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Tuesday 14 November 2017

Iain Dale Article 50 Fail

Matters of law are often best left to those who understand law, and that, whisper it quietly, usually does not mean the great and good of the Pundit Establishment, those with the sense of entitlement that comes from having their views solicited by a range of broadcasters on subjects on which they are all too often woefully unfit to pontificate. The argument around Brexit has provided a superb example of this shortcoming.
Iain Dale

Specifically, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has provided an excellent opportunity to compare two positions: that of the Pundit Establishment, and that of the real world. On the question of whether Article 50 is reversible, it should come as no surprise that these two positions do not agree with one another: in other words, more than one of the Pundit Establishment has ended up covered in rather more than confusion.
Fraser Nelson

Worse, this excursion into the realms of unreality was totally self-inflicted: respected pundits made themselves look foolish - as well as getting it wrong - by their own inability to grasp points of law and legal jurisdiction. The most notable contribution came from LBC host and pundit Iain Dale, who started well enough, telling “Article 50 is part of the Treaty of Lisbon, a legally enforceable international treaty. It's a treaty. Not a political document”.
No problem so far. But then he went all wrong, blustering “The Supreme Court has interpreted Article 50 as being irreversible. And you can't get away from that. That's not something Parliament can overturn. Learn your law”. Sadly, Dale had not learnt that law himself, and what was worse for the ranks of the Pundit Establishment, he was not alone.
Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, taking time out from commissioning more Muslim-bashing bigotry, opined “Why the surprise? The Supreme Court ruling proved that Article 50 made Brexit final - so a ‘no deal’ outcome is the default. If Parliament rejects a deal, then it votes for no-deal”. He helpfully provided a link to an article on the subject by Himself.
Such was Nelson’s confidence in his judgment - that Article 50 was irreversible - he returned to the subject later: “But Article 50 irreversibility means no-deal is the default. It’s a deal that has to be approved by the Commons”. This was, sadly for both Dale and Nelson, one of those things that looks too good to be true turning out to be indeed too good to be true. Because the Supreme Court had not ruled on the subject.
As David Allen Green had to point out, beginning his attempt to let Dale and Nelson down gently, “Have seen a couple of tweets from pundits asserting the @UKSupremeCourt decided that Article 50 was irreversible. I won't embarrass the pundits by quote tweeting them”, the Supreme Court did not rule on the reversibility or otherwise of Article 50.
You read that right. It did not rule thus because not only was it not asked to do, it could not have done: Article 50 is part of EU law, and therefore not within the jurisdiction of our Supreme Court (Allen Green’s complete Twitter thread outlining this can be seen HERE).
That has not stopped Iain Dale heartily endorsing Tory MP Nick Boles’ inference that Article 50 is irreversible. There’s someone who missed Keynes’ legendary riposte. So perhaps Dale would like to address it now: “When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, Sir?” Well, Iain? No pressure, now.


Anonymous said...

You don't have to be a lawyer to know this is a load of bollocks: "It's a treaty. Not a political document”."

All you need is your common sense.

In this case, the treaty is made between elected governments. Who therefore represent the political will of the electorate. Which underpins their position when they sign the treaty. Or when, as in the issue at hand, a government decides the treaty has become disagreeable to its electorate.

If this is denied, it implies the treaty between Nazi Germany - its first international diplomatic coup - and the Vatican was not a political document. Which of course is also a load of bollocks.

All international treaties and alliances are political and are governed by the current system. Which in this case is Capitalism with a tiny dash of Social Democracy. Which is why Dale and his ilk are such ignorant divvies on the subject.

Lawyers are merely draftsmen of political will. Always have been, always will be.

ashie said...

Dale seems a perfectly decent chap on the sensible wing of Conservatism. Until anything about Brexit is mentioned. Then his common-sense goes flying out few the window and he can and does make a fool of himself. See above. He's not the only one, either.

The hysteria of Brexiters is a wonder to behold.

rob said...

Let's hope that the treaty breaking off of Article 50 doesn't fall the way of another Nazi Germany treaty i.e. the Nazi German-Soviet Pact of Aggression 1939 which ended not long after with Operation Barbarossa!

Mind, the "will of the people" can be a bit of a stretch of the imagination with those two nations at that time. Possibly as stretched as it is with Brexit. Perhaps will of the people in power at the time the treaty was made/broken off would be more apt?

iMatt said...

The problem for Iain Dale is the chap who actually drafted Article 50, a certain Lord Ker has said A50 IS reversible!

So whom do we believe? An ardent Brexiter? Or the man who actually wrote the text the Brexiter is attempting to interpret?

Anonymous said...



As usual, you miss the point by a kilometre (or a mile, depending on your preference).

Neither Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union were democratic nations, nor is the Vatican, though they still made a political treaty. Those who sign(ed) the Treaty of Rome are/were, and that too is a political treaty. Which is kind of the point, politically speaking.

Beyond that I can't be arsed repeating the obvious. The floor is yours.