From the moment the spin started, it was clear that the FT had unearthed something rotten at the heart of the Government when it told the world that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, driven ever onward by chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings and his pals, was to bring forward legislation allowing it to renege on the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated last year with the EU.
The individual supposedly in charge ...
And while the spin has continued, with the latest line being that the Agreement has somehow been rushed and poor Bozo felt pressured to sign it, the publication of the legislation shows that what the FT told us is not even the half of it. What the UK Internal Market Bill does is to propose an alternate legal reality, where the Government’s actions may be both legal and illegal at the same time. Not even Orwell got that one.
... the individual actually driving the clown car ...
As Peter Foster of the FT put it, “The [UK Internal Market Bill] is out and it's everything it was billed to be - and more. A total bomb. You can see why Jonathan Jones quit”. Jones, formerly head of the Government’s legal department, had had a “significant disagreement” with the Attorney General, Suella “Cultural Marxism” Braverman.
Why this might be does not take long to discern, when one considers some of the Act’s content. Take, for instance, the last line of Paragraph 44, which says simply “Certain provisions to have effect notwithstanding inconsistency or incompatibility with international or other domestic law”. So it’s illegal? No problem - it’s now legal.
The scope of the proposed legislation should also give concern: it defines “relevant international or domestic law” very broadly indeed. Included here are “any provision of the Northern Ireland Protocol … any other provision of the EU withdrawal agreement … any other EU law or international law … any provision of the European Communities Act 1972 … any provision of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 … any retained EU law or relevant separation agreement law”. And then it goes further. Much further.
Here we proceed through the looking glass: “any other legislation, convention or rule of international or domestic law whatsoever, including any order, judgment or decision of the European Court or of any court or tribunal”. It is possible that even the Enabling Act passed by the Nazis in 1933 was less blatant in its disregard of democracy.
... the warning from history ...
Lawyer and commentator David Allen Green cast his eye over this supremely malignant proposal and observed “The Conservatives, once the part of law and order, are going to deliberately break the law … on the issue of State Aid, a legal cornerstone of Thatcherite economics … because they agreed a border in the Irish sea, even though they are nominally a 'unionist' party. Weird”. And, talking of Mrs T, there was a warning from history.
... and where this is heading
This is what she told her own party conference in 1975: “The first duty of Government is to uphold the law. If it tries to bob and weave and duck around that duty when it is inconvenient, if Government does that, then so will the governed, and then nothing is safe - not home, not liberty, not life itself”. And the Tories used to revere her every word.
Any MP who votes in favour of this Bill is not only not a democrat, but is unfit to serve. We have arrived at a dangerous moment. Britain is close to becoming a very dark place.
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