Social media & politics

What do you think? Is it justifiable for my MP to refuse to engage on social media with people who challenge him whilst consistently talking politics with those who do? Is it OK to claim that social media is not always an appropriate forum for talking politics when in fact the only differentiation he seems to make is whether or not engagement will make him look good? Is this the approach of a genuinely democratic representative or of a self-serving egotist?

What’s your opinion? Let me know in the comments.

Conservative constitutional con continues

That just might be my most alliterative title ever. Con, con, con, con. But is it accurate?

Well, sadly… yes… it’s absolutely accurate and the Cabinet Meets After Reshuffle In Londonpotential ramifications for our government, our courts, our parliament and our rights are way scarier than many innocent, unsuspecting voters, including Tory voters, have hitherto imagined. But don’t just take my word for it… Read on whilst I lay out my case and then judge for yourselves.

British governance has for many centuries been a balance, a constitutional push and pull process between parliament (the Lords and the commons), the Government (the Prime Minister and the cabinet) and the judiciary (the legal system, especially senior courts like the Lords and more recently the Supreme court).

It has always been clear that…

• The government sets out proposals
• Parliament scrutinises those proposals and makes amendments or even rejects them as it sees fit
• The courts ensure that laws are legal (based upon the laws already laid down by parliament).
• Some issues clearly fall within the court’s remit but most matters are for parliament to decide – not the courts and not the government.

That balance works and generally prevents the government from acting unlawfully or stupidly for populist reasons.

One of the most important duties of the court system is to uphold parliament’s right to scrutiny and to make decisions. To acknowledge when a decision is not theirs to make and pass it back to the appropriate body – Parliament. I assume that even the most ardent Brexiter would have no problem with that statement. Here it is again, for clarity…

Senior judges are expected to protect parliament’s right and opportunity to scrutinise government proposals.

Fair enough?

So what’s all this about the courts overstepping the mark?
Why do we need constitutional reform?
Why do we need people with a proven track record of disregarding the law, human rights and the will of Parliament to change the rules that have maintained our democratic balance for generations?

Suella Braverman attorney generalBoris Johnson claims that the courts made political decisions when they twice ruled against the government over Brexit. The newly appointed Attorney General, Suella Braverman, writing in ‘Conservative Home’ opined…

“People we elect must take back control from people we don’t. Who include the judges.”

But let’s look at what she actually meant. In the article she commented upon only two cases, the Supreme Court rulings over Article 50 in 2017 and Parliamentary prorogation in 2019. So let’s be clear…

1. First – the courts ruled that Brexit was a decision for Parliament, not for the PM alone. This is entirely in keeping with the legal duty of ensuring that Parliament gets to scrutinise government.
2. Second – the court ruled that it was unlawful to prevent Parliament from scrutinising the Withdrawal bill by proroguing it without any other, pressing reason and no actual plan. Once again the judgement was intended to uphold Parliament’s right to represent the people who voted it into office.

Remember what we said earlier…

Senior judges are expected to protect parliament’s right and opportunity to scrutinise government proposals.

That’s exactly what the Supreme court did. So no harm done. Except that Boris and his handler, Dominic Cummings were furious. In fact, it is widely known that this whole constitutional review is the result of Cummings intention to…

Get the judges sorted

Perhaps that’s why Suella Braverman has become Attorney general in the first place. It’s clear that for all her legal experience (which is considerable) she is quite prepared to rob the Supreme court of its ability to protect Parliament’s rights. It’s equally clear that she dislikes the Human rights act. In fact, in the same article she misrepresents both the actions of the Supreme court and the HRA. It’s almost as though this experienced lawyer doesn’t understand the law – or is deliberately misleading people to justify an unwarranted coup as part of Johnson’s growing infrastructure of dictatorship.

And she, along with Michael Gove is taking a lead role in the whole review.

So, to summarize:

suella braverman 2The court has upheld parliament’s right to scrutinise and make decisions;
Therefore the government is to remove the court’s powers because;
Boris apparently want to maintain Parliament’s right to scrutinise and make decisions;
Along the way Boris will move a little closer to dictator status and our human rights will be thrown under the bus.

Good, innit?