The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

UK Supreme Court Rules Prorogue Illegal

Queen Elizabeth II

News out of England continues to be important. The Supreme Court said that Johnson’s advice was “unlawful, void, and of no effect.”


This is a fantastically good thing. The use of proroguing to avoid oversight by Parliament is a great evil. Some years back it was used in Canada to avoid a vote of no-confidence that Prime Minister Harper knew he would lose.

I do think that the Queen, and the Queen’s representatives, need to be more willing to say, “No.” It was obvious what Johnson was doing.

As for Brexit, I want to point out something simple, that has been lost in the furor: It’s going to be settled by an election. Johnson has gotten rid of the anti-Brexit MPs. Even if he obeys the law and extends the leave period, there will then be an election. Who wins will determine what happens.

This is AS IT SHOULD BE. It is right to put this to an election. I prefer Corbyn’s position of negotiating a Brexit then putting it as a referendum, but an election fought over the issue is precisely what should happen in a democracy.

You either believe that legitimacy comes from the people, or you don’t.

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  1. It’s not even 100% clear that the EU will even agree to extending the leave period if it doesn’t look like it will help the UK agree to something that isn’t a transparent attempt to turn EU regulations into a race to the bottom.

  2. Dan Lynch

    “News out of England continues to be important.”

    Well, perhaps Canadians still think Britain is important. I can’t think of anything I own or that I consume that was made in Britain.

  3. Hugh

    EU regulations are what Moses got from the burning bush on Mt. Sinai, right? Or no, wait, are they the product of an unelected, out of touch bureaucracy? And what does a race to the bottom of the steaming shit pile the EU is increasingly becoming even mean? Inquiringly minds would like to know.

  4. capelin

    “I can’t think of anything I own or that I consume that was made in Britain.”

    language and governance structure? colonized resources? whisky?

  5. Stirling S Newberry

    The longevity of people’s preferences is too long in the UK.

  6. DC

    Hypothetical scenario, there’s a new election, a new party goes into power and follows up on its promise to Remain (or Leave, doesn’t matter). Later it is found out that this party’s campaign was paid for with illegal money and broke several campaign laws.
    In this scenario, is the will of the people being followed?

  7. Hugh: the Brexit side in the UK is overwhelmingly dominated by people who want to leave the EU not to produce better/stricter/etc commercial and social regulations, but quite the opposite. A free trade agreement with the EU that does not bind the UK to the same regulatory scheme risks forcing the rest of the EU to go down the UK’s path, on the UK’s terms. What the UK’s pro-Brexit leadership wants to do is not good and certainly worse than the EU’s policies.

  8. Hugh

    The Brexit side in the UK is overwhelmingly peopled by those who want to leave the EU because it shafted them. They did not gain from the EU. They lost their livelihood and futures.

    There, corrected it for you.

  9. Hugh:

    1. The EU is not at fault for austerity in Britain, it was fully and unnecessarily the responsibility of the local political class. The losses from (domestically-inflicted) austerity are enormously larger than any downside the EU may have brought.

    2. The people who control the Brexit agenda are not the people who were “shafted”, but the people who stand to gain from regulatory arbitrage and financial shenanigans. Regulatory arbitrage and financial shenanigans are bad.

    3. For some reason, these grifters are popular, because through media control they successfully created the narrative that grifters are “real people” and the enemy are the people whose kids study in Erasmus programs.

  10. Hugh

    Shorter Mandos: the EU can not fail. It can only be failed. Ergo, if something goes wrong in the UK, it has nothing to do with the EU.

    Under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), the UK is required to submit an annual report to the EU on its finances. As it says in its most recent submission,

    “The UK is not a member of the single currency and cannot face sanctions under the EU’s SGP. The UK’s obligation under the SGP [through the non-euro member Convergence Programme] is to “endeavour to avoid an excessive government deficit” as a result of its Protocol to the EU Treaties (Protocol 15). The Convergence Programme sets out the UK’s medium-term fiscal policies.”

    So while it could not be sanctioned for dropping austerity, by joining the EU, it had, in principle, accepted the EU’s austerity program.

    In addition to this, EU diktats would have kept the UK from engaging in anti-austerity measures like re-nationalizing its railways or in limiting economic migrants (who surprise, undercut British workers’ wages). Similarly, EU rules meant that the government could not prop up all those factories that closed in the Midlands, even if the UK elites had wanted to do that.

    Are British rich and elites dreadful looting neoliberals? Sure. But so are those in the rest of the EU. And the German ones are far worse. However, Mandos only wants us to look at British neoliberals and ignore the European ones. Even though, as I said, if a Jeremy Corbyn had gotten in and wanted to engage in anti-austerity programs, these would have been torpedoed by these EU neoliberal elites. Also in none of this does he address the issue of why the EU and especially France and Germany did not do more to keep the UK in the EU.

    The EU is failing, and will fail, because it can’t reform itself. Brexit, like Greece before it, provided a perfect opportunity for such reform. Instead the EU/German response was “My way or the highway.”

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