Monthly Archives: September 2019

Brexit & Global Warming: Gnostics v Faithful

GnosticIt has been remarked that there is some commonality between those who advocate for British independence from the EU (Brexit) and those who are sceptical about climate change alarmism.[1] The point might equally be put the other way around: that the more likely someone is to believe in the UK’s continued partipation in the EU project, the more likely that person is to believe in impending disaster resulting from anthropogenic global warming.

What is the link between these concepts? It is an interesting question, and the answer is by no means obvious. Certainly, it is the case that a number of the sharpest minds in Britain today (Matt Ridley[2], Nigel Lawson[3], Jacob Rees-Mogg[4] and Daniel Hannan[5] to name a few) – let us call them the Gnostics – are in favour of Brexit, and are also sceptical about the beliefs of the climate change lobby. But then again, there are also Continue reading

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Supreme Court – All out!

SCUKThe decision by the government of Tony Blair to puff up the judicial committee of the House of Lords into the new Supreme Court a few years ago might well have been a mistake.

Views vary as to whether it should, the other day, have ventured onto new political ground.[1] What is not in serious dispute is that it has ventured onto that new political ground. The judgment of the court claims that there is nothing wrong with that. It includes this:

  1. Secondly, although the courts cannot decide political questions, the fact that a legal dispute concerns the conduct of politicians, or arises from a matter of political controversy, has never been sufficient reason for the courts to refuse to consider it. As the Divisional Court observed in para 47 of its judgment, almost all important decisions made by the executive have a political hue to them. Nevertheless, the courts have exercised a supervisory jurisdiction over the decisions of the executive for centuries. Many if not most of the constitutional cases in our legal history have been concerned with politics in that sense.

This last sentence may be doubted. Certainly, it is contrary to the views of the Lord Chief Justice and the other members of the Divisional Court as expressed in Miller, R (On the Application Of) v The Prime Minister Continue reading

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Before The Cock Crow, Thou Shalt Deny Me Thrice

SCThere are a lot of lawyer jokes. And sometimes I do feel a bit queasy about what my professional colleagues do. But I do not think I have ever felt ashamed of being a lawyer as I did when I read the judgment of the Supreme Court in Miller v Prime Minister.[1]

Three times[2], the President of the court, Lady Hale, denied that the case was political.[3]  Few will believe that denial. Clearly, the proceedings were brought for a political purpose, and the judgment against the government is clearly part of a determined reluctance by the British establishment to give effect to the democratic results of the Brexit referendum in 2016.

The Supreme Court was wrong on all three elements of its judgment: Continue reading

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Scared, or Scary?

cat in microwave 2What little Greta Thunberg had to say to the UN’s, is like her other utterances, complete tosh. Children are not being murdered by greedy industrialists. There are no entire ecosystems which are collapsing. We are not experiencing any mass extinction.

But here’s a question. Is she genuinely scared witless? Or is she a manipulative little vixen?

It might be a mixture of the two, of course. But it is hard not to believe that there might be a fair bit of the latter. Not all manipulative children suffer from Aspergers Syndrome, but it appears to be well documented that children suffering from Aspergers are particularly likely to indulge in manipulative behaviour. As noted by Continue reading

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Heathers

My younger daughter Lucy Fenwick Elliott has done a great job directing Heathers: The Musical, which has now been well reviewed. It will not be long, hopefully, before she is directing films again.

A fair old enterprise, to judge by the size of the squad:

full squad

Unsurprisingly, I am very proud of her.  A very clever daughter.

Meanwhile, my older daughter – journalist and Senior Content Editor at The Telegraph  Annabel Fenwick Elliott – is in the Californian desert, writing up her forthcoming book. And stranded there, for the moment, by the collapse of Thomas Cook. Very proud of her too.

 

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Eton Mess

etonThe Labour Party is threatening (again) to attack public[1] and other feepaying schools. In particular, they propose to make it more difficult for pupils from such schools to get to university, and to remove buildings and playing fields from such schools.

There is a good point about inequality in education. It would be sensible for the best education to be given to the brightest children, not the children of the parents with the most money[2]. But how to go about this?

The Labour Party approach is to destroy the best schools. A much better approach would be to make the best schools more available to the most promising children, regardless of the means of their parents.

Attacks tend to be focused on Continue reading

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An Unacceptable Loss of Life

Obviously, for anyone with eyes to see and a willingness to make some enquiries, Greta Thunberg is delusional. In her speech to the U.S. Congress this week. She said:

Even at 1 degree of warming we are seeing an unacceptable loss of life and livelihoods.

Utter piffle. The truth is the exact opposite, as the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) data shows. Actually, the figures are like this:

Lomborg Global Deaths from Climate and non-Climate Catastrophes, 1920-2018 (Figure 7)

It is perhaps hardly surprising that Greta does not know better. She is a child, she has been skipping school and she has mental health issues. But she is being steered by Continue reading

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Silence and Tears

byroDipping into Byron is a mixed pleasure. There is a lot of pointless guff that is barely better than doggerel, and then there are some jewels. The other day I came upon this bitter-sweet poem (well, it is like a song lyric, really), which I had not read for many years, and had forgotten. I could set it to music. Except that the last time I did that – to We’ll No More Go A-Roving – Leonard Cohen promptly copied me with his own version.  Well, it is too late for him to do the same with this one:

When we two parted
   In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
   To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
   Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
   Sorrow to this. Continue reading

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Rampant North of the Border

Lion of Scotland.jpgIt is extraordinary that we now have two conflicting judgments on the validity of the Queen’s prorogation of the UK Parliament. The High Court in England has decided that the prorogation was not judiciable. But shortly after that, in Scotland, the Inner House (an unfortunate name for a court perhaps, as just a little too redolent of a hidey hole for a traitor of the papist variety) decided the opposite, declaring the prorogation unlawful. The summary provided by the court indicates that Lord Drummond Young thought that:

The circumstances, particularly the length of the prorogation, showed that the purpose was to prevent such scrutiny. The documents provided showed no other explanation for this.  The only inference that could be drawn was that the UK Government and the Prime Minister wished to restrict Parliament.

Well. Pretty much every loyal English man and woman will conclude that the only inference to be drawn from this extraordinary intrusion of the law into politics is that the judges of the Inner House wished to restrict the implementation of the result of Continue reading

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Plan B

TuskI have posted earlier today about the possibility that the Surrender Bill might not receive the Royal assent tomorrow. Such an event is not the only circumstance in which the democratic will of the British people – to leave the EU – might be achieved. It might also be achieved if the EU decline to grant any further extension, in which case the UK leaves the EU on 31st October.

The Surrender Bill contains the form of a draft letter which the Prime Minister is supposed to write to Donald Tusk by 19th October.[1]

The Surrender Bill does not prohibit the Prime Minister from other communications with Donald Tusk, and the prospect of EU declining to grant an extension (and thus seeing the back of the UK out of the EU at the end of October) might be enhanced if, in the meantime, the Prime Minister were to write to Donald Tusk along the following lines: Continue reading

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