Matt Frei is Leading Britain's Conversation.
8 November 2016, 16:08
Great Britain is hosting its own political comedy clownmageddon, because we do not want to be left behind in the world-wide race to the bottom of the sanity barrel.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, is investigating whether the assertions, fantasies, fables and bus signs made by the three Brexiteers and their cohorts amounted to "undue influence" in the run up to the referendum on the EU.
A complaint has been made by Professor Bob Watt, an expert in electoral law from the University of Birmingham.
Perhaps Professor Bob did not get the memo: this country has had its fill of experts and their so-called facts (see M. Gove for full details).
Professor Bob is concerned that the £350m figure that the Brexiteers said the EU is costing us was not true, nor was the assertion that Turkey was about to join and that every Turk that could put one foot in front of the other was preparing to make the crossing in whatever floatation device was at hand, to land at Dover to demand their unemployment benefits and their choice of local virgins.
He may have a point, but he doesn't have a case. Almost the whole country knew that those two things were made up and the people that did not know them to be false probably also did not know that there was a referendum to vote on, or where the EU was, or how to pronounce it.
The people that voted out, did so because they wanted the rule of law to be written by the British, for the British. They also wanted to re-assert the primacy of the British Parliament and of British courts.
You would think that they, and the right-wing press that whipped their readers into such a frenzy, would be delighted at the ruling by the three High Court judges that stated that the British Parliament should be allowed its say on the direction of the British nation.
If you do think that, then you would be wrong. You would be so wrong that I would doubt that you are British or that you had ever met a British person, or read a British newspaper.
The Daily Mail, in particular, had a cow. That three of the highest legal authorities in the land should do something so democratic as to invite Parliament to have an input into the running of the country made the veins on the Mail's forehead bulge and the blood vessels in its eyes burst.
It sought to impugn the character of the judges and went directly to type by outing one as openly gay.
Things have moved on since The Mail last checked its watch in 1955. The outing of a gay judge is not really news if he is already out, so they added that he is also an ex-fencer and Olympian, as though that was tantamount to goat fondling.
The other two judges stand accused of taking government money for their professional advice and of creating a European law group...in Europe!
The headlines ran the whole gamut from "Traitors!", to "Hang 'Em All".
I made those headlines up and added the quotation marks for spurious authenticity, but obfuscation seems to be the order of the day, so why not?
I know what you're thinking...who the hell do these bewigged nonentities think they are and just what the hell is the High Court when it is at home?
Well, it is the judicial body that has, in one way or another, been running the law of this great land for five centuries, and in its current form for about 150 years.
It is the stand-in for a written constitution in this country and it is our protector such that everyone is subject to the rule of law, whereby every person no matter who they are must obey it. There is no leniency for a person because of their peerage, sex, religion or financial standing.
That is the theory anyway, that the law applies to everyone, even if you are an eager Prime Minister, keen to get on with trying to fashion a victory out of the enormous turd sandwich that your predecessor gifted you.
In their demented reaction to a very simple verdict, the papers and the people that rely on them for forming their opinions, might have missed the point that the ruling was not to stop Brexit, it was just a point of law that you can not rescind an Act of Parliament by use of the Royal Prerogative. Only Parliament can do that.
The Royal Prerogative is the method by which the Queen can throw out or have changed any proposed law that she does not like the look of. She has done this many times before, to almost no coverage in the papers whatsoever. It is as though her very real power to shape our laws is a secret.
Some of the laws she has objected to have been ones that might impact on her income. That is the way with British democracy - we can have our say but not where it might inconvenience our unelected Head of State.
The Queen can not cancel an Act of Parliament that already exists. Nor can her Prime Minister do that in the Queen's name.
The little thing that stopped that was the English Civil War. It was in all the papers. You would have thought Mrs M would have heard of it.
The three High Court judges, Larry Curly and Moe, know of that skirmish and their ruling was simple confirmation of a principle that has been in place for about 400 years.
That Mother Theresa, nor her phalanx of hangers on, advisors, shoe polishers and lickspittles, did not know that is a little scary.
Theresa May is appealing. Oh yes she is - to the Supreme Court.
Some of her fellow Brexiteers are suggesting that she hold a snap election, making the triggering of Article 50 (the starting gun on the process of leaving the EU) an election pledge.
If she won, the thinking goes, her MPs would never vote against it because it was a solemn election promise.
This would be bound to work, because as you know, no manifesto pledge has ever been broken before in the entire history of the Mother of all Parliaments.
We should all be thanking Donald Trump for his efforts to become the next President of the United States of America. Without him, the world would all be laughing at US.