Brexit and Dictatorship
- Kamran Mofid
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Brexit: The Path to Tyranny and the loss of Moral and Spiritual Compass
Lord Neuberger: ‘Once you deprive people of the right to go to court to challenge the government,
you are in a dictatorship, you are in a tyranny.’
Photo: The New European
Lord David Edmond Neuberger (pictured above) was the former president of
the supreme court of the United Kingdom.
‘The government’s Brexit strategy is in danger of driving the UK down a “very slippery slope” towards “dictatorship” or “tyranny”, according to a former president of the supreme court.*
Addressing an online meeting of lawyers, Lord Neuberger on Wednesday evening condemned the internal market bill, which enables the government to breach international law and exempts some of its powers from legal challenge.
“Once you deprive people of the right to go to court to challenge the government, you are in a dictatorship, you are in a tyranny,” Neuberger told the webinar. “The right of litigants to go to court to protect their rights and ensure that the government complies with its legal obligation is fundamental to any system … You could be going down a very slippery slope.”
His comments came as the Scottish parliament at Holyrood voted by 90 votes to 28 against granting legislative consent to the Westminster bill. The Scottish National party, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat MSPs united to oppose the legislation; only Conservative MSPs supported it.
The vote will not prevent Boris Johnson’s government at Westminster from pushing through the internal market bill, but the Scottish constitution secretary, Mike Russell, said the Scottish parliament had “explicitly” and comprehensively rejected it.
The hastily assembled online panel opposing the bill, organised by the International Bar Association, included Lord Neuberger, the former home secretary and Conservative party leader Michael Howard, the former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC, the SNP justice spokesperson Joanna Cherry QC, Helena Kennedy QC and Jessica Simor QC.
All hoped the internal market bill would be defeated in parliament – overturned and fatally delayed by the House of Lords – rather than being challenged in the courts.
Cherry said she feared it would end up in the courts and the Scottish government might itself have to initiate legal proceedings against the Westminster government.
Neuberger warned that any hearing would “put the judges in a position where they are on a collision course with the government or are seen to be craven … [But] you have to sort out problems in court, if you don’t you have a civil war.”
Lord Howard told the online rally, which attracted more than a thousand participants, that he was “opposed to the clauses in the bill which breach international law”.
“I’m opposed because I think governments ought to keep their word and uphold treaties,” he said. “I hope this bill is defeated in parliament not in the courts.”
Grieve said not only did the bill breach international law, it contained an “ouster clause which goes to the heart of parliamentary democracy”, preventing the government being challenged over its actions. Rather than Brexit being “an assertion of sovereignty,” Grieve added, “it constitutes its undermining”.
*The above report by Owen Bowcott was first published in The Guardian on 7 October 2020
The Anglican church has publicly challenged the government’s
willingness to break international law over Brexit
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, is among the signatories to a letter stressing the
importance of the Good Friday agreement. Photo: The Guardian
'The UK’s archbishops chastised the government over Brexit. In a rare move, Britain’s five Anglican church leaders publicly warned of the “moral, as well as political and legal, consequences” of the government’s willingness to break international law by passing a bill that would override parts of the existing UK-EU withdrawal agreement.'-- UK archbishops urge ministers not to breach international law over Brexit
UK needs judges to limit government power, says Lord Kerr
Longest-serving supreme court justice says healthy democracy requires checks on ministers
‘The last thing the country needs is a government in which ministers exercise “unbridled power”, the UK’s longest serving supreme court justice has said.
In a forthright defence of the courts system, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, who stood down at the end of last month, said judicial checks on the government were part of a healthy democracy…’- Continue to read
'Patriotism' is the last refuge of a scandalous government
'The kind of war talk that helped get Brexit done is now proving useful
in managing No 10’s calamitous Covid strategy.'
‘A party that governs in the national interest does not hand out large untendered contracts to
the private sector, or barricade itself against the north of the country.’-Photo: The Guardian
‘Consider this rule of thumb: the more that “patriotism” is invoked by a country’s political elites, the less healthy its political culture will be. From McCarthyism in the US to the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the imperative to love one’s country has often been used as a pretext for persecution and submission. And in post-Brexit pandemic Britain, we have developed our own grammar of patriotic intimidation.
The Conservative government is well positioned to play this game. It is already high on the fumes of Brexit, which carried the Tories to a majority that would allow them to vanquish Europe, take back control and get the job done. The Vote Leave veterans in No 10 are already aware of how well the language of treachery and sabotage can turn a section of the public against its own judiciary and even elected representatives. The kind of war talk that helped secure Brexit is now proving useful in managing the government’s calamitous Covid strategy…’- Continue to read
'A HARD RAIN'
‘Johnson, Gove and Cummings Drive Britain Towards Elective Dictatorship.’
A poster in Kentish Town, north London, mocks Michael Gove, Dominic Cummings
and Boris Johnson. Photo: Tolga Akmen, via The Guardian
‘Britain is changing from a parliamentary democracy towards an elective dictatorship faster than people realise after Boris Johnson’s election victory.
The announcement that Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor, has quit is the most high profile indicator of a revolution that will be sweeping through Whitehall, Parliament and the courts over the next four years if Johnson, Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings get their way.
Sir Mark will have to be replaced, under Civil Service Commission rules, by another permanent or former permanent secretary – but the new National Security Advisor, David Frost, is currently leading the Brexit negotiations with the EU and is a committed Brexiter and darling of the Vote Leave movement.
Last week, the Prime Minister’s controversial chief advisor Cummings was reported to have warned that a “hard rain” would soon fall on the Civil Service.
What has not been noticed is that the vast majority of new Whitehall appointments are now going to business and data experts – part of Cummings’ revolution to bring in ‘disruptors’ and, in his words, “weirdos and misfits” into the heart of Whitehall.
The search for a new permanent secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) already involves a New York recruitment agency, Russell Reynolds, which states on its website: “The organisations that don’t disrupt themselves are the ones that will be disrupted...”-Continue to read
See a selection of related articles from the GCGI Archives:
After Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 recovery and discharge from hospital, I wrote him a public letter, pleading with him to change his ways and become A Man For The Common Good. As it happened, it was, nothing, but a wishful thinking on my part! He proved to me that, yes, indeed, leopards can never change their spots!
Dear prime minister now with your future actions you can prove, once and for all, that, yes, indeed, leopards can change their spots, and a man like you, can change his character and innate nature.
...and thus, he went on and gave us our long-awaited ‘Independence Day’, freeing us from tyranny, dictatorship, and colonisation!