QUEEN AND STUNTERY : Parliament Returns In Crucial Brexit Week


Here we are again.

Parliament, having been prorogued, is back. Brexit is still unresolved, despite us being seventeen days away from our departure date. Boris Johnson is still acting like a minor deity, despite having no power in Parliament.

However, something has noticeably changed in the air. While the hopelessness of the last few weeks led to some pretty horrendous vitriol from the mouths of the Prime Minister and Parliament as a whole, the mood music is different.

The possibility of a deal being negotiated with Brussels seemed about as likely as an Under-11 XV from North Korea winning the Rugby World Cup for most of last week. However, at a meeting with Irish PM Leo Varadkar last Thursday, Boris managed to bring negotiators back to the table.

Which, despite my many, many misgivings about his premiership, is quite remarkable.

As such, discussions are currently being bandied around the EU with a real, if slim, chance of a deal being struck. For the first time in a while, there is an air of real optimism.

But, even if the momentum might seem behind Bozzle Konks, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

It may yet prove a garden bridge too far for our beleaguered BoJo.


QUEEN’S PEACH OF A QUEEN’S SPEECH

Well, not really. I just can’t resist wordplay.

Earlier today, the Queen reopened Parliament with a Queen’s Speech, where she set out the agenda for the government. This is not unusual in and of itself, but a Queen’s Speech usually sets out an agenda for around about a year.

Seeing as this government is actively calling for an election, however, there may be another Queen’s Speech by the end of the year, so they might have to wheel her out for another expensive ceremony again.

Poor Queenie. She doesn’t deserve this bollocks. She just wants to watch that nice young man Alexander Armstrong on Pointless.

Anyway, the event itself was as it normally is – ostentatious, heavily steeped in ritual, and involved a lot of wonderful hats and wigs. Not least the Crown itself, which is now too heavy for the Queen’s head, and so gets its own pillow, like a spoilt cat.

We watched the procession of the Queen from Buckingham Palace to the House of Lords, where she disembarked her carriage looking like a blinged-up Yoda.

We watched Black Rod, a white woman from Wolverhampton, summon the House of Commons after getting a door ceremoniously slammed in her face.

We watched Jacob Rees-Mogg, a sentient windsock from a cemetery, be the only person part of the ceremony that looked as though it was “#justanotherMondaylol”.

And then we had the speech itself. It was, as you’d expect, standard fare for this government – low on detail, high on loose ideas on what they’d like to do. Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s Chief Political Editor, described it as a “shopping list” – it’s more of a bucket list, seeing as Johnson, without a majority, can enact very little of it.

Notable mentions for:

  • Immigration: Priti Patel’s new reform for immigration to an Australian “points-based” system, designed to ensure only talented and skilled foreigners move to the UK.
  • Crime: A far tougher stance, with particular emphasis given on increased prison sentences for violent crime.
  • NHS: Yet another mention of Social Care reform, which has been the bane of multiple governments over the last decade, yet no actual plan.

But, as to be expected, Brexit took centre stage, being mentioned in the first line. Tellingly, however, the Queen did not specifically say that we are leaving on October 31st.

Instead, she said “My government’s priority has always been to secure the UK’s departure from the EU on 31st of October.” This might be an admission by the government (who write her speech for her) that they know that this deadline may not be met.

Despite all the ceremony, there was a slight element of sombreness to the proceedings. The Queen must have been left reeling by the unlawful prorogation she sanctioned a few weeks ago, and to have to read out the words of a government that is trying to push our constitution to its limits must have rankled.

While famously inscrutable, there seemed to be an increased element of detachment today. Although that is pure speculation, I must emphasise.

I am no monarchical medium.


SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Well, very little from the speech itself. Everything is waiting on the EU discussions around Brexit, as they will define what happens next.

Deliberations will continue this week, before a meeting of the EU Council on Thursday evening. A final decision will be made, probably in the wee small hours of Friday morning, as to whether or not to agree to a deal, or to give us an extension.

Then, for the first time since the Falklands crisis, Parliament will convene on Saturday to debate and decide on what to do next. If there is a deal, they will vote on it. If some try to add a referendum to the deal, they will vote on that, too. If there is no deal, they will vote on accepting the extension.

Saturday could well prove to be the day where Brexit was decided once and for all… or just the start of the next phase, now with added referendum / general election.

But, in the meantime, we wait on the EU. While the positive overtures from the weekend are starting to turn sour again, there may still be a chance for a deal.

Stay tuned to Between the Lines this week for all the info you need.

Weekly Wrap-Up : BLAME GAME? NO SHAME

Well, we thought it was going to get messy. Lo and behold, this week saw the beginnings of what is going to be a truly horrendous election period.

An extension is now the most likely outcome on the 31st of October. As such, the desperate scramble by Boris Johnson’s team to defect blame away from them has started in earnest.

There was the scorched earth tweet sent from Cummings to a Spectator journalist, Leave.EU’s xenophobic and moronic anti-German tweets, and tweets aplenty from Leave-supporting MPs and commentators about the EU’s refusal to compromise.

It must be noted that the EU refused to “compromise” on Johnson’s attempt at a Brexit proposal, which amounted to the diplomatic equivalent of attending a Remembrance Sunday event and farting into the microphone.

This week marked the beginning of the end for this current phase of Brexit. Toxic, hate-baiting and literally illegal, Johnson’s stewardship has been nothing short of dangerous to society.

And yet he’ll probably win a General Election.

Democracy, eh?

Links to previous blogs are found in sub-headings, where available.


MONDAY

As I predicted in the blog linked above, the Arcuri scandal has now faded from memory. We probably won’t hear of it again. While investigations into Johnson’s mayoral conduct are ongoing by the Greater London Assembly, it is unlikely that they will achieve anything.

There is something tantalising about the fact that Boris submitted evidence but requested that the contents remain a secret, for sure.

But, again, unless he confesses, it is extremely hard to prove anything. While he might have personally intervened to improve Arcuri’s profile, he could legitimately argue that he thought she would benefit the trade delegations he put her on, or contribute to the British economy by giving her companies grants.

Favouritism for personal reasons is illegal. Favouritism for economic gain is encouraged. How can you tell one from the other without hard evidence?

Anyway. What we can all agree on is that Boris Johnson probably banged a blonde, 27 year old woman while his wife was suffering from cancer. He then also probably used taxpayer money to help her career, and she’s taken some of that money back to the US with her.

Sadly, we cannot prove it. But just the fact that you, reading this, know that it’s probably true, shows the character of the man who is our Prime Minister.

Monday also saw this:

The beginning of the blame game – election posturing come early, pitching the EU as the bad guys.

It’s only going to get worse from here.


TUESDAY

Last week, Johnson sent the EU his Brexit offer. It would have been more useful to send them a glitter bomb full of guinea pig turds.

Essentially, the proposal was to have two borders on the island of Ireland, away from the border, rather than one; to give the Northern Irish government a chance to veto the arrangements; and to tell the EU that this was their “Final Offer.”

Because of the fact that, historically, there have been a few small kerfuffles on the Irish border, the offer was a non-starter. It was divisive, pointless, and failed to learn from the last three years of negotiations.

In a phone call with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, Boris was told this in no uncertain terms. This led to No. 10 releasing a bad-tempered statement, saying that Merkel showed that the EU were never going to give way, so they should prepare for no-deal.

Toys? Pram? Thrown.

Then, Leave.EU popped this little gem out on Twitter.

Which led to a major backlash, not just from Remain-supporters, but a Brexit party MEP and Piers bloody Morgan.

A tweet, therefore, as misjudged as a photography contest by David Blunkett.

Then, that evening, Parliament was prorogued again. Legitimately, this time, in preparation for a Queen’s Speech, which will happen on Monday, 14th of October.

One can only imagine how thrilled Queenie must be to give a speech that lays out the framework for a government led by the man who openly lied to her.

Her majesty’s government will look to give vital funding to the NHS, our most vulner… oh sawd it, he’s a bloody twat, I’ve had enough of this. Charles, you’re up. Queenie out, I’m orf to bloody Benidorm.


WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY

With Parliament prorogued, nothing happened in the House of Commons. But the tone around Brexit did shift, quite significantly.

Leave.EU’s Arron Banks, funder-in-chief and epic shitbag, apologised for the anti-German images his group had posted online. He did, however, blame his team rather than take responsibility.

You stay classy, Baron Wanks.

I’d just like to say that I came up with that name on the spot, and I don’t think I’ve ever done anything that I’m more proud of.

Which says quite a lot about me.

Anyhoo, Johnson himself went to see Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taioseach or Prime Minister, yesterday. This was to try to clear the air between the Republic of Ireland, the EU and the UK – Johnson’s team had been quickly torn apart over its stupid blame game and so the tone was far more genteel.

And, to his credit, Boris managed to negotiate without it being a colossal tyre-fire.

This is surprisingly optimistic, and, in a time where all language is sensationalist, a welcome return to sanity.

But.

Yes, I know. There’s a but.

Varadkar’s statement requires a huge amount of shifting by Johnson, and conceding on points that many within the House of Commons will not support, least of all the DUP.

To concede too much to the EU is to lose his support in Parliament. To keep his support is to stonewall the EU’s requests for flexibility.

It’s a pure, almost beautifully-tragic Catch-22.

So even though the rhetoric has, mercifully, been toned down in favour of compromise, it is still next to impossible for an actual deal to be found.

And, once the election is confirmed, the rhetoric will, once again, be ramped up to 11.

Maybe Johnson will just step up to the House of Commons despatch box and call Jeremy Corbyn a withered old ballsack.

Maybe Jeremy Corbyn will call Boris Johnson an over-inflated colostomy bag that’s been dropped on the floor of a dog-groomers.

Maybe John Bercow will call everyone a bell-end, long-arm a can of Strongbow and set fire to the Speaker’s chair.

We will know next week.

COMING HOME TO ROOST : Johnson Loses Game Of Chicken With EU


A relatively short and simple one today. The deal, which wasn’t a deal, because it wasn’t agreed on both sides, was explicitly rejected yesterday, making it even less of a deal.

Because it was never a deal.

In fact it was barely a proposal. And now, here we are, with Johnson’s “brilliant deal” looking very much like a half-eaten pigeon next to a bin.

Remember when he said that the chances of a no-deal Brexit were “a million-to-one?”

Who, on earth, could ever have seen this coming?


Merkel ‘Merks’ Berk

Boris’ day started badly. In an early-morning call with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, he was unequivocally told that his deal was as good as dead. While not an official spokesperson for the EU, Merkel is a leading voice among them.

This was about as unexpected as a Southern Rail train being delayed – depressing, infuriating, yet inevitable. It was never going to be good enough (“A hard border is a bad idea you say? Have two instead!“), and today all hope of negotiations seemed to die off.

And, just to put some nails into the ashes that used to be a coffin before it was burnt on a pyre, Number 10’s office released a statement about the call without giving any advance warning to the Germans. In this statement, they openly derided Merkel’s position and tried to fan the flames of blame against them rather than accept how appalling their deal was.

Unfortunately, everyone has clocked on to Mr Cummings’ plans these days. What was meant to stoke the fires of oppression seemed more like a small man in an Austin Allegro honking his horn at an Audi R8 that overtook him on a B-Road.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission and a man with the patience of a thousand Tibetan monks, tweeted a truly wonderful response:

Quo vadis, so we’re clear, is Latin. Johnson studied Classics at Oxford, and so would know that it means ‘Whither goest thou?’

Or, in layman’s terms, “What the actual f*ck are you playing at, you vat of unpasteurised milk made human?

All of this means that Boris must legally ask the EU for an extension, unless a complete miracle happens before the 19th of October.

If he doesn’t, then things are going to get messy, as I wrote about yesterday.

And if you think that that’s alarmist…


Alleged Racists Act All Racist In Shock To Everyone

Leave.EU, the company that funded the Leave campaign, absolutely outdid themselves yesterday. I’m not going to link to the actual Tweet that they posted, lest they get more traffic than they deserve, but just observe the screenshot below and draw your own conclusions.

With the greatest of apologies, Verpiss dich, Sie rassistische Fotzen.

This has garnered a truly superb response in that not only did the likes of David Lammy, erstwhile Labour and People’s Vote campaigner, call the message disgusting.

Oh no.

Richard Tice, the Brexit Party MEP (!!!), explicitly called the Tweet “Stupid and offensive“.

To which Andy Wigmore and Aaron Banks, the two founders and funders-in-chief of Leave.EU, responded with this:

I almost admire the brash, Three Lions, oi oi, Inglund-til-I-Die, gutter-mob mentality that comes with this. It’s so utterly stupid and counter-productive that it’s almost beautiful.

Because this has shown how desperate the hard Leave campaign has become. Boris has raged against the machine and been crushed. He is now stuck between a rock of pure diamond and place where he must meet Lady Hale’s hard stare.

His choices now are to destroy this current manifestation of Brexit, destroy our Parliamentary democracy, or destroy the Conservative Party.

He will have to decide within the next ten days.

Tick tock, Prime Minister.

Tick tock.

FACTUALLY IN-ARCURI-TE : Poll Dancing and Parliamentary Democracies

We are in “Squeaky bum time”, to quote from Sir Alex Ferguson. If Johnson fails to negotiate a deal with the EU, based on the slim pickings he sent them last week, then we have an almighty clash on our hands.

The Benn Act, the piece of legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit, should legally force Bozzle Konks to go to the EU, cap in hand, and ask for an extension. But, despite the black-and-white, legally binding nature of the Bill, Boris insists that he will never ask for an extension.

So what instead? Will Boris break the law? Will he send a two letters, one saying he wants and extension and another saying he doesn’t? Will he and Nigel Farage man a Spitfire and do a sky drawing of a hip-loaded man-cannon over the skies of Brussels?

Unfortunately, we simply do not know. Boris’s team insists that we are leaving on October 31st, despite having no legal basis for saying so.

In this high-stakes poker game, they might be holding aces. Or, more likely, they might holding an expired cinema ticket and a receipt from Boots.

These next two weeks will decide it, one way or another.

But, speaking of squeaky bums and sliding down polls…


Arcuri Gets Grilled By Britain’s Best Journalist*

*Best, in this instance, judged by overall contribution to society’s eventual downfall.

This morning, Jennifer Arcuri appeared on Good Morning Britain, after they paid her around £20K to do so. She was met with intensive questioning by Piers Morgan, masculine insecurity made flesh.

Arcuri is the American entrepreneur who has been at the centre of another Johnson scandal, after he allegedly used his power as Mayor of London to help her businesses in the UK and grow her brand.

He is also alleged to have frequented her flat, which contained a massive stripper pole in the middle of the living room. Supposedly his visits were for “technology lessons.” One can only imagine she was teaching him how to delete his search history.

These visits, incidentally, happened while he was still married to Marina Wheeler, who was at the time suffering from a little illness called cancer.

Classy.

Anyway, Arcuri came out bold as brass, saying that she was being attacked for being a female businesswoman, there was no evidence of any affair, and that the whole thing was just a big ol’ dose of “Fake News.”

She even said the words, “Fake News.” I know you’re American, Jennifer, but come on. You’re so 2016, lol.

Morgan, to his credit, did as good a job as you’d expect him to do, which was crap. No cross-examination, very little pointing to actual evidence, just letting her get away with it. She specifically denied Johnson ever writing her a reference letter, even though one has been leaked to the press.

Credit to her for the brass neck. Johnson himself refused to comment, which was unusual : this Prime Minister who has faced just one PMQs in his premiership doesn’t seem like the type to hide away from scrutiny…

It’d be funny if it wasn’t so terrifyingly depressing.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is that while this story has been a fun little side-show, it’s probably run its course. If there’s no actual evidence of anything more than “assisting” a friend, Johnson is basically untouchable.

While the Mayor’s office and Greater London Assembly is investigating and might ask Boris to personally give testimony, he will likely shirk any real answers. Without a smoking gun in his hand, he will get away with it.

Even though he’s covered in blood, is standing over the body and is wearing a sandwich board saying “I DID IT” on it.


Fudged the Judges?

In an interesting twist today, our legal system came out in favour of Boris Johnson. The same legal system that declared he had acted illegally just a couple of weeks ago.

Eh?

It’s actually completely normal, and expected. It also shows the judiciary really doesn’t get involved in politics unless it really has to, which has probably royally pissed-off the incel conspiracy nutters in Number 10.

Joanna Cherry’s team, who brought the complaint to the Scottish judges on prorogation, went to the judges again to get clarification. The issue in question was, ‘What happens to Boris Johnson if he refuses to obey the Benn Act?”

They were hoping that the judiciary might further spell out for Johnson how tied-down he was to the Benn Bill, or “Surrender Act”, as it is referred to by morons.

However, the judges refused – No. 10 had provided evidence saying that, if they failed to reach a deal by the 19th of October, they would ask for an extension. This came from Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, who is rumoured to have told Boris he will quit should the Benn Act be ignored.

This, to the judges, was sufficient evidence that the law will be followed, so they refused to wade in any further than they had to.

Now, will Boris actually do this? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, they have to take him at his word, because otherwise it sets a troubling precedent for what comes next. If he breaks the law, however, I imagine he will be crapped on from a height that can only be described as astronomical.

So, he cannot blame the judges.


But…

He will blame everyone else, according to a memo released by an “unnamed No. 10 source” yesterday evening.

Spoiler alert: it was Cummings.

Follow the link in this tweet below, and read the whole thing.

This statement, if really a reflection on upcoming policy, is The Charge of the Light Brigade. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends.” A furious thrashing inside a cage of their own-making.

By threatening to disrupt EU member-states and trying to bully them into vetoing an extension, it shows how desperate they are. No plans, no strategies, just angry, confused panic.

The EU simply will not buy it. The majority of UK citizens won’t either, I sincerely bloody hope.

Credit is due, in a way, for raging against the dying of the light. The Johnson administration is as broken as Arcuri’s stripping pole after BoJo had a go on it himself.

But, unfortunately, this rhetoric will incredibly damaging to societal cohesion, even though it’s politically pointless. It is, at its core, the mission-statement for the Tories for the upcoming General Election.

But the facts remain the same – no majority, no deal, no no-deal. An extension is the most likely outcome, followed by a General Election or a second referendum.

Strap in, team. It’s going to get bumpy.

Weekly Wrap-Up : LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND LOGISTICS


Don’t let the smoke and mirrors fool you. This has been yet another terrible week for Boris Johnson.

Despite his swashbuckling display at the Tory party conference, and praise for a toned-down rhetoric in Parliament yesterday, he’s still playing the same old game.

Bluster hard enough and maybe the idiots will actually believe me.

The truth is that all of Johnson’s power is gone. He is entirely reliant upon Parliament to support his new deal, which is, unbelievably, looking possible.

But his “deal” isn’t actually a deal. It’s an offer to the EU, and the offer basically amounts to a fart in a jar.

The EU has given Johnson an extra week to find extra concessions that don’t create not one, but two borders on the island of Ireland. They have rejected his offer, politely but firmly, and that is the real lay of the land.

Johnson will not be able to find a revised deal in the space of a week. And so he will push on with no-deal, even though it is illegal.

As in, to pursue it would be to commit a crime. Quite how he will get out of that little hell of his own making is, currently, anyone’s guess.

But that’s for next week. Let’s have a quick review of this past one then drink ourselves to oblivion.

Links, as ever, in the subheadings.


MONDAY

The Tory conference was in full swing, and Sajid Javid announced plans to raise the minimum wage. This policy, like the entire Conservative Party Conference, is irrelevant in the immediate future, because the Tories have no majority, and so cannot enact it.

If, as per the other parties’ conferences, this is merely a policy designed to win a future election, it is also irrelevant. A General Election will be dominated by Brexit, and nothing more.

So that, like most politics of this current era, was an utter waste of time.

Meanwhile, the PM was in the midst of yet another scandal after Times journalist Charlotte Edwardes alleged he groped her under a table.

These allegations have fallen by the wayside since Boris announced his new proposals for Brexit.

Who could have possibly foreseen that?


TUESDAY

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, looking every part the Bond-girl who actually turns out to be working for the baddies, announced to the CPC that the UK would be turning to a points-based immigration model, like Australia.

See above for why this is, at its core, irrelevant and pointless.

She also warned criminals that “We are coming after you.”

One can only assume that upon hearing this, Boris Johnson quietly shat himself somewhere.

Anyway, Boris vowed to give the EU a “Final Offer,” which made the Conference irrelevant again.

Sorry. More irrelevant.


WEDNESDAY

Boris gave his keynote speech to the Tory Party Conference, and was much more like himself. He made a joke about the Speaker of the House eating a kangaroo testicle, however, which is a rather unfortunate mental image.

He was rightly praised on his delivery, but the speech was also entirely lacking in anything remotely close to substance. No policy announcements, nothing definitive over Brexit – just the repetitive, meaningless mantra of “Get Brexit Done.”

To be fair to him, he then tried to do just that. Boris sent a proposal to the EU which included customs checks across the Irish border, as-yet uninvented technology, and giving the DUP, the Northern Irish hard-right party, full control over the entire system.

Which, as I’m sure anyone with a passing knowledge of Brexit will know, is almost offensively crap.

The EU didn’t reject it outright, but gave overtures about dissatisfaction with parts of it.

By the EU’s standards, this is the equivalent of flipping Boris the bird and screaming “TA MERE” at him.


THURSDAY

Boris gave a statement to the House of Commons about his new proposals. He struck a conciliatory tone, a stark contrast to last week’s balls-to-the-wall, borderline offensive rhetoric.

He was praised by morons for trying to be kinder. People who aren’t morons quickly saw through his new tone as being a ploy to try and entice support from Leave-supporting Labour MPs.

It has, to some extent, worked. The rebels in the ERG who rejected May’s deal have all come on board, and at least five Labour MPs have openly stated that they will support the deal.

So, the big question – is this it? Is this what will, finally, break the Brexit logjam and smash us through into the reservoir of national harmony, drowning a few major cities of reasonable, fact-based dissent along the way?

No, it’s absolutely not.

Because it’s not a deal.

A deal requires two sides to accept it. The EU will not accept this paltry attempt at a deal. While Johnson may have whipped up support within Parliament to try and force the EU’s hand, they absolutely will not accept anything that could threaten the Good Friday Agreement or damage the EU’s trade customs.

So for all the optimistic rhetoric you will see on the front covers of the newspapers today, do not be fooled for one second – Brexit is not even remotely over.


FRIDAY

The EU has given Boris an extra week to try and make his deal more appetising than vomit-glazed roadkill. The kind of concessions they are asking him to achieve, however, are almost certainly not going to be palatable for the ERG and Labour supporters he has just managed to convince.

If he fails to do so, then the EU summit on the 17th of October, where Johnson hoped to finalise a deal, will be moot. It will be case of extension, or, somehow, no-deal, despite it being illegal.

This is the infuriating thing about our politics – despite it being clearly illegal, by virtue of the fact that we passed a sodding law saying it was, Johnson has ignored it and has just kept waffling on about it.

However, a Scottish court is currently considering whether or not Boris could be literally jailed for enacting a no-deal Brexit.

Boris might go to prison, you guys.

We will, almost certainly, delay Brexit again. If Boris refuses to do it, the EU has said it will listen to another representative of our democracy, possibly the head of the Civil Service, Sir Mark Sedwill.

And what of Boris? Will he be forced to stand down through his inability to “GET BREXIT DONE”? Or will he use his failure as a strength, pitting himself against “the anti-Brexit establishment”?

We shall have to wait and see. But it’s going to be a vicious, snarling couple of weeks.

Also, Rory Stewart is running for London Mayor as an independent candidate, having been kicked out of the Tory party. Quite a strange decision, given that he could easily have joined a different party or stood as an independent MP, but it might prove to be a good one for his career.

Just think. A few weeks ago, he was competing against Boris Johnson to be our Prime Minister. Imagine, just imagine, what things could have been like if he’d succeeded.

…Still shit, probably. But most likely considerably less so.

BEYOND THE PALE : A Bad Day For Brexit, But Hope For The Future


Yesterday was like watching politics through a fairground mirror. While normality, and sensibility, reigned out the outside, proceedings were bizarrely distorted through the looking-glass.

Boris Johnson gave his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference and, in all credit to him, was far better than he’s been over the last few weeks. Watching him yesterday, you’d think that Brexit was all but resolved, a mere dotted line left to sign before we trotted off into the sunset, flipping the bird at Brussels on our way out.

But, a few hours later, that all flew out of the window. Johnson sent the EU what he deemed to be a “Final Offer” deal.

It hasn’t received the warm welcome that Number 10 might have wanted.

While the EU has not publicly responded negatively to the offer, it is widely reported to have been furious with it behind closed doors.

So while Boris’s speech dazzled his adoring fans, the optimism might well be short-lived.

And who could have predicted that?


Preaching To The Converted Conservatives

After a few weeks of weak public performances, when put in front of the home crowd, Boris began to show some of his old, indefatigable spark.

He made jokes about firing Jeremy Corbyn into space, how the SNP leaders of ironically-named Sturgeon and Salmond want to give Scottish fishing to the EU, and John Bercow eating a Kangaroo testicle.

Yes, Boris was far more like himself again. And, as you’d expect, the right-wing media loved it.

But, as per my article on Tuesday, it simply doesn’t matter. Not one jot. All the optimism, the bravado, the bluster – all irrelevant.

Because the fact of the matter is, despite the slogan of “Get Brexit Done,” it simply isn’t Boris’ decision to make. It is Parliament’s, based on the assumption that the EU will give them a deal and/or an extension.

A deal takes two to tango, however. And while the EU may or may not be ready for a ballroom dance, Johnson is currently acting like the drunken uncle at a stag-do having a stab at breakdancing.


Deal With It

This afternoon, the government sent a new offer to the EU for a Brexit deal. The messaging coming from the Tory media machine this evening is simple – “This deal gets Brexit done. Back it.”

And, according to reports, some MPs from both the Conservative and Labour sides who want to leave with a deal are ready to back it. Which is great!

Assuming the EU accepts it.

Sadly, yet predictably, this is desperately unlikely – the offer is nothing short of insulting.

It contains customs checks across the Irish border, a requirement of as-yet uninvented technological advances, and requires the Northern Irish government to approve it. The Northern Irish government, for clarity, hasn’t been sitting for two and a half years, so is very unlikely to approve it any time soon.

Because it currently doesn’t exist.

Considering that all of these issues were raised way, way back in the days of Theresa May’s premiership, the fact that Boris has sanctioned a proposal that entirely fails to resolve any of them is nothing short of embarrassing.

Or, at least, it would be, were it not a part of an almost more embarrassing plan.

Johnson is trying to blame the EU for failing to give any concessions in the spirit of finding a deal. This, despite the fact that the EU’s negotiating partner, us, has wibble-wobbled from every conceivable position about what “Leave” actually means since June 2016.

But Johnson’s premiership has never been about Brexit. It has only, ever, been about winning an election. By putting this nonsense in front of the EU, he has, for all intents and purposes, said, “This is it. Take it or leave it, and leaving it means No-Deal.”

The EU, through a mixture of damage-limitation and probably pity by this stage, would rather no-deal didn’t happen. It would be devastating to the UK, damaging to the EU, and no-one would win from it.

To be clear, it would not be a clean break. A no-deal Brexit would result in years-upon-years of trade negotiations with the EU, all from a weakened bargaining position.

Yet here we are. Joris Sodding Bohnson, throwing the ball in the EU’s court, ignoring everything that’s happened over the last three years, and claiming that it’s their responsibility to concede to it.

Pull the other one, it hangs lower and has bells on.


So What Happens Now?

The EU, unlikely to want to unilaterally call Boris a moron, will wait for Leo Varadkar, the Republic of Ireland’s prime minister, or Taoiseach, to do it for them in pretty words.

Then, the EU themselves will say that the proposals are meaningless.

Johnson did, to some extent, precipitate this by stating that these proposals were “a broad landing zone,” allowing for more discussion to take place.

But you could consider slap-bang in the middle of the Atacama Desert as a broad landing zone, yet you’d still promptly die, no matter how much you pleaded with the sun itself for an oasis.

It was a final roll of the dice, and Boris will roll snake-eyes. Next comes the onslaught of “The EU didn’t like my decent proposal” bollocks, followed by an election campaign of lies, followed by a hung-parliament and yet more confusion and anger until the mid 2020s.

Assuming the EU don’t tell us to just piss off.

At this stage, it’s not unconceivable that they might just do that.


Christ. What Else?

Well, Parliament’s being prorogued again next Tuesday, which is always fun, as the government has learned.

This time, it’s only for three days, and is entirely defensible – for all of Parliament’s words, they haven’t done all that much scrutiny since returning.

Mostly because Johnson has been far too cowardly to face them, and is apparently too terrified of scrutiny that he refuses to stand before them and defend his views. By proroguing next Tuesday, Johnson will only have faced one PMQs in his entire 9-week premiership.

Tells you a lot about those who support the Prime Minister that they don’t want him to face even the most basic level of scrutiny.

But, hey ho, that’s the world we live in.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Is There Any Good News?

While our MPs have been back, they have been able to discuss a truly remarkable piece of legislation about domestic violence.

Theresa May had a pretty crappy premiership. This, I would argue, is uncontroversial.

But she did try to make a legacy for herself by creating legislation to protect those trapped in abusive relationships, which is unquestionably a dignified and much-needed proposal.

As such, because of prorogation being deemed illegal last week (*trumpet sounds*), a bill that she worked tirelessly on wasn’t dropped, but instead was reintroduced to Parliament. Yesterday, MPs debated it again, and it was a stark, much-needed reminder that, actually, our system does work.

May herself gave an impassioned speech on the Bill, full of care and emotion. As utterly crap as she was as Home Secretary and as tainted her reign as PM will be, what this writer considers to be her true colours came across during yesterday’s speech.

Additionally, if you can spare a few minutes, watch Labour MP Rosie Duffield speak openly, candidly, and heartbreakingly about her own experiences of an abusive relationship.

This is what our Parliament should be. A chamber full of people who care, deeply, about the issues and rights of their constituents, who are unafraid to speak out against injustices, and who work tirelessly against them.

What is heartbreaking is that this is what the vast majority of our Parliament already is. It is just a few, a sad few, who have driven us to the precipice of madness.

The ones who get the most screen-time and the most publicity through hyperbole and division are, in our current times, the ones who are most influential.

But, deep down, our system works. And it works well. Those who wish to distort the system for their own gains (Johnson) are told to piss off and stop being so stupid by the institutions (the legislature and the judiciary) that make our constitution, and our nation, Great.


We’re in the Brexit end-game now. There will be a colossal fall-out from it. Leave or Remain, Business or Community, Right or Left – there will be nationwide discontent, whatever the outcome.

But at our core, our very centre, is a room full of elected Members of Parliament, across both sides of the House, who really do care about the people, rather than themselves.

The days of those who lie and obfuscate for their own gain are numbered. How much damage they will do on their way out depends on what happens next.

There is a bright future out there, after Brexit.

How we get there is yet to be seen.

Weekly Wrap-Up : DICKTATORSHIP


Hello, the internet.

I have something to confess. I sat at my keyboard two nights ago, with a very large whisky in my hand, and tried to write about what I had witnessed in Parliament.

I try, in everything I do, to be considerate, often to a fault. I always try to see the opposing side in what I argue, and to temper my own beliefs by that principle. Call it a lack of conviction, call it a misguided attempt to see the good in everything, I don’t care. I simply don’t believe that anyone can have a viewpoint, based on emotion alone, that supersedes someone else’s.

I appreciate that to those who don’t know me will also read the following sentence and be tempted to think, “What a liberal, airy-fairy snowflake.”

But when I tried to write an article on Wednesday night, I found myself staring at my computer screen and being so uncontrollably angry that I couldn’t even write anything.

I am invested, heavily, in the political times we live in. I have always followed politics with huge interest, because I believe that politics itself is, at its core, a supranational examination of the psychology of the human race. There is so much data that politics gives us about how people feel about the society they live in – and this is fascinating to me.

But that is not what the effect of politics should be. Politics, and government, should be about a group of elected people, in a democracy, debating idealogical viewpoints in a considered, fair manner, and to come up with a solution that protects the most vulnerable in our society and is fair for everyone else.

Nothing in the above has happened over the last two days. It has been, and I say this without hesitation or fear of hyperbole, utterly chilling.

Make no mistake, we live in dangerous times. Let’s file through this wrap-up and have a long, hard look at ourselves.

Links, as ever, in the days of the week.


MONDAY

Before this week’s Supreme Court ruling, Johnson had yet another disaster on his hands. The Sunday Times alleged that he had personally intervened to help the business of a young, attractive American business-owner while he was Mayor of London.

He did so by providing grants generated by public funds (our taxes) to assist her companies, and also personally intervened to allow her access to international trade missions.

We can only speculate about their relationship beyond this, but the businesswoman in question had a stripping-pole in the living room of her Shoreditch flat, which Boris Johnson has been reported to frequent.

Given that the man is a renowned, serial womaniser, I leave it you, enlightened reader, to draw your own conclusions.

Isn’t it hilarious that we live in a country where our leader using our tax-money to bang an ex-model-turned-businesswoman isn’t the most controversial story of the week?

No.

It’s fucking not.


TUESDAY

The big one.

Look, read the blog in the link above if you want the full details of what happened on Tuesday, but what happened after is now more important.

Let’s consider the basic facts of the Supreme Court’s ruling:

  1. Boris Johnson’s move to prorogue Parliament was unconstitutional;
  2. This is because he tried to deny Parliament its role as a legitimate scrutiniser of the government;
  3. While not a direct part of the ruling, the inherent implication of it dictates that Johnson must have lied to the Queen in order to enact it.

So what would you do, having been found in contempt of our ancient system of laws? How would you feel, having been told by the finest legal minds of our country that you were acting against the very laws that define the fabric of our society?


WEDNESDAY

Yep, that’s right. You’d be an amoral, narcissistic, patronising liar.

Johnson had every chance to use this opportunity to back off. He could have started to form a consensus across Parliament to vote for a new, negotiated deal, which is currently his only way for us to leave on October 31st, as per his promise.

Instead, he elected to send his Attorney-General, Sir Geoffrey Cox, out to wax lyrical (in an admittedly gorgeous baritone sonority) about this “Dead Parliament.” Then, when he himself made a statement to House of Commons, his lack of contrition was not, despite appearances, deranged.

It was deliberate.

He undermined the status of the top judges of the land. So we are clear, they did not overstep their boundaries : we live in a constitutional democracy, and the role of the judiciary is to prevent executives like his from becoming dictatorships.

Again, this sounds hyperbolic, but it is not – this government cares so little for the views of the democratically-elected members that it would rather see them silenced than face proper scrutiny.

He flipped a huge finger to those judges, and then made one of the most abhorrent errors of judgement I have ever seen, politically or not.

Jo Cox, so we are abundantly clear, was pro-EU. It was for this stance, amongst others, that she was murdered.

I don’t agree with her name being used by Labour politicians. I think that to use the name of someone that was knifed down by a psychopath for political gain is disingenuous, unless used in a progressive way (as per the Jo Cox Foundation, which is absolutely fabulous). To use it to score points off your opponents is, at best, in bad taste.

That does not, ever, in any conceivable manner, give Boris Johnson the right to tell an MP that has received death threats that her views are “humbug.” It gives him even less right to say that to honour Jo Cox’s death, “Brexit should be delivered.”

She was pro-EU, you vacuum of decency, shrouded under a blonde merkin plucked from the undercarriage of the lady of liberty herself. You absolute degenerate, entitled, feeble, deplorable fuck-wit.

This is why I couldn’t write my blog two nights ago. My fury at the man who holds the highest office in the land holds no bounds.

I, like the Prime Minister, am an Old Etonian. I had every privilege made available to me when I was younger, and I understand what comes of being an Old Etonian, both good and bad.

I understand the anger that is directed towards us, and I understand why. To stand before our democratically-elected Parliament and declare that you know better is, at its core, one of the most fundamentally diabolical things I have ever heard.

By feeling entitled rather than privileged, Boris Johnson has shown a lack of human empathy on a fundamental level. The man is totally, unerringly, deranged.

And more than that: he is unworthy of the highest office of our land.

I write all of the above aware of its hyperbolic nature. I do not say anything lightly, and I respect the views of all who oppose it.

But Boris Johnson can, in no uncertain terms, suck hard, and true, upon my sphincter.

Fuck off Boris, you absolute weapon.

ALL HALE BREAKS LOOSE : Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY Declares Prorogation Illegal, Null and Void


Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

Lady Hale, president of the Supreme Court, just announced that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament was illegal.

It was also null and void, and “Parliament is not prorogued.”

This was a unanimous verdict of all eleven Supreme Court judges. This, despite them all having differing opinions on politics, the application of the law, and justice.

They all decided that our Prime Minister, our leader, acted illegally.


I Fought The Law And The… Law Won. Hard.

The general predictions about today’s ruling were that it would be hard-fought amongst the eleven justices. The varying opinions would have meant that a compromise ruling would likely have been found (although a unanimous decision was not required).

Pundits across the judicial and political spheres thought that the Supreme Court would likely decide the following:

  • That the prorogation was justiciable (i.e. a legal, not political, matter);
  • That the prorogation was, in this instance, unlawful;
  • But as it was unprecedented territory, the Court would give a verbal slap on the wrist to the Prime Minister and perhaps spell out the law for future rulings.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

The key difference is the third part of the ruling, or the “remedies.” The Supreme Court ruled that the Prime Minister’s actions were unlawful, and that this prorogation, in legal terms, never happened.

Both barrels. Bang. Bang.


Why Was The Ruling So Severe?

Lady Hale, in her address where she announced the ruling, insinuated that the lack of any kind of evidence from Number 10’s office was a key factor in the ruling. In summary, Johnson failed to provide a sworn statement from any staff member within his office that stated that he was telling the truth.

Essentially, Johnson had told everyone, from the Queen to the public, that he was proroguing Parliament for a Queen’s Speech rather than to deny Parliament its ability to scrutinise the government, but had no proof for this. The only proof was to the contrary.

The Supreme Court inferred from this that prorogation was never about a Queen’s Speech, but to prevent Parliamentary scrutiny. The ruling isn’t about Johnson lying to the Queen, but preventing our democratic system from working effectively.

For more details on this, last week’s article explains the details of the case in full, here.

The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling demonstrates the sentiment within the highest judicial court in the land that our constitution needs to be protected against populist, untruthful governments.

And good God, they have laid down the law.


Is This A Good Thing?

Yes. Categorically yes.

Whatever your views on Brexit, Leave or Remain, there is a simple truth at the heart of it.

It cannot happen without it being carried out legally, democratically, and through the proper channels. Yes, the referendum was a rare, direct expression of democracy in a representative system, but the open-ended nature of the answer “Leave” means that it falls to our elected representatives to enact it as they see fit.

While the last few months (/years) have been tortuous, everything has happened in the correct way. It’s been stifling, divisive and infuriating, yet it has been lawful.

Our Prime Minister, egged on by his Machiavellian aide, Dominic Cummings, has tried to break our constitution to carry out the wishes of roughly half of our country’s citizens. The highest court in the land has judged him to have lied to all of us, and bypass democracy, to push through Brexit at all costs.

If nothing else, there is a practical argument here, too – a Brexit that is unlawful is open to legal challenge. If no-deal, or even any kind of Brexit, had happened through unlawful means, it would be challenged again, and again, and again.

It would never end.

Today, one pillar of our constitutional system protected our democracy from manipulation by those who do not respect it. Parliament’s role as a scrutiniser of Government has been safeguarded, and the Supreme Court has made clear that those who wish to run roughshod over our democratically-elected politicians will be stopped.


So… What Now?

Theoretically, and most likely, Parliament returns tomorrow.

Tomorrow is usually PMQs. It is desperately unfortunate that Boris Johnson is currently in the US attending a UN Climate Summit, because that would have been one hell of a PMQs.

It is meant to be Johnson’s prerogative to recall Parliament, but seeing as Parliament isn’t actually suspended anymore, there is nothing to stop MPs from returning tomorrow morning.

What of Johnson? What of Cummings? Both should, by most accounts, resign immediately. But if the Prime Minister resigns or loses a vote of no confidence, does that mean that Parliament is dissolved for a General Election? If that happens, a no-deal Brexit might happen by default (although thanks to the Benn Bill, a chosen representative would probably ask the EU for an extension instead of the Prime Minister).

There is talk of a government of national unity being formed, a cross-party coalition of MPs who will work to solve Brexit before having a General Election, but it’s hard to see how one might be formed, or what it might achieve.

All in all, what comes next is anyone’s guess. But make no mistake – today’s ruling was historic. Shocking, yes, but historic.

And, unless you’re Boris Johnson, a day worth celebrating.

CONTACTS, CONFERENCE AND CONFLICT : PM In New Scandal, Labour Lose Plot

Even the weekends are mad these days.

We enter this week with the real chance of it being Johnson’s worst yet since becoming Prime Minister. Either today or tomorrow, the Supreme Court will make its ruling on his prorogation of Parliament, and whether or not it was legal.

If they rule that it was illegal, the ramifications could be huge. Parliament may have to be recalled, Johnson may call another prorogation, or more legal challenges could be made against him.

Yet even if he wins the legal challenge, another scandal that broke over the weekend could yet fatally damage him.

Also, the scandal might be Johnson’s first about misusing his “Johnson” since becoming Prime Minister!

Sound the “headlines-we-all-knew-were-coming bingo” klaxon.

Also, the Labour Party has been having its conference over the weekend. Here, the plan was that the party would come together, form a unified front, and finally be the Opposition the country needs them to be!

Q: How did that go, I wonder?


A: ABSOLUTELY F*CKING TERRIBLY

What was meant to bring the Labour Party together actually threatened to finally tear it apart over the weekend. Reports emerged late on Friday night that Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the party and prominent People’s Vote campaigner, was to be kicked out.

A senior Corbyn-ally tabled a motion for the position of deputy leader to be disbanded, thereby removing Watson from office. The fears amongst prominent Labour leaders was that should Corbyn resign (which has been lightly-rumoured) then Watson would inherit the leadership by default.

Seeing as Corbyn has been slowly filling the other positions of power around him with far-left, largely Brexit-favouring allies, Watson’s Remainer disposition put him at odds with many of Labour’s head honchos.

Not, however, with everyone in the Labour Party.

Corbyn’s stance on Brexit is to remain impartial to Leave vs. Remain. If, however, Labour were in government, they would negotiate a new deal with the EU then hold a referendum on it : this deal, or Remain.

However, many within the party have already broken rank on this – Emily Thornberry, Sir Keir Starmer and Watson himself have all prominently spoken about their preferences to Remain.

This is directly contravening the party’s leaders – and they are the most vocal of a very large number of moderate Labour MPs. The rifts between the party are getting worse and worse, just in time for a General Election.

Just to compound things further, one of Corbyn’s closest allies, Andrew Fisher, also left the party the previous weekend. Fisher, who helped write the 2017 manifesto for Labour, left with a note criticising the leader’s office and their “lack of professionalism, competence and human decency.”

Ouch.


JOHNSON’S JOHNSON STRIKES AGAIN

In other news, Boris Johnson might have used government funds to help the career of an American businesswoman whose apartment he frequented.

Yep, that’s just another headline that rolls by, these days.

The Sunday Times, who are easily winning the media war for best investigative journalism over recent months, revealed in an article yesterday that Johnson, while London mayor, might have used his position and public money to help promote a “friend” of his.

This friend is Jennifer Arcuri, a former model who is now a tech entrepreneur. The Sunday Times alleges that Johnson personally intervened to allow Arcuri access to international trade missions, give her company sponsorship grants and even win a £100,000 government grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

This grant was for UK-based start-up companies. Miss Arcuri left the UK in 2018, but registered the company at a rental house in Cheshire, the Times claims.

If you want to see just how closely Johnson got to Arcuri’s career, have a little gander at this:

Just to add more lighter fluid to the barrel-fire that is this story, it is alleged that Johnson frequently visited Ms. Arcuri’s Shoreditch flat. Far be it for me to speculate on the activities of a convicted serial womaniser, but I doubt that Johnson would have been able to concentrate on any business-oriented meetings there, what with the stripper-pole that is in the centre of the flat.

Look, these kinds of headlines used to kill careers. But these days, in this environment, it’s likely that we’ll forget all about this. I hope we don’t, as if this story is proved true then it means that a politician used public funds, our taxes, to give preferential treatment to a foreign businesswoman.

But, despite everything, I think he’ll survive it. The man has enough puncture wounds to kill a rhino, but he keeps trundling on regardless.

Today could prove to be the day where his chickens come home to roost. And they may roost pretty damn hard. Serious, next-level roosting.

But do not think that the fight is gone out of this Prime Minister yet. With his opposition about to quite literally fall apart and anger against the Lib-Dems’ “Revoke or Bust” policy, he may yet survive.

At what cost, however, remains to be seen.

Weekly Wrap-Up : PANNICK! AT THE DISCO

Since our last article, it’s been a disquietingly calm week. Monday was, yet again, a day of pandemonium and chaos – David Cameron’s memoirs were scathing on Johnson’s political career, and the PM of Luxembourg threw him under a bus.

It was subjectively hilarious / infuriating, and at the very least a pretty dire diplomatic move.

But since then, the mood has calmed, despite the stakes being higher than ever.

We’ve been treated to a smorgasbord of mayhem over the last few weeks. Johnson has the worst voting record of a Prime Minister in living memory, he’s been routinely heckled and lambasted by the public, and our politics is reaching breaking point.

But the last few days have been different. A challenge to our political system, for sure, but something more serene.

While the last few weeks have seen various, nefarious parties kicking the proverbial beehive to see if they get stung, this week has seen the big boys come out to play.

Enter: the judicial system.


What In Christ’s Name Does That Mean

Ok look, the fact of the matter is that you shouldn’t have to know what the judicial system does. I mean, sure, you know that “juries” and “lawyers” and “judges” might sentence you to a million years in prison for that time you bought a train ticket without a Railcard.

Everyone knows that. And they will find you.

And they will punish you.

But what most people don’t know is that that very same system actually prevents our leaders from turning into Joseph Stalin.

The last few days have been excruciatingly exciting for nerds like me. But in order to understand why, you have to understand the British Constitution.

I know that for most of you reading this, you’d probably rather have your phone in a constant state of GPRS than actually learn about the intricacies of British constitutional law.

Luckily for you, I’m very generous. The below is about as basic and top-line as you can get, but explains how our system works.

It is also the first of many new infographics that Between the Lines is commissioning around British politics – please do get in touch with any requests for what to do next.



Ok, But What Does All Of This Mean?

Right, then. Have you been reading closely?

Johnson, Cummings, and the aides at No. 10 are The Executive. Somehow, that is where we’re now at – a full investigation into Cummings is in the pipeline for Between the Lines, and I urge you to read it upon its release.

Watch this space. Anyway.

By proroguing Parliament for the length of time they have suggested (five weeks), at the time they have done it, they have, arguably, denied The Legislature from scrutinising their policies.

Their main policy in this instance, if clarification was needed, is to leave on October 31st, deal, no-deal or bust. The Prime Minister himself has said so, many times.

Allegedly, Boris Johnson prorogued Parliament, denying it the chance to scrutinise his policies. He claimed that this was a perfectly ordinary thing to do, because he was in charge of a new government.

Traditionally, this is largely true – a new government would usually prorogue Parliament for a few days before a Queen’s Speech. At a Queen’s Speech, a new timetable would be announced for passing new laws and creating a new agenda for Parliament to consider.

Not only is this normal, it is a good way to govern – set out a timetable for when you wish to discuss things, allow your opponents an opportunity to scrutinise, and then create the laws that Parliament agrees to.

However, in this instance, Johnson used this power to deny Parliament a say in what is arguably the most divisive issue of our lifetime.

…Allegedly.


Ok, So Boris Used A Power He Had To Silence Parliament… Why Are Lawyers Now Involved?

Because there were two different legal cases run against the government last week. One in England (the Gina Miller one), and one in Scotland.

The English one failed, and the Scottish one (eventually) succeeded. The events at the Supreme Court this week dealt with both – an appeal against the English verdict, and the government trying to overturn the Scottish verdict.

Woof. Still with me? Let’s have a minute to decompress.

Have this stock photo of a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy to do so.

What Has Actually Happened?

According to my partner, who a) passed the bar some years back and b) is far more intelligent than me, it was “a legal ladyboner” to watch the very best judicial minds in the country at work.

Lord Keen, on behalf of Johnson’s government, said that prorogation, by the nature of it being the government’s prerogative, was entirely legal. For judges and lawyers to enter the fray would be, to quote, a “minefield.”

Our three pillars have to exist independently of one another. Lord Keen’s argument was that this would be the Judiciary influencing the Executive, which would breach constitutional law.

Lord Pannick, the exquisitely-named barrister for the defence (brought by Miller), gave a masterclass on constitutional law, and the need for a Supreme Court intervention.

His argument was thus: the Supreme Court exists to enforce the laws of the land, especially those of the constitution – i.e. the laws that define our society. Despite the need for separation of powers, were someone to act against the laws of the constitution, it is the judiciary’s responsibility to act.

Johnson, he argued, was acting unconstitutionally.

What evidence is there for this? Usually in cases like this, the government would be able to provide a witness, who would be legally bound to tell the truth to the court.

No-one within the confines of No. 10 was willing to be a witness, presumably because they were terrified of perjuring themselves (lying in court – a very serious crime).

Additionally, documents were released in the first wave of legal challenges against prorogation that implied that the government was manipulating constitutional law to its own advantage.

A bold, if stupid move, if proved to be true.


So What Happens Now?

Nothing until Monday, at the very earliest.

There are a plethora of different verdicts the Supreme Court could give, but the early warning signs suggest it will be a profoundly bad day for the government.

If the Supreme Court finds Johnson guilty:

  • He might have to bring Parliament back early;
  • He might also refuse to do so;
  • If he does, Parliament will tear the Operation Yellowhammer documents to pieces as he will be forced to debate them in the House of Commons;
  • Whatever happens, he might have to go to prison;
  • No. Seriously. We might have to imprison our own Prime Minister.

It is unlikely. But frankly, so is everything these days.

If nothing else, Johnson has had a succession of appalling Mondays. It would either be fitting, tragic, or hilarious, depending on your views, that this next one might be the worst yet.

We await the ruling of the Supreme Court in anticipation. Whatever its verdict, however, it will be, without hyperbole, historic.

We live in strange times.

Enjoy your weekends!