If the judges feel victimised, they have only themselves to blame

I will admit that when I first heard the news that our High Court judges had ruled that Article 50 had to go to Parliament, my instinct was to reach for a copy of Shakespeare’s Henry VI to check that the correct quote really is Jack Cade: “Let’s kill all the lawyers”.*

On reflection, however, I thought that this might be a tad harsh.

Then I began reading some of the comments being rushed out by the usual suspects.  “A strong independent judiciary is essential to a functioning democracy and to upholding the rule of law,” said the Bar Council. Anna Soubry MP said that criticising the judges “is inciting hatred”. Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, said “The last time we saw things like this was in places like Nazi Germany, in Zimbabwe.”

Strong words.

Wrong words.

In fact, the judges have only themselves to blame for the attacks that they have been suffering over this ruling.

There was a time when judges were Olympian figures who sat in robes of red, bedecked with wigs and handed down magisterial judgments on what the law meant. They did not get mixed up in current affairs and eschewed politics with commendable impartiality. In return for this self-restraint their views and opinions on the law were treated with deference and respect.

But these days judges seem to think that they should get involved with politics. Most of us now know that Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd, one of the judges who ruled on the Article 50 case, is a founding member of European Law Institute, which works towards the “enhancement of European legal integration”.

Some lefties would say that what Baron Thomas does in his own time is not our business. But what judges do when they are on the bench most certainly is our business. For decades now judges have been using their positions and powers not to interpret the law, but to make it. They have interpreted old laws to mean what they think they should mean, not what they actually do.

Take the obscure 1975 Inheritance Act. That had a provision allowing a will to overturned if it failed to “make reasonable provision” for a child. Last year the Appeal Court ruled that this meant a will could be overturned even if the “child” was 47 years old and the parent had made it very clear that she wanted no money at all to go the estranged daughter.

And “judicial review” no longer turns on whether a decision was made properly and legally. It now hinges on whether the judges think it was a good decision – not the same thing at all. Of course the judges don’t have to live with the consequences.

As for the Human Rights Act, don’t even get me started.

The judges have chosen to enter the political fray, but now squeal that they should be treated as above politics.

“Too late, chum,” as Great Uncle George used to say.

Rupert Matthews is a freelance writer and historian. This is the first of a series of articles he will be writing for this website. During the recent EU Referendum campaign he served as Campaign Manager for Better Off Out and spoke at meetings from Penzance to Aberdeen, Belfast to Dover. Rupert has written over 100 books on history, cryptozoology and related subjects. He has served as a councillor for 8 years and has stood for both the Westminster and European Parliaments. You can follow Rupert on Twitter at @HistoryRupert or on Facebook as rupert.matthews1.

* The quote is, in fact, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” and is said by Dick the Butcher, not by Jack Cade himself.

Peer says UK is no longer a democracy of the people

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)                                                                                          

News Release

3rd November 2016


High Court Judgement a ‘body blow to Brexit’ says Peer

“The UK is no longer a democracy of the people”

The Independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, has described the ruling by three High Court judges that the decision to trigger Article 50 must be voted on by Parliament as “a body blow to Brexit which confirms that the United Kingdom is no longer a democracy of the people because their decisions can be overruled by an arrogant, self-serving elite.”

Lord Stoddart, added:  “If the decision of the British people had been to remain in the EU, I am certain there would have been squeals of horror and outrage from this same arrogant elite, if the leavers had gone to the courts to set aside a clear decision of the electorate.  The legislation that prepared the way for the referendum passed both Houses and on 23rd June the British people gave the Government unambiguous instructions to withdraw our country from the European Union. This could now be ignored. Our democracy is in serious trouble.”

 

A Deeply Troubling and Wrong-Headed Decision

This was the comment from Lawyers for Britain about yesterday’s court ruling:-

When it comes to using the prerogative for “less Europe”, there are implied imitations which do not seem to exist for “more Europe”.

On 3rd November 2016 the Divisional Court handed down its judgment in R (Miller) V- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin). The court has, to the surprise of most informed observers, decided that it is outside the prerogative powers of the Crown for notice to be given under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union to withdraw from the European Union.

In reaching this decision, the judgment has overturned the accepted understanding about the respective power of the Crown on the international plane to accede to and withdraw from international treaties, and the powers of Parliament to alter the internal law of the United Kingdom.

The European Communities Act 1972 was a constitutional innovation for the United Kingdom. It linked international treaties directly to the internal law of the United Kingdom by giving the European Treaties and supranational legislation made under them so called “direct effect.” That means that they have force in UK internal law – and therefore alter the content of the law – without recourse to Parliament.

The judgment argues that this feature of the 1972 Act means that the Crown has no power to withdraw from the EU treaties, because doing so would have the effect of altering domestic law, which only Parliament can do.

This argument is illogical and does not hold water. There are many acts which the government can carry out on the international plane under the European treaties which have the effect of altering UK domestic law, and in doing so either confer rights on people or deprive them of rights.  Whenever the UK representative on the Council of Ministers joins in passing into law a directly applicable EU Regulation then the Crown in using the prerogative power to alter internal UK law without that alteration of the law going through Parliament.  This is simply a consequence of the direct effect machinery of the 1972 Act.

So why should it be OK to have “more Europe” through exercise of the prerogative power, but wrong to have “less Europe” as a result of Article 50 being invoked and the direct effect parts of EU law ceasing to apply within the UK?  Nothing in the wording of the 1972 Act supports such a distinction.

There is a further reason why this decision flies in the face of the obvious intention of Parliament. The Lisbon Treaty, which inserted Article 50 into the Treaty on European Union, was given effect in UK law by the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008. That Act therefore made the Article 50 power available for use by the Crown but did not specify that its exercise would need the approval of Parliament. That Act however explicitly provides for Parliamentary control over certain prerogative acts under the EU treaties, including Article 49 on Treaty revision. But notably, the statutory scheme of Parliamentary control of prerogative power does not extend to notifications under Article 50.

There has a been a long string of attempted challenges to the use of the prerogative power to extend EEC or EU powers, all of which have been rejected by the courts, sometimes in peremptory terms. However, when the prerogative is used to achieve “less Europe” in order to implement the decision of the British people which an Act of Parliament empowered them to take, it is suddenly found that there are implied limitations on the prerogative power which prevent it being used for this purpose.

We welcome the decision of the government to appeal from this judgment. We hope that the Supreme Court will apply the law in a more orthodox and logical way, allowing the government to fulfil its promise to the British people to implement their clear decision.

Martin Howe QC

Thomas Sharpe QC

Clive Thorne

Francis Hoar


The People v the Judges

Comment on High Court Judgment of 3 November 2016, preventing the government from giving notice to quit the European Union without consent of Parliament.

non – judicial authority cited

Professor Vernon Bogdanor: “The referendum (on Britain’s membership of the EU) gives us a form of constitutional protection – perhaps the only form of constitutional protection for a country without a written constitution – in which Parliament is sovereign and can do what it likes. The EU referendum shows how the sovereignty of the British people can now trump parliament”.

                                                   —————————-

It was one of the cleverest strokes of those who took us into the EEC in 1972 to invent a sort of mutated, cancerous form of parliamentary sovereignty in order to destroy the essence and reality of that sovereignty and to make  Queen, Lords, Commons and People into subjects of a foreign power, now the European Union.  Ministers who, as Privy Counsellors,  had assented by their most solemn oath to maintain the sovereignty of the Crown against all foreign powers whatsoever, initiated, maintained and deepened that subjection over forty years. The people have now democratically and finally rejected this process.

The judges of the High Court have shown their contempt for the verdict of the people and have accepted the arguments of those trying to delay and frustrate the deliverance of this country from its subjection, by insisting that the government cannot execute the people’s decision without first seeking parliamentary approval.

It appears that their ground is indeed based on the European Communities Act 1972. The nub of their decision is in section 92 of the judgment “ ….we consider that it is clear that Parliament intended to legislate by this Act….in such a way that this could not be undone by Crown prerogative”.

 This judgment can only confirm suspicions that ill-intentioned people in positions of power are attempting to subvert the democratic vote.  We hope that the judges of the Supreme Court will recognise the will of the people and the expressed will of Parliament itself in the European Union Referendum Act 2015.

An Italian businessman is thinking of moving his business here!

(With thanks to CIB Committee member, Rev Philip Foster, who spotted this letter in the 31st October Daily Telegraph)

Sir

As an Italian businessman, I am seriously considering moving my business to the UK after Brexit.

The EU has proved to be a disaster for Italy, with youth unemployment at 45 per cent, a stifling taxation system, plummeting property values, and (according to official statistics) national unemployment at more than 12 per cent.

Many in Italy look to Brexit with the hope that it will be the beginning of a new era, in which democracy wins over bureaucracy and arrogance.

Viscardo Paganelli
Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Photo by Davide “Dodo” Oliva

Remainiacs have moved their goalposts!

While the official Leave campaign faced much flak – both during and after the campaign – for giving misleading information, the Remain campaign was no better.

This scathing article exposes their hypocrisy. The author compares current statements from hard-core remainers with the things they were saying during the campaign.  The cusp of the author’s argument is that  Open Britain, which is what the failed Britain Stronger in Europe has now become, is arguing that leaving the Single Market would be a disaster. A few months ago, on the other hand, they were saying that leaving the EU would be a disaster. In other words, adopting the exit strategy they are now throwing their weight behind, would mean there need not be any economic damage from withdrawal. This isn’t what they were saying in the run up to June 23rd.  To quote:-

For top Remainers the EU referendum was never about economics. It was about their craven desire to live in an amorphous internationalist blob where the nation state is fatally undermined and the strongest level of government and identity reforms at the European level. That’s what they wanted but couldn’t say in public. And so instead they falsely equated the EU with the single market in an attempt to scare low information voters and assorted unthinking lefties that voting for Brexit inherently meant economic doom.”

We must be thankful that most remainers, including Labour MPs, have accepted the result of June’s vote but it would be very good news if they were prepared to admit that they were at the time deliberately diverting attention away from the EEA/EFTA option which they are now ardently embracing. From David Cameron downwards, they all knew that this exit route would take us out of the political union, preserve our trade links and – most importantly – be a far more popular option than continued EU membership.

Furthermore, this implicit admission shoots dead any idea of a second referendum. If erstwhile hard-core remainers are admitting that the EEA/EFTA  exit route really isn’t too bad, they would be laughed out of town if they tried to crank up Project Fear again. Thankfully, the goalposts have moved; the debate is no longer about in or out, but rather about the best route out. For this, we must be thankful.

Photo by grassrootsgroundswell