The British Government has now pretty much abandoned any pretence that the rule of law counts for anything when it is supposed to apply to... the British Government.
First published: August 2022.
The British Government has now pretty much abandoned any pretence that the rule of law counts for anything. At least that is, when the rule of law is supposed to apply to the British Government. They are still extremely keen on enforcing laws on everyone else in order to prevent them challenging Conservative diktats, such as their insistence that it doesn’t matter what the people of Scotland have voted for in a democratic election, youse cannae have yer referendum jocks, because IT’S THE LAW!
The front runner in the Conservative Grimoire of incantations for raising the demons of corrupt authoritarianism, Liz Truss, has said that if she becomes Prime Minister, as seems likely, she made it clear that she would not ‘allow’ another independence referendum, note the imperialist attitude there. Truss said:
“Any Scotland independence referendum would need to be authorised by the Westminster Parliament. If I become prime minister, I would not grant that authority.”
The view of the Conservatives, aided and abetted by the Labour party and the Lib Dems is that Scotland had its democracy in 2014, and by voting No the people of Scotland surrendered in all perpetuity any right to hold the British state to account for the promises that were made to secure that No vote. IT’S THE LAW!
However, this eagerness to insist on the legal niceties is not so much apparent when it comes to laws which might constrain the Tories from indulging themselves in full-frontal bastardy of the sort that we have seen of late with the despicable Rwanda policy which breaks all international norms which ensure the decent and humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, or the British Government’s decision that international treaties which it itself negotiated and agreed to can be unilaterally torn up the second that they are no longer politically convenient.
Thankfully, the legal genius Suella Braverman, who became a QC automatically after Johnson appointed her as the Attorney General, but didn’t actually earn the legal qualification by practising as a barrister (in England) or advocate (in Scotland) for decades – unlike for example, the SNP’s Joanna Cherry – has come up with the perfect solution to the problem of government lawyers telling government ministers that their Daily Mail appeasing policies are illegal.
“Break the law and just hope”
Braverman has just ordered government lawyers to stop telling members of the government that their plans break the law. Instead, lawyers are to give the government their best guess as to how likely it is that a court would overturn a government policy. Suella Braverman feels that if a policy is likely to be unlawful, but she believes there is just a 30% chance a judge could find it lawful, the government should go for it anyway.
The new legal policy of this government of shysters is literally to break the law and just hope that a sympathetic judge will still find in the government’s favour.
Suella Braverman sums up the Johnson regime. The worst Prime Minister in history appointed the worst Attorney General in history. Neither has any respect for the law and both of them view the law as a tool to beat their opponents into submission but as something which can be ignored, sidelined, or circumvented if it threatens them or their interests.
We now, quite literally, not metaphorically or figuratively, literally, have a government of chancers. Let that sink in. Although it probably won’t sink in with much of the Scottish public as the overwhelmingly anti-independence media is far too busy banging on about ferries or the misbehaviour of a councillor to concern itself with the existential threat posed to democracy, decency, and the rule of law throughout the entire UK by the Conservative party. And that, dear readers, is the very definition of parochial.
“A wall-to-wall circus of the absurd”
Not that the UK media is much better, over the past couple of days we’ve had wall-to-wall coverage of sporting events, more sporting events, the spat over inane trivialities between two attention-seeking women whose sole claim to celebrity is that they are married to men whose sole claim to notability is that they are very good at kicking a ball about on an expensively manicured lawn. But the BBC is virtually ignoring Braverman’s attempts to override the rule of law, the private and off-the-record meetings between an allegedly drunk Boris Johnson and a Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin, the continuing shitshow that is Brexit, and Johnson’s plans to stuff the House of Lords with pals and cronies who can be counted on to do his bidding. This is what holding power to account looks like in Britain in 2022.
When the history books of the future are written it will be noted that one of the reasons that the UK slid into corrupt authoritarianism was because those who should have been sounding the alarm about the unacceptable behaviour of our political overlords were far too busy with games, sports, and gossip about inconsequential so-called celebrities. The UK is a society which has given up on the bread, we just get a wall-to-wall circus of the absurd.
If you ever wondered how ordinary people with functioning consciences and an understanding of the difference between right and wrong could stand by and watch while 1930s Germany descended into fascism, well now you know. They had a media that was force-feeding them sporting matches, nationalist monarchist pageantry, and whatever the equivalent of the Wagatha Christie trial was. That said, there is an important difference between the Conservative party and actual fascists. Actual fascists could make the trains run on time.
In an interview published on Sunday in The National, the actor Brian Cox, who was a prominent advocate for a Yes vote in 2014, said that independence is now more important than it was in 2014 because this Tory government is ‘futility-ridden’. The overwhelmingly male pale and stale membership of the Conservative party will choose the winner of an I’m more right-wing than you are contest as the next worst Prime Minister that Britain has ever had, a winner who will insist that Scotland has no choice but to suck up whatever indignities or insults to democracy and decency that the Conservatives decide to inflict on us.
Well, they’re wrong. One way or another Scotland is going to have its say, whether that’s an actual referendum or a de facto referendum at the next UK General Election. The Tories can either belatedly demonstrate that they respect democracy or they’ll be swept away by the tide of history.
- Truth now banned in government | PMP Magazine
- Brian Cox and Nicole Ansari-Cox on the Fringe, women and Scottish independence | The National
— AUTHOR —
▫ Wee Ginger Dug, also known as Paul Kavanagh. Blogger. Biting the hand of Project Fear.
- Text: This piece was originally published in Wee Ginger Dug’s blog and re-published in PMP Magazine on 2 August 2022, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Flickr/Number 10. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)