Thursday, 12 September 2019

Heads the SNP win, tails the SNP win

In terms of exposing the holes, gaps and inconsistencies in the UK’s unwritten constitution, Brexit is the gift that just keeps giving.  It is, of course, an entirely natural concomitant of having two or more different legal systems in operation that something which is lawful in one can be unlawful in another.  It is perfectly possible that the Scottish court which ruled prorogation unlawful and the English court which ruled it lawful are both entirely correct in terms of their own respective legal systems.  The problem arises in that the same action – prorogation – has effect in both jurisdictions, and it cannot remain both lawful and unlawful for long.
The Supreme Court will make a legal ruling, of course, rather than a political one, but the real impact of their decision will be political.  They could rule that it is lawful, but however such a ruling is presented it will inevitably look like a statement that English law trumps Scottish law.  Telling Scotland that their law is inferior isn’t the best way of promoting the idea of a union of equals.  On the other hand, they could rule that the decision cannot be lawful overall unless it is lawful in all relevant jurisdictions.  That would be an entirely reasonable legal outcome, reminding the UK government that it needs to consider the law in all parts of the UK before acting, but it would inevitably cue a hostile response from Brexiteers towards those ‘uppity Jocks’ who dare to have a legal system which stands in the way of the English majority.  Another good way of making the Scots feel like valued partners.
The words of that famous Scot who talked about weaving a tangled web will surely be ringing loudly in the PM’s ears.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the Scots to go independent. Just imagine the economic hardship after leaving the union!

Maybe Donald Trump will make an offer to buy the country. Granted, a whole lot less to offer than Greenland but for sure a damn sight cheaper!

John Dixon said...

"Just imagine the economic hardship after leaving the union!" That's your opinion, to which you are, of course, entirely entitled. I would point out, however, that other opinions are available - some of them even supported by evidence rather than sweeping assertion.

Anonymous said...

And doubtless these 'other opinions' are also of the view that the UK would benefit economically from leaving the EU.

See, nothing is ever what it seems!

John Dixon said...

Actually, it's far from 'doubtless'. But I almost admire your mastery of the utter non sequitur.

Spirit of BME said...

You draw out some very interesting points, but one assumption is not correct in that the English and Scottish legal systems “are equal” – well, it once was when the Scottish Parliament signed the Act of Union, but then the ink dried on the document and from that moment – England Rules -O.K.
I have only read the outline of the decision which was delivered and it states that HMQ did act lawfully in the actions that was taken, but the motivation was “political” by those ghastly politicians who made her do it. Which in itself was a neat way for the judges to hang on to their jobs.