Bye Bye Boris, Bye Bye Britain

The decent thing to do would be to resign, so that’s not going to happen.

The fact that our un-elected Prime Minister lied to our un-elected Monarch has sent the legal fraternity into a state of unbridled joyous frenzy, and the ruling that Prorogation was unlawful is a victory for parliament.

But before we get too misty-eyed about the state of the Soon to be Unleashed Britannia, we should remember that everything remains fundamentally broken.

Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna pouncing on the idea of a ‘national government’ led by some old dude of their choosing, the Liberal Democrats rejecting both liberalism and democracy, the Labour Party collapsing in front of another open-goal, are all signs of a political class split between hopeless opportunism and venal, barely legal black ops.

Some – see Martin Kettle here – have even used the fiasco as an example of how wonderful the Precious Union is.

So what now?

Frothing at the mouth, the Brexit Brigade are descending on the aforementioned legal fraternity, expect much ‘Enemies of the People’ rhetoric and the attempt to dox smear and traduce anyone who doesn’t pass some mythical loyalty test.

Expect centrist Britain to coalesce around some totemic myths about the ‘Rule of Law’, the Mother of All Parliaments and John Bercow as some progressive force.

Parliament re-convening doesn’t solve our deep-seated constitutional crisis all it does is point tv cameras at it.

The overall effect of this rolling constitutional crisis is to not undermine but reveal the structural weakness of British democracy: the pivotal role of the monarchy in this weakness; the complete lack of checks and balances; and the centralised power of any Prime Minister, elected or not.

Oh for the days of stability under Prime Minister May.

All of this should inform not just a massive vote for independence, but the need to create a contemporary Scottish democracy, not replicate the failed structures and institutions of the regime we’ll be shortly leaving.

Comments (14)

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  1. Graeme Purves says:

    Dear old Martin Kettle! He was bidding a fond farewell to the precious Union only two-or-three weeks ago.

    1. Welsh Sion says:

      A fine fish of kettles is our Martin! 😉

  2. Shahid Sayeed Khan says:

    Hear hear

  3. Donald McGregor says:

    It’s almost a truism that the judgement can be broadcast as a triumph for the power of the union to bring ‘true’ judgement on complicated matters.

    In our favour, it’s likely to inflame the brexit brigade as it would never have got to this at all if it wasn’t for those pesky jocks! Get rid of them!
    Let’s all cross fingers!

  4. squigglypen says:

    Aye the Scots did it ( not Jo )….but I ask myself why we bothered..we should be marching off to the tune of UDI and not saving the British constitution..I’m sure the English could manage at least that by themselves….what! they didn’t !…well you do surprise me….too busy getting their British Empire set up again I’ll warrant….but you’ll need those verminous Scots to do your dirty work……darn it! (laughter offstage)

    1. Michael says:

      Just go through the stages of UDI one by one. Let’s hear it. And tell us in detail how it’s a better option than dismantling and exposing the British state by clever and careful actions like this one.

      1. squigglypen says:

        You’re right ..we should spend the rest of our lives exposing the murky depths of Westminster…. and not get on with Independence for Scotland..how could I have missed that….back to the asylum for me….

    2. Frank says:

      Now that the UK Supreme Court is involved in constitutional matters a UDI would prove interesting. No doubt some resentful Unionist would take the Scottish Government to the SC and have UDI declared ultra vires and hence unlawful. Who would be smirking then I wonder? You can’t applaud the law when it favours you then complain when it works against you. Interesting times ahead.

  5. SleepingDog says:

    Yes to all this, and to keeping the spotlight on the UK constitutional swamp where monsters lurk in the dark depths; but also putting shoulders to the wheel of a UK constitutional reform process can only help an Independent Scotland. Would you want to be neighbours to this?

  6. florian albert says:

    The victory, which the Supreme Court gave the Commons today, may prove to be a pyrrhic one. There is little or no sign that it will use the restored time to any positive purpose.
    As Vernon Bogdanor has written in the Guardian and elsewhere, Parliament has acted in an entirely negative way. It has rejected the government’s key policy but failed to do anything else.
    If a restored Parliament continues to achieve nothing, its failure will be be greatly magnified.
    Since the Commons can neither support the government nor successfully propose an alternative, a new election seems the only way that might break the impasse.
    Of course, the Commons rejected that too.

    1. MBC says:

      That is superficially how it appears. But remember, Parliament was kept at bay and that’s been the whole problem. The vote involved the entire country not just the Tory party but parliament hasn’t been allowed the time it needs to get over both its own internal divisions and come to a consensus about a highly complex problem. From the very start, there should have been a cross party committee looking at this, looking at whether we should respect the advisory vote; debating what it meant, and what we want to negotiate, but Theresa May insisted she had the sole right to negotiate, claiming prerogative powers. It took Gina Miller to take the government to court for it to allow parliament a say. Then that say was reduced to a ‘meaningful vote’ once Theresa May had negotiated her deal along her red lines, and then the date of the meaningful vote was put off and put off while she ran down the clock. The whole Tory gambit was designed to limit parliamentary scrutiny claiming prerogative powers, but for the country to come together and get out of this mess, it’s obvious that it needs plentiful time for debate and discussion beyond party political structures.

      1. florian albert says:

        ‘Parliament was kept at bay’

        Parliament, as Vernon Bogdanor also pointed out, is not capable of negotiating a treaty. Jeremy Corbyn agrees, saying the he, as PM, would negotiate a better deal. In the USA, this is made explicit in the Constitution.

        Parliament has had a say, more than once. Unhappily, it is a negative say. There is no majority in the Commons except for kicking the can further down the road.

        When Parliament re-assembled yesterday, opposition MPs could not get beyond denouncing Boris and demanding that he apologize/resign. Having gone to such lengths to have Parliament restored, I suspect many voters will question whether it was worth the effort.

        With regard to ‘time for debate and discussion’, we have had three years and there is depressingly little sign that further time will be used positively.

  7. Gavin says:

    Did I watch the “English 6” with no mention of Scotland or the Scottish Supreme Court verdict?
    Yes, I think I did.
    For many media outlets (like Corbyn) it seems an affront to acknowledge another legal jurisdiction in the U K.

    1. Jo says:

      Yes, the Guardian had a big spread about how Gina Miller has now taken on the Supreme Court twice, and won.

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