As the BBC has put it, “Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU, the High Court has ruled … This means the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - beginning formal discussions with the EU - on its own”. The judgment was handed down this morning, and why the Government is appealing to the Supreme Court is mystifying. It is a simple assertion of Parliamentary Sovereignty.
And that’s what all those Brexit campaigners wanted, isn’t it? So all of them would welcome the judgment with open arms. Except they have done nothing of the sort. And the saloon bar propper-uppers in UKIP are at the forefront of the mardy strop reaction.
Take Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn, now - don’t laugh - an MEP, who whined “MPs and peers already voted to give power to decide on Brexit to the UK people in a referendum. Political class skating on very thin ice”. It wasn’t binding. Try reading the T&Cs. His former leader Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was equally unhappy: “I now fear every attempt will be made to block or delay triggering Article 50. They have no idea level of public anger they will provoke”. Bit like Enoch Powell - “they know not what they do”. There was more.
Kipper leadership hopeful Suzanne Evans blustered “How dare these activist judges attempt to overturn our will? It's a power grab & undermines democracy. Time we had the right to sack them”. Very Third Reich. Her colleague Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell was equally intolerant: “Shocking judicial activism- these judges are politicians without accountability”. Judging on matters of law has become “activism” in the retelling.
Also retelling the assertion of Parliamentary Sovereignty was the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not), with “Mrs May should relish this article 50 row and use it to smoke out the anti-democrats of the Law and the Left”. Supremacy of Parliament is now anti-democratic! Andrew Pierce, also at the Mail, offered “Establishment in the form of our out of touch judges vote to try to block Brexit. they can't bear democracy”. Democracy is not democracy! One can only imagine what tomorrow’s Mail will bring.
For the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, it was all too much: “Have switched to watching BBC news channel for more objective coverage of the Article 50 ruling, @faisalislam just unbearably gleeful”. Why so glum? Maybe because Faisal Islam had just told the Fawkes mob “Yes I called it right 3 weeks ago. It's called being a journalist. You should try it”. Journalism. A sore point with The Great Guido.
The inevitable press backlash was touched upon by Paul Mason, who warned “Stand by for every member of the Supreme Court to have their private lives long-lensed by the tabloids”. And in a pragmatic corner of Eurosceptic land, Iain Dale suggested Theresa May be proactive: “1. Court decision clear, not marginal … 2. Appeal pointless … 3. Put Article 50 to a vote next week. Get on with it … 4. i.e. Take the initiative”.
Poor Iain. He would have hated being an MP. He’s far too keen on taking action.