It is New Year’s Day, 2020. The newspapers are replete with remarks about the way the last decade went. Few are unwise enough to make predictions about the way the coming decade will unfold. But hey ho. Someone has to do it.
Looking back at predictions that other people have made in the past, a couple of themes emerge. The first is that predictions of impending catastrophe almost always turn out to be groundless. There is obviously something about the human psyche which is attracted, in some way, to notions of terrible times ahead. And so if you are straining in your seats waiting for awful predictions, take a step backwards.
Secondly, even when predictions are more or less right, they tend to overestimate rates of change. By and large, things happen in the world pretty slowly, and probably rather more slowly than they did century or so ago.
Trying to keep these thoughts in mind, here is my brief time capsule, to be opened in 10 years’ time. It would be hopeless to expect that they will all be right.
My guess is that there will be Continue reading
When Brexit won the 2016 referendum, the flopsie remoaners complained that it was only because of lies. In particular, they focused on the Brexit campaign bus which gave the gross UK weekly contribution, when they thought it should have been the net figure, after deduction of what the EU spends in the UK.
Boris Johnson has just won a considerable majority in the general election. The flopsies will not like that at all. They will want to say the election was stolen by lies.
But this time, there is no very obvious bus.
My guess is that Continue reading
Clearly, UK politics is presently in something of a state of stalemate. It is 2-2.
On one side, we have the majority of the British people, and the British government, who want Brexit to happen. On the other side, we have the majority of Parliament and the courts, who do not want Brexit to happen. The Remainers in the House of Commons to not want to admit that they were lying through their teeth when they made their election promises to honour the result of the Brexit referendum, and so their policy is to obstruct and delay at every turn. The judges on the Supreme Court do not want to admit that they have now entered the political arena, but they will, if they possibly can, declare illegal anything the government does that gives effect to the democratic result of the 2016 referendum.
This wouldn’t be a problem, but for the Fixed Term Parliament Act. But for that ill-considered measure, there would be a general election by now, the Remainers would have been cleared out of Parliament and then it would be 3-1 for Brexit. Easy.
In the end, there will have to be a general election. Presumably, the Remainers are hoping that if they put it off long enough, the British economy will have been trashed, and the British people will have lost hope of ever gaining their freedom.
So maybe the government should chivvy things along a bit. The advantage that Parliament has is that it can, with the assistance of a conniving speaker, pass legislation to prevent any move towards Brexit. The advantage that the government has is that it has a huge number of powers, which it can exercise with machine-gun rapidity. The trick for the government will be to ramp up the fire rate. Here are some thoughts on what the government might do in the next Continue reading
One may safety say that Sir Oliver Letwin has brought the same world-wide regard for the dignity and respect of the UK as Sir Les Patterson brought to Australia.
Which is … Continue reading
A price that England has long paid for its openness and tolerance is that, when the country is under threat of foreign powers seeking to take over, there have been traitors who have engaged with those foreign powers.
The latest threat is of course from the EU, which is desperately seeking to retain and then expand control over the UK’s laws, waters, animals, trading arrangements etc etc.
Bizarrely, Dominic Grieve and others do not deny that they have been engaging with the EU behind the government’s back, to assist the EU in the bringing about such vassalage. They think that is perfectly fine!
It is not clear that they have a very good grasp of history. Happily for them, hanging (with or without the drawing and the quartering) has been abolished.
|Spain, under Philip
||Anthony Babington, hanged, drawn and quartered 1586
|France, under Napoleon
||Wolfe Tone, committed suicide 1798, having been sentenced to be hanged for treason
|Germany, under Kaiser Wilhelm
||Michael Collins, shot in an ambush 1922
|Germany, under Hitler
||William Joyce, hanged for treason 1946
A really thoughtful interview with Nigel Farage.
In summary, he is modest enough to admit that he really cannot be sure. But his best guess is that Brexit will lose the battle (no Brexit on 31st October) but will then win the war. i.e. a General Election and then a clean break Brexit will follow before long.
He is probably right. The fundamental point is, I think, this. The British people voted for Brexit in a vote that they were promised would be implemented. You might think that the EU is a corrupt neo-Nazi cabal of old-fashioned German industrialists and French farmers who mistreat their animals according to 18th century standards. You might think the EU is lovely. Either way, the country has spoken, and the country’s voice should be respected.
In the end, the people will Continue reading
I have noted before that the UK might discourage the EU from extending the Brexit agony by promising to veto all and any EU business it can whilst the UK is still a member. It is hard to see that it is good for the EU have a really stroppy member in its club. That is the stick.
The Telegraph leads with a story today that Hungary might veto any extension. That would do the trick of avoiding another damaging extension.
The cost of an extension is huge. Not only does it cost around £1 billion a month in direct costs; it is causing massive costs in terms of economic uncertainty. And of course the country loses the advantages of cheaper non-EU imports (food, clothes, footware etc) as long as EU-imposed tariffs are keeping those imports out. We all know that, for the plotters, this is not about “no deal”; it is about “no Brexit”. And so Tony Blair et al will have been scheming with the EU for a long extension, or perhaps one extension leading to another, and another and so on until we all give up on ever winning independence. The Surrender Act is designed to give the EU the power to impose as long an extension as they like.
It is not only British humans who suffer. The Dutch have deployed a massive trawler – the FV Margiris – in UK waters. It is said to be some 14 times bigger than the British trawlers which fish sustainably. This EU trawler now is seeking to extract as much fish as possible, killing many short-beaked dolphins (we like dolphins), bluefin tuna (they are endangered) and sea bass (they are overfished) on the way, in the next few weeks. Just in case the UK does achieve freedom from the EU on Continue reading
It 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. 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, Nigel Lawson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Daniel Hannan 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
The 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. 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:
- 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
There 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.
Three times, the President of the court, Lady Hale, denied that the case was political. 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