Our alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has today encountered one of those Little Local Difficulties in the shape of a serious setback at the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest court. That court has ruled the proroguing of Parliament to be unlawful. The decision was a unanimous one, taken by a panel of three judges.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
The BBC has reported that “In a summary of their findings, the Court of Session judges said they were unanimous in their belief that Mr Johnson was motivated by the ‘improper purpose of stymying Parliament’. They added: ‘The Court will accordingly make an Order declaring that the Prime Minister's advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.’” Well, well.
And it got worse. “One of the three judges, Lord Brodie, said: ‘This was an egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behaviour of public authorities’”. Ouch! But then came the reporting of the judgment.
After previous judgments which our free and fearless press have found inconvenient, there have been some most unfortunate headlines, not least the Daily Mail’s “ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE”, putting judges’ mugshots on the front page, but not suggesting that those opposed to the judgment should take the law into their own hands, oh no.
There was a huge trap for unwary pundits to fall into. Lewis Goodall of Sky News pointed it out: “Yet in the court of public opinion, this will change little. All of our institutions, including the courts, have become less trusted as a result of Brexit. The PM’s team will suggest this is all part of a remainer establishment seeking to thwart the ref. Many will believe them”.
That’s despite the PM and his team being part of that establishment. And that line is already being spun by Downing Street, as the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn told. “Sources in No10 now hitting back at the Scottish judges, suggesting they are politically biased: ‘We note that last week the High Court in London did not rule that prorogation was unlawful. The legal activists choose the Scottish courts for a reason’”.
So it might be expected that BBC correspondents would think carefully. Not political editor Laura Kuenssberg. “Standby for No 10 appeal and political narrative out of Downing St to move to not just People Vs Parliament, but People Vs Parliament and the Judges - might make you engraged [?] but they believed this was likely in late July”. This is a potentially dangerous narrative, though. So why not point that out, too?
Instead, Ms K tells “Official No 10 response ‘We are disappointed by today’s decision, and will appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The UK Government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing Parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this’ … Downing Street also note that ruling in High Court last week went the other way”. We KNOW what the Downing Street response is. That’s not the BBC’s job.
What the Corporation should be doing is to report what has actually happened - that the Court of Session has effectively ruled that Bozo The Clown lied to Brenda.
Instead, once again, its political editor tells us “this is the Government’s position”, rather than “this is what happened”. Give us facts - not state sanctioned propaganda.
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