A tyranny of judges

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a vile assault on the democratic order.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Brexit Politics UK

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Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a vile assault on the democratic order. In finding that Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament was unlawful, and that parliament is not prorogued, the 11 justices have made an explicitly political decision in favour of the Remainer elite. They have taken sides. Ignore the utterly unconvincing pleas of the Remainer fanatics who brought this case, all of whom robotically insist that this is not a political decision, just a legal, constitutional one. No one is buying that. This was a decisively political act by 11 unelected judges who have taken sides against the government of the day, and this opens up a new, dark era in British political life.

What we have seen emerge via this judgement is a borderline tyrannical layer in British politics. A layer that stands above everyone and everything, including the government itself. A layer of unrepresentative, unaccountable individuals who have now presumed the authority to strike down actual government decisions. This instantly weakens any future government’s claim to moral and political authority and their basic ability to relate to parliament, to negotiate treaties, and to act on the will of the people. The precedent set today is that any of that might potentially be subject to the higher, apparently wiser judgement of politicised courts. It is an outrage.

It is staggering just how political, how uninhibited, the judgement was. Even Remainer fanatics are shocked by the extent to which the court took their side against the government (and ultimately against the people, whose vote to leave the EU these fanatics are seeking to overthrow). The justices said the prorogation is unlawful and no longer exists and suggested therefore that parliamentarians may reconvene as and when they please. It was an implicit invitation to the Remainer Parliament to continue its frustration of Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans and of Brexit more broadly. The Speaker of the House, the hardcore Remainer John Bercow, wasted no time in responding. Parliamentarians ‘must reconvene without delay’, he said. Bercow, loather of Brexit and usurper of parliamentary custom, has now effectively been put in charge of politics in this country. Good news for the Remainer elite; terrible news for anybody who truly believes in democracy.

Democracy – incredibly, some of the Remainer elitists who supported the Supreme Court case claim this is what they are fighting for. Gina Miller, the wealthy woman who brought the case, and others outside the court – Caroline Lucas, Anna Soubry, Jo Maugham – all insisted that this was a simple, non-political defence of parliamentary sovereignty against an overreaching executive. Do they really think we’re that stupid?

These people despise Brexit. They have devoted themselves to stopping it. They are against enacting the democratic will. In expecting us to believe their legal case wasn’t political, they expose what a low opinion they have of the people of this country. Millions will see this case, and the judgement, and know instantly that it will not do anything whatsoever to defend democracy, parliamentary or otherwise, but rather will enable the Remainer Parliament to continue thwarting democracy and silencing the people’s voice. At least voters now know what they are up against: virtually every institution in the land, including the law itself, all of which are lending their considerable power to the Remainer elite’s anti-democratic, anti-people project.

This judgement is a disaster for law and for politics. It’s bad for law because it will convince many more people that the law has become a political instrument, wielded by the wealthy to achieve openly political ends that they failed to achieve in the public, democratic sphere. And it is bad for politics because it points to the formation of a new politicised but untouchable elite which has power over the entire nation and everyone in it. That should terrify anyone who believes in real democracy. When the Daily Mail accused judges of behaving like enemies of the people, the Remainer elites went into meltdown. Our message to them today is clear: if you don’t want to be called an enemy of the people, stop behaving like one.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty images.

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Topics Brexit Politics UK


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