On Wednesday, September 11th, the BBC and most of Britain’s newspapers gleefully announced that a Scottish court had pronounced that Boris Johnson acted illegally and had misled the monarch in carrying out the routine prorogation of Parliament. Proroguing specifically to run out some business at the end of a parliamentary session was apparently completely acceptable when John Major did it in 1997 (to avoid being roasted over a scandal) and when Clement Attlee did it in 1948 (to stop the House of Lords manhandling his steel nationalisation bill) but scandalously “illegal” in 2019. In retrospect, Britain would be a better place now had Attlee’s damage of heavy industry and Major’s curiously quiet rise to power both been more closely examined in both Houses, but the point of precedent is that it’s regularly done, and it clearly isn’t even distantly illegal.
Neither was Major’s nor Attlee’s case for proroguing anywhere near as justified and democratically supported as Johnson’s. We might ask questions about the level of intellectual honesty (and intelligence) in the Scottish judiciary that enabled some appeals justices there to come to a judgment so self-evidently wrong in law. Their decision was already contradicted one day later, September 12th, by a Northern Irish court which in contrast appeared to actually have some legal knowledge. However, what’s more interesting is to step back and examine the bigger picture.
That bigger picture looks increasingly like a sustained, organised attack on British institutions, traditions, and independence. The gloves are now off.
Yet there has been such a long incubation period, half a century, to lull this country into a slumber of indifference that a significant section of the country hasn’t noticed it’s under assault and is being manipulated by the assaulters, presenting themselves as the real protectors. Slightly late in the day, some people with genuine authority and experience have started speaking some obvious truths: senior army officers, admirals, retired spooks. But they have to address the rest of us in a muffled voice through a co-opted media apparatus now largely bought out and staffed by young graduates whose entire schooling was pro-Brussels leftish indoctrination. Fearless old muck-racking scandal rags that used to be constant grit in the shoes of the governing classes, are being tamed and intimidated. Britain’s first serious press-control laws in centuries, passed in the wake of the “phone-hacking scandal” just a decade ago, came along with the death of The News of the World in 2011. This was a venerable ambulance chaser of a newspaper, regaling readers with naughty vicars, barmy baronets, and MPs with their hands in the till, for over a century and a half. The News of the World’s death was a warning to Britain’s other tabloid red-tops, just like the oddly professional assassination of some cartoonists and editors at France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine in 2015. Those coolly executed murders were supposedly carried out by Muslim jihadis (although real Islamists don’t usually wear masks while they kill for Allah).
The closure of The News of the World came two years after the 2009 Parliamentary expenses scandal where MPs and their lordships were found to have routinely run up frivolous personal bills on the public purse. One wonders if the closure of Redtop newspapers is cheered on because each tabloid’s death retires shrewd working-class reporters who left school early without a political-correctness training. The breathless excitement in the BBC at every apparent reversal for Johnson reveals clearly enough what that corporation now is.
Although Spain has explicitly said it would veto any Scots application to join the EU, some of our Caledonian cousins seem to genuinely believe that opposing Boris will lead to independence. This is despite the fact that a clear majority of Scots recently voted to remain in the UK. Despite the fact the EU does not wish, and cannot afford, to take on a new net-recipient nation. The preference by a minority of Scots for both leaving the UK and staying inside the EU gives their game away in embarrassing clarity: they’re actually running away from independence. As one sardonic fringe party in Hungary said on posters not long ago “We still like your money, Brussels!”
How many people see that the fleeing Scotsmen are fleeing? This statist leftist wedge of Caledonians are desperately trying to play both their sugar daddies off against each other. They hate London. They love Brussels because it isn’t London. But they’re incensed by the idea of giving up both sugar daddies and actually standing on their own feet. Likewise the almost uniquely government-dependent economy of heavily subsidised Northern Ireland. The reheating of Scots UDI and the Irish border non-problem are screeches of rage by two sullen but noisy minorities at being plucked from one of the two nipples, Brussels and London. Fury at the bloody stupid English with their preference for being free even if it brings the terrible threat of working a bit harder for a while.
That a Scottish court judgment calls a boisterously English prime minister a criminal who deceives the Queen, despite this having not the slightest relation to the legal facts, should surprise us no more than people who were talking about setting up an alternative rebel Parliament having the insolence to accuse their opponents of mounting a coup. This game of reversal is everywhere: the pro-Remain MPs talk of “holding the government to account” (as if it was trying to do something shameful such as oh, I don’t know – trying to reverse a referendum result).
It is the exact reverse. It’s the suspiciously stubborn and panicky Remain rearguard who must be held to account.
Time to open investigations into the real loyalties of MPs, civil servants, newspaper editors (since we’re apparently now allowed to put newspaper editors on trial for finding out things) and others who seem to have been part of a slow-motion putsch stretching back decades. MPs, journalists, bureaucrats, executives in major corporations have been pushing to reverse the three votes in 2016 and 2017 for three years now. All three votes confirmed Britain’s voters’ clear wish to detach from EU institutions.
As just one jigsaw piece in this decades-old putsch-by-stealth, was the final relinquishing of any remaining claims to German WW2 debt (already halved in 1953) by John Major’s government in any way connected to Major’s curiously effortless rise to power? Was Major’s refusal to put the Treaty of Lisbon, with its far-reaching empowerment of the euro-cartel, linked to his entry into Number 10?
After that investigation begins in earnest, the fixed-term election act must be repealed, along with all the changes Blair made to the House of Lords and the Lord Chancellor’s role. Once the British constitution of 1996 is restored in full, Gulliver will be less vulnerable to the sly, entangling red tape of the Lilliputian eurovillagers.
For the pushback from retired politicians and their young acolytes in the media has been sustained, shrill, intense, relentless. This now clearly goes far beyond “principle” or dogma. It can only be personal, almost certainly humiliatingly personal. Look how frightened the faces of people like Dominic Grieve and Yvette Cooper are. What are they so afraid the rest of us might find out? Why else could this charade still be happening, three years on?
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Mark Griffith is a financial trader whose weblog http://www.otherlanguages.org follows news on artificial intelligence, politics, economics, and other subjects. He is researching a book about whether AI will change how people live.