After this morning’s Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the decision of the High Court in concluding that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty could not be triggered without referral to Parliament - and thus reiterating the view that Parliament is supreme, which has been the case since the 17th Century - there has been the inevitable procession of pundits wanting to have their ninepence worth on the decision.
This brings us, sadly but inevitably, to former Tory leader Iain Duncan Cough, he of the dodgy and dishonest CV, and tendency to say whatever it takes to set his trousers alight. Duncan Cough sounds posh; this is then mistaken for gravitas and wisdom, neither of which he actually possesses. The reality is that Duncan Cough is both wilful and stupid, and his reaction to the Supreme Court judgment has merely confirmed this.
Here is what he had to say: “You’ve got to understand that, of course, there’s the European issue but there’s also the issue about who is supreme - Parliament or a self-appointed court. This is the issue here right now, so I was intrigued that it was a split judgment, I’m disappointed that they’ve tried to tell Parliament how to run its business … they’ve stepped into new territory where they’ve actually told Parliament not just that they should do something but actually what they should do and I think that leads further down the road to real constitutional issues about who is supreme in this role”.
I am reminded of the wise words uttered by Lyndon Johnson about one of his successors as President of the United States: “That Gerald Ford. He can’t fart and chew gum at the same time”. Duncan Cough was clearly not chewing gum this morning.
The Supreme Court is not self-appointing. Moreover, there is no issue over who is supreme - Parliament is supreme. This was the principle that the Supreme Court upheld, as the High Court had done before it.
That there was a split judgment should not cause any intrigue: this is how the Supreme Court works, and ultimately the majority view prevails, as it has done today.
The Supreme Court has not told Parliament how to run its business. It has interpreted the law, which is what it is there to do. That interpretation is that, in this case, the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without consulting Parliament.
The Supreme Court has not told the Government what it should do. It has merely ruled on the issue before it.
Therefore there are no constitutional issues arising out of the judgment, and so there is no ambiguity, controversy or other argument over who is supreme.
Once again, Iain Duncan Cough has failed to understand the roles of the Supreme Court and Parliament. This might not be a significant problem, except that he will now be allowed to spout his stupidity - usually unchallenged - around the TV and radio studios and be taken seriously, something he neither deserves, nor merits.
Iain Duncan Cough is an embarrassment. Please stop taking his stupidity seriously.