On Tuesday, something remarkable happened. Brandon Lewis, a British Government minister, stood up in the House of Commons and announced that the Johnson administration which blights us all is preparing to break the law “in a specific and limited way”.
You try that the next time a polis stops you for speeding. “Sorry officer, but I was only breaking the law in a very specific and limited way.” After all it’s not like you speed every single time you get behind the wheel of a car, you only did it on this occasion because you were desperate to get home before the chlorinated chickens came home to roost.
Or we could have murderers arguing that because they only offed that one annoying prick in an Audi who had nicked their parking space in the Aldi carpark then ate their liver with a bottle of cheap chianti that they were only breaking the law in a very specific and limited way. I mean you kill and consume just one annoying Audi driver and all of a sudden you get called a murdering cannibal, like you’re Jeffrey Dahmer or something. This however, is the British Government’s defence.
The Attorney General, who’s the top legal voice in the Government should resign. Or at least she should resign if she had the slightest trace of integrity left. But since we’re talking about Suella Braverman here, we already know that she is to integrity as Orville the Duck is to cage fighting. However Suella Braverman and her counterpart in the Lords Robert Buckland have sworn to uphold the law, and now they are the chief legal representatives of a government which has just asserted that the law doesn’t apply to it. They’re either hypocrites, or they are superfluous to purposes, or both. But they’ll keep quiet and keep their jobs.
The professional code for barristers in England makes it clear that if a barrister advises a client that a certain act is unlawful, but their client insists that they’re going to do it anyway in demands that the barrister defend the behaviour, the barrister should not continue to represent that client. The barrister should resign from representing a client who breaks the law in clear defiance of the barrister’s advice. As a senior barrister of many years’ standing the Lord Chancellor Robert Buckman must know this. Likewise Lord Keen, the Advocate General and the UK goverment’s most senior legal advisor in Scotland, hasn’t resigned. Similar conditions apply in the ministerial code which binds all government ministers. You don’t break the law. Breaking the law is a resignation matter. Alternatively, if you’re one of the most senior lawyers or a minister in this Conservative government, you know that breaking the law is just fine and dandy. What’s important is the ability to get away with it.
Surely if the UK was perfectly fine with breaking international law, then it didn’t have any need to leave the EU in the first place. All those laws about the permitted curvature of bananas from all those unelected bureaucrats who get up the noses of Tory Brexiteers along with the cocaine could just have been ignored. Instead we’ve had four years of Brexmess, and now at the very point in time when the UK needs friends and allies the most, the British government has decided to trash what is left of any residual goodwill that the UK might still have left.
This is a government which doesn’t hesitate to break the law. Laws are for little people. It is after all a government led by an Etonian who was a member of the Bullingdon Club for over privileged tossers at Oxford University, one of whose rituals is to trash the restaurants where they book their regular dinners. It’s illegal to commit criminal damage. At least it is for the rest of us. The habits of youth are the habits that Johnson continues in public life. He unlawfully prorogued Parliament and lied to the Head of State. His senior advisor broke lockdown regulations with the risible excuse that he had childcare needs and then that he had to drive to test his eyesight. And now he’s destroying the devolution settlement and the Good Friday Agreement.
When a government breaks the law it breaks the very thing that it uses to govern. It tells the public that laws can be broken. It means that the signal is given from the very top that justice and law do not apply. All that matters is the power of the state. That’s the road to autarky. It’s how democracy dies. That’s what this Government’s internal market bill represents.
As well as trashing international law with regard to Northern Ireland, this is a bill which also unilaterally undermines the devolution settlements of Scotland and Wales. It contains a provision for an unelected committee of Conservative placepersons who will decide whether legislation in Scotland and Wales is aligned with the UK internal market. That unelected committee will have the power to strike down laws passed by the democratically elected parliaments of Scotland and Wales.
Here in Scotland, Baroness Davidson’s sock puppet DRoss has embarked on an attack on the SNP who in his estimation are to blame for the no-deal Brexit that is rapidly approaching. It would be nice to say that we’ve reached the nadir of SNPBad here, but since this is the Tories we’re talking about, problably not. According to DRoss it’s all the fault of the SNP that the EU isn’t rolling over and agreeing to the UK’s impossible and mutually contradictory demands. Which if true can only mean that the SNP weilds huge influence in EU circles who are willing to obey their every demand. So rejoining the EU ought to be really simple for an independent Scotland then, shouldn’t it DRoss. He needs to be reminded of his own logic next time he claims, as he most assuredly will, that Scotland won’t be able to get back into the EU. His idiotic claims might have some traction with his dwindling band of followers, but they will not have any purchase in the rest of Scotland which knows full well that the SNP have consistently opposed Brexit and the fault for the current disaster lies fully with DRoss’s party.
Meanwhile there are persistent rumours that Boris Johnson is planning to stand down as Prime Minister. He’s made a huge mess, he’s taken the UK to the brink of disaster and there’s no apparent way out of it. Reports have been circulating that Johnson will resign citing ill health as the reason. It wouldn’t be the first time that he’s walked out on his responsibilities after nine months. His legacy will be that he’s created the conditions for a Scotland which is ready to walk out of the UK and ready to embark upon the building of a better Scotland – in very specific and unlimited ways.
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