thought your vote in the referendum was somehow binding then I’m afraid you were conned. Parliament is so contemptuous of direct political action that they didn’t bother to provide a process for giving effect to the result. Unless you expect a revolution, whereby the allocation of power is permanently adjusted away from parliament and either back to the executive or down to the people, the legal status of the referendum can be nothing more than “advisory”.

I say, viva le revolution.

Toby Russell
Toby Russell

I remember seeing somewhere in the referendum’s terms that its result would not be binding on Parliament. That Parliament is faux acting kinda-sorta as if it were is itself a red light. Or at least should be a red light. The fact seems to go mostly unmentioned.

Otherwise, and indeed very much because of this continuing patrician mendacity, yes, viva la revolucion!

Steve Hayes

Lord Sumption characterised the Supreme Court’s judgement as revolutionary. Dominic Greive acknowledged that the judgement is a significant constitutional change. These are people who (because of their Remain politics) welcome the judgement. Yet even they recognise that the Court invented new law and changed the constitution. The judgement ensures that in the future whenever someone with deep pockets objects to a political decision, they will resort to the courts. Tuesday was a remarkably bad day for both democracy and the rule of law. It was a bad day for democracy because it means matters that are political will inevitably be decided by unelected, unaccountable judges: a process which means the wealthy will find it even easier to over-ride the wishes of ordinary people express in the ballot box. And it was a bad day for the rule of law because judges deciding matters of politics will inevitably bring the judiciary into disrepute. Already, many people are scrutinising the backgrounds of the eleven Justices and finding clear evidence of Remainer bias. I suspect that many who are currently cheering this judgement will subsequently come to rue the day.

BigB
BigB

Talking of dangerous precedents: talk of a Constitution with no reference to the Magna Carta is a huge Constitutional obfuscation. All our rights – including the Bill of Rights – are founded on the Great Charter. It entails our Common Law jurisprudence – trial by jury; etc – to which all subsequent Statute Law is inferior. But the greatest enshrined principle is the Sovereignty of the People. If we cede that sovereignty to Parliamentarian tyranny we are done.

I am not going to argue whether the Great Charter et al constitutes a written Constitution – it does. There are sites – such as the British Constitution Society that argue that for me. Any fellow UK Column subbie knows the position. I will remind Kit that I pointed out that we are at least a decade into a cross-party agenda to have a written Constitution. I pointed out that some of the clauses for the government to forfeit life in defense of the rule of law. Welcome to Palestine, Comrades, if we cede our Sovereignty so lightly to Parliament. We have a Constitution to defend against that.

As usual: there is a bigger agenda. That of the ongoing administrative coup to usurp our rightful sovereignty. Ms Miller assumes the mantle of the latest Parliamentary authoritarian who wishes to subvert the will of the People. As usual, many of the People cheerlead her on: not knowing the Constitutional rights and civil liberties they give away.

We do have a written Constitution. The position is clear and unequivocal: they work for us. We vote: they carry out the vote. Think long and hard before you engage to subvert that position. It is your own rights – enshrined in the Great Charter – that you involuntarily cede to Parliamentary authoritarians. Julian Assange is a primordial example of the subversion of the right of Habeas Corpus (he shouldn’t be out on bail: he never should have been in jail). Operation Temperer saw the army on the streets in peacetime. The EU violates our right to withdraw our consent to have a standing army in peacetime. Statute after statute have subverted the principles of Common Law. The list goes on and on. We lose everything if we do not realise we have a Constitution.

The Constitutional position is clear. We vote: they act. If they do not act as we voted: we petition the Crown (not the Queen: the sitting tenant monarch who draws her authority from our consent). The Queen can prorogue Parliament for good: until we get a government that will carry out our democratic will. If the Crown will nor act on our behalf: we get rid of the sitting tenant (as we have done six times before) and get a new monarch. Remaining in the EU constitutes perjury by the Queen and Treason for Parliament. For which her abdication is the only proper redress.

https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/lord-james-remaining-eu-will-constitute-perjury-queen

All this talk of Constitutional crisis stems from the fact that we have been intentionally misinformed about the Constitution. If we get informed: we can retain sovereignty.of the People. Then, if the People so choose: we can then decide what we want to do. By which time: the EU should have collapsed. In further deference of Lord James: absolutely no one – but him – has included EU Defence Union in the calculus of the Parliamentary debate. No one voted to cede our military to a non-leadership secondment to the EU. His ‘Black Vulture’ questions demand answers – so that we, the People, can decide in an informed manner (the absolute minimum requirement for a functioning democracy).

https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/lord-james-sets-out-what-we-will-lose-under-any-eu-deal

If we cede our authority – and forget that we have a Constitution that enshrines that sovereignty in Common Law – and let the likes of Ms Miller, Hale, and the other Parliamentarian authoritarians decide for us …we’re done as a sovereign force. A sovereign force most of us never knew we had. Nevertheless, we will miss it when it is gone and they suspend Habeas Corpus for dissidents, and assume the right to forfeit life to maintain the paramilitary police state. We are all Julian now.

Oliver
Oliver

Precedent: Alison Chabloz jailed. Thought crime.

Anticitizen one
Anticitizen one

Brilliant comment big b, I’ve been studying various documents that make up the English constitution for several years now. I feel that there has been a deliberate concealment of our constitution for many years. I’m not proud to admit, I had no idea of its existence until I was made aware of it by a lawful rebel. I had accepted life for what it was, votes made no difference, victimless crimes such as accidentally driving in a poorly marked bus lane resulted in hard to pay fines. Eagerly enforced by a police force unrecognisable from 30 years ago.

The concealing of our constitution seems like a power grab by the elite establishment, whose subjects remain blissfully unaware of the power they have available to them.

One good thing is the supreme courts use of the word unlawful in place of illegal. Are they acknowledging and using common law? A police officer stated to me that the common law was now repealed and no longer exists. This disinformation is accepted by the many and not the few.

10 out of 10 for your comment.

BigB
BigB

Essentially, the judgment was a non-judgment – a qualified opinion – in my reading. For further insight: I would watch UK Column tomorrow (Friday). They have already exposed the political affiliations of one Judge. They are looking at the others now: to air tomorrow.

Do not be surprised if it turns out that the judgment was anything other than politically leveraged hot air. They are not the Supreme: the highest court in the land …we are (as a jury of peers). We alone have the power – long usurped of course – to decide on matters lawful and unlawful – if necessary, overturning unlawful statutes (like the one that took us into the Common Market – the EU as it was then – in the first place. Essentially, all Law – directed by a foreign potentate – has been unlawful since then!)

Toby Russell
Toby Russell

We have a written constitution, yes, but that’s not enough. Things change, hence precedent. That the entire system has become corrupted despite our having a written constitution (that hardly anyone knows about) is clear evidence our written constitution isn’t enough. What, for example, does it have to say about consumerism and perpetual growth economics, husbandry of resources, etc.? Should it say something about those, and other things of that nature? How detailed should it be? Should it be so crystal clear that it cannot be open to interpretation? To me, that would not only be far too dictatorial, it would also be an impossible undertaking. Even the ‘crystal clear’ Ten Commandments failed on that point. Hence precedent; things change.

You suggest there’s a danger that “we’re done as a sovereign force”. What is a “sovereign force”? Were we ever a sovereign force? Has any people anywhere ever been such, even hunter-gatherer bands? They all have and had, as far as we can tell, very hierarchical cosmologies that sharply curtailed their ‘freedoms’ and ‘sovereignty’. Currently, my own reading of the “will of the people” is for more pizza, burgers, binging and booze, with holidays in the sun for the lucky ones, me above all. And if we enshrine ‘freedom’ in a constitution, as we should, to what degree do we defend those freedoms? What is freedom? We are not fully independent beings endowed with omnipotence and omniscience, there are constraints.

I suspect if we two, BigB, plus a select few like-minded others, were to sit down and pen a decent constitution, we wouldn’t find coming to agreement hard at all. But how many others of our fellow countrymen would like our creation, I wonder? As you repeatedly lament, only a tiny handful of people at this site, not to mention Out There, want to take biophysical, steady-state economics seriously. Creature comforts and conveniences are the freedoms the vast majority want to protect. Which means more of the same for the indefinite future, written constitution or not, brexit or not, etc. And what even is brexit, exactly? Did the people voting for it each have the exact same idea of what it means and how to effect it? The fact that the answer to that is No creates the legitimate space in which highly cynical and corrupt shenanigans can take place. And the location of the execution of those shenanigans must be Parliament, systemically speaking. How, practically, are those who voted for brexit to come together and insist that brexit happens when it is a flat out impossibility that they know/agree what brexit is? Widespread ignorance is an unavoidable consequence of extreme specialisation, and extreme specialisation is a necessity in a complex economy of tens of millions of souls. Basic observations, I know, but knotty ones nonetheless.

For us, as a people, to know and want to petition the queen to effect our will, We, The People first need to grow up and recognise that freedoms come hand in hand with adult responsibilities and civic obligations. But we have been rendered perpetual children by a cynical system, armed with exquisitely honed propaganda machinery, that sees us as pool of tax revenue, votes and potential cannon fodder. How things have evolved this way is a very complex matter, but they have evolved this way. Most of us want to believe, for example, that “sustainable growth” makes sense, wilfully choosing to ignore that “sustainable” means “perpetual” in this context. This is primarily because we want no change really, because fear of the unknown, because addictions, because ignorance, exhaustion, frantic lives, etc. This collective ignorance and fear deeply informs the character and quality of the will of the people. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, because evolution at this highly complex and vast scale is slow and patchy. Underneath all that systemically fostered fear is the very human desire for fairness and decency, of that I have no doubt. For it to find full voice and properly inform our will, we have to grow up away from fear and towards its opposite, love.

That’s how I see it, anyway.

All this taken into account, brexit is kabuki theatre, and so is the written constitution. For now, anyway.

BigB
BigB

Well, my friend, I share your concerns. In the broader terms: the lights will go it – due to our mismanaged economy – deal or no deal; Leave or Remain. On account of the economy being a bio-physical exergy economy – which only a few of the public and a handful of academics are aware. For everyone else: it is a frictionless perpetual motion engine of eternal growth – unhindered by reality. It is one of the grossest ill-informed underlying (hidden in capitalist cultural cognitive linguistics) base assumptions from which we suffer.

Even as the ideology of self changes (cognitive neuroscience; behavioural economics modifying Neo-Classical Economics – not necessarily for the better) – the basic premise of eternal economic growth goes on. Even as capitalism is collapsing (carnage in the repo markets indicate a 2007 redux – a dollar liquidity crisis. All we need is a Bear Stearns – Deutsche Bank?). And still we believe that the future will bring unlimited progress and growth.

This is purely mass hypnotic and the result of the culturally conditioned inculcation of Capitalist Realism. Brexit is essentially a dream vehicle. Essentially, as you know from studying psychology: we humans do not live in the moment (most of us). We live for a deferred idealised future reality. Everything we do is informed by and determined toward making our desired dreams come true. Which makes us poor negotiators of the short term landscape. We choose what optimises our dreams: which results in a ‘predictable irrationality’ (behavioural economics and Jordan Peterson have quite a lot to say about this).

In other words: Brexit is predicated on the false premises of eternal progress and prosperity – and whether the EU or some sort of idealised UK that has never existed outside of the collective imagination …whichever is deemed the best dream vehicle for the long term fulfillment of a wholly false set of expecations. Outside the mass hypnosis of hypothetic imaginations – the ECB itself has extended open-ended QE. It is underpinned by 13tn euros of junk bonds paying negative rates, the Bund is negative yielding …brute economic facts do not matter. Narrative construction toward a dream ending are what matters. We will do what we have to to keep the long term dream alive. Even if that means cannibalising all future resources in the short term – to feed the long term.

That is why we are presently blindsighted and short term irrational. Peterson calls the present ‘unbearable’ – a vehicle to be fashioned into the adequation of the long term dreams of fools (that’s not the way he puts it, I might add). Brexit is an imaginative device in the long term dream strategies of disassociated human beings. Not that I would necessarily say that in public.

Whatever the outcome: it will be false – because the parallel economic universe that fashioned the dream that fashioned the remedy is itself falsified by entropy. The mass hypnotic dream is just a dream. That will have to be made apparent by some sort of crash. Like the one that the accumulation of subjective choices of hallucinatory dreamers has baked into the system. As the system crashes – and the economic markers are clear that is underway – yet the dream goes on.

The Constitution: let’s not get carried away. The Great Charter is not a sacred text. It was all about robber barons reigning the power of the Divine Right of a villainous King. I do not suppose they gave a flying fuck about the People – they meant them. As did the purveyors of the Bill of Rights and the American Constitution (its near carbon copy). Both were meant to enshrine the rights and establish the privilege of slave owners and entitled thieves. All that social contract bollocks is to keep us quiet while they fuck us over. To which we have consented trans-historically – except for a few risings …which ended badly (in the gulag or gas chamber – Peterson again) and will be eternally weaponised against us. By which I mean: that as bad as communism, Nazism, and fascism undoubtedly were …capitalism is by far the worst political theory we have ever had. But still the dream goes on that it will deliver the ‘population mean’ of the adequated dream desires of the majoritarian fantasists. Some time never.

In the meantime – in a rare moment of Realpolitik – I thought I’d point out that they are weaponising our permanent distraction to nick our military. Which could be a rallying point to turn things toward humanism – the Humanist Turn we all secretly desire. If it goes viral in the ‘connected crowd’ of networked involuntary subjects (conscious agents that constitute each other) – then the Constitution becomes a useful tool. And we do not have many tools. We have been more or less totally depoliticised over the years. The Constitution is a bunch of dusty documents – relicts and artifacts of a forgotten world. But then, so is the Self – and that is not going out of fashion any time soon!

Needs must: the Constitution is an instrument – not a holy sacrament. If and when the People – humanity at large – take their authority and sovereignty from their true self …then we can write a new Constitution with our enlightened enactivism. In the meantime: the 800 year old self-preservation pratling of robber barons will have to do!

Toby Russell
Toby Russell

Agreed, with a caveat. I’m for a post-humanist, or better, post-anthropocentric turn. And a profound one at that.

But these things take time…

BigB
BigB

Agreed then, with a caveat. Naming conventions SUCK!

I’m studying ‘post-semiotics’ which is stupid enough. What it really is in the pantheon of Pythonesque ‘silly names’ is ‘post-post-structuralism’.

We can have a ‘post-humanism’ when we learn what it means to be human (for which ‘post-anthropocentrism’ is a reasonable adequation).

But what we really agree on is Life – and the live experience of it (which is the synchronicity of unfolding time itself).

[Life takes no time because it is always self-synchronous. When we enter time (the externaleity of space-time) we enter a ‘hypothesis space’ that can only ever approximate live experience. Life is not a hypothesis that can be experientially adequated by silly names!!!!!]

Antonym
Antonym

UKs lights will go out first of all thanks to XR, which you support.

BigB
BigB

Antonym:

The lights will go out because of our over-reliance on hydrocarbons – and XR are neither catalyzing that. Nor can they really reasonably hope to stop it.

What we will possibly never agree on is that the Buddha said the world was on fire 2,500 years ago (Fire Sermon). The climate capitalists did not see fit to bring this to our attention until this year. Now a little girl says the world is on fire.

If you strip away (bracket off) the am-dram histrionics and corporate endorsement of the message (determined toward their own ends) …then neither message is wrong. The world is on fire. Whether you take that literally to be the climate (which is a limited hangout): or you take it more broadly and in a metaphoric sense (the Buddha’s message …”The world is on fire: burning with the passion of greed; burning with the passion of hatred; burning with the passion of delusion”). Personally, I can find no fault in the message.

The world is on fire. It always has been. It always will be, unless we act to change it. To which: the climate has fuck all to do with. The lights will go out because capitalism is collapsing. But the fire will go on: because the mega-crisis we face is much more fundamental than that. We are the fire that consumes itself: until we decide to put it out.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker

Toby, that’s probably the best post I’ve ever read here or any other forum concerning the ‘Will of the People’ and Brexit. Thank you.

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour

Excellent post BigB, sums it up for me, unhappy people trying to subvert democracy.
It makes you wonder why they give us the vote if they don’t honour our rights.

Junaid

Azadi was standing at the door but the door was still closed. Jawaharlal and Sardar Patel were engaged in planning the integration of princely states.

Mahatma Gandhi: What is the Last word on Kashmir

George Cornell
George Cornell

“People all over the country are celebrating this ruling, but one can’t help but feel that comes from the perspective of not fully understanding what it could mean, down the line.”

Says Kit . Does anyone see any irony there?

Molloy
Molloy

Re. deception via attempted prorogation. Breach of constitutional (civil law) with prosecutable related and intended war crimes.

Illegal. Breach of criminal law.
Conspiracy to commit murder (war crimes ‘misconduct in public office’) by British State and obvious usual suspects and facilitators —including all current ‘cabinet’ and all red tories—explainer, pompous ‘prorogation’ = core element of conspiracy. To suggest a binary choice is simply shilling for the war crims.

Therefore both Illegal and Unlawful.

bob
bob

Spot on