Search This Blog

Monday, 5 December 2016

Brexit skirmish

Gina Miller is a businesswoman whose legal team won a High Court case to force the British government to put to Parliament the triggering of Article 50. The government’s appeal in front of the Supreme Court begins today.

Yesterday, Gina Miller put her case in an article in a Sunday paper. The sub-editor, presumably, chose an inflammatory heading, ‘Yes we must have Brexit – but not by MOB RULE.’ And this is a pro-EU periodical!

It is appalling that so many reprehensible individuals have threatened her for bringing legal action to trigger Article 50 by Parliament. Let’s look at her words in that article.

‘Last Thursday’s Richmond by-election – with the defeat of a Conservative and victory for a LibDem candidate who, like me, believes a parliamentary vote is necessary – has served to throw more fuel on to the fire. I believe that defeat for Zac Goldsmith in Richmond is a distraction.’

Clever wording, here, from someone who is legally trained. By the simple expedient of mentioning the so-called defeat of a Tory, she is implying that the Tory Government is losing the Brexit argument; yet, in the same breath, she’s saying, disregard that point. Lawyers use this questionable technique all the time to plant a seed of doubt; no jury, and no reader, can disregard it once it is said. Furthermore, Goldsmith stood as an Independent, not a Conservative, so the vote was skewed in that sense. Unsurprisingly, the BBC report on the by-election fell into the same Tory-bashing mode – ‘LibDems overturned a Tory majority’; no they didn’t, they overturned Goldsmith’s majority. If a Tory had been contesting, the verdict might have been different, the voting being split. In both cases, it’s what is implied that is underhand.

‘…Any first-year law student knows: only Parliament can grant people rights, and only Parliament can take them away.’ Parliament voted 6 to 1 for the referendum, and the referendum was to vote to stay in or to get out of the EU, no ifs or buts. The referendum delivered a majority ‘out’. Therefore there is nothing else for Parliament to discuss at this stage. It stands to reason that Parliament cannot publicly discuss in advance its tactics at the negotiating table with EU in the following two years. At the end of the two years, Parliament can then pass an act, when everything is established. It is disingenuous to suggest that this salvo is only about ‘democracy’ and Article 50; it is the first skirmish in an attempt to stop any kind of Brexit from happening.

‘So, to be clear, it is not the idea of Brexit that filled me with dread. It was the idea of an unchallenged, unanswerable Government taking us back to 1610 and ripping a hole through our democratic structures.’ This is selective memory working. Gina Miller is on record saying that on June 24 she was angered by the result (primarily because she feels that Brexit will damage fund management firms (reported in the FT), and coincidentally she is an investment fund manager). Presumably, only later did she grasp the ostensible democratic angle as a means to an end.

Referring to high courts judges’ ‘total independence’ on issues relating to IRA members or destitute asylum seekers is of no relevance here; mere obfuscation. ‘Our judges are not plotters or subversives – they are a repository of wisdom, independence and intellect.’ I would like to think so – up to a point. If any of these judges sat on a case when the jury was being selected, they would dismiss any potential juror who revealed any conflict of interest regarding the case. Not because the individual would be biased, but because it could be construed that he would be. Several of the judges involved in this case are known to have considerable interests relating to the EU and because of these associations could be construed to be biased. If the government’s appeal is not upheld, then protestations and assurances that ‘only the legal aspects’ were considered would be highly suspect. Only those judges with no link to the EU should be reviewing this appeal.

No comments: