Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Dangle the PM on a Political Piece of String

As I once discovered in a local land dispute, when a court rules the axe comes down. There are real winners and real losers.

The judgment of the Supreme Court is an axe that came down with a thud. It is reassuring too.

The The Inner House of the Scottish Court of Sessions had established the facts, so the only question (as in the English judgment) was whether the Court had any role to play at all. Once it did assert this, the result was likely to go against the Government.

Let's be clear. This is a matter about the Monarch power as held by the Prime Minister, and the Court referred to as far back as 1611 of the Court holding the King to law. Obviously, on this matter, 'The Glorious Revolution' - the removal of James II - was the definitive beginning of Constitutional Monarchy.

As I learnt from the advocacy of Aiden O'Neill, Parliament could not legislate proroguing into Statue Law (as has happened with calling a General Election) because it required the Monarch's consent to take it into a Bill for Parliament to debate and enact. The Monarch's consent means the Prime Minister's consent. Let's be clear: the Monarch is not some Constitutional guarantee, but just does as is told by the Prime Minister in Cabinet and in the person of the Prime Minister.

However, the Court rule is that the Monarch is under Law. Imagine it otherwise: not just that he could prorogue Parliament again, but that he could do anything where his powers derive from the Monarch.

So what is next. Truly, he should resign. Ordinarily, he should be forced into a General Election. But the latter dissolves Parliament, and the Government under him continues - changing the date of a General Election might be subject to a Supreme Court check but it might be a convention-breaking act that he succeeds in doing. Best then that, regarding Boris Johnson, being cornered and neutered, Parliament now does its work and makes sure the Government applies for the extension if there is no deal.

He may present a deal that Parliament rejects; Parliament then may have to reassert the necessity to apply for an extension. Did I hear that a member of the Cabinet thinks he ought to resign? Did another say he should change strategy fundamentally?

As for resignations, the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, ought to go, because he said such a prorogation was legal and the opposing view was 'political', and so should the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who acted for the Government alone rather than represented Parliament to the Government. He took the trip to Balmoral for the Constitutional method of telling the Queen to sign the Order in Council.

Boris Johnson was, and is not, fit to be a Prime Minister. His remarks in New York indicate this, as he babbles on in a diversionary fashion. He is not Napoleon. His actions come under the Law in his use of Monarchic powers. He is unfit to govern by his very comments beyond the Court's judgment - he disagrees. Who cares whether he disagrees or not?

He should be told to resign, and he should, but if he doesn't he should be hung on a piece of string until the extension is secured. Then we have a General Election. Some will want a referendum first: would he offer one with a deal he brings back? That would be clever, but he is bombastic and his 'do or die' is likely to be 'die' for his actions.

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