The problem with Parliament and the political system is that we have become fixated by ourselves and our inability to carry out the will of the people. The moment the rugby club becomes obsessed with its constitution is the moment it starts losing matches. And most of this week’s turbulence and acrimony has all of the hallmarks of a rugby club committee falling out with itself.
The Supreme Court’s judgement is important. Of course it is. But it disagrees with the Master of The Rolls, and a great many other very senior judges. It is in fact making a new law; and that it is a serious matter for our constitution. Who runs Britain? Parliament? Or the Government? Or the Judiciary? These are complex and delicate constitutional matters which great minds will ponder over for many decades to come. They are most certainly not the material for political knock-about as they have become this week.
I anyhow maintain my view that Proroguing was the right and the perfectly normal thing to do. We do it every year at this time, leaving time for the Party Conferences followed by a Queen’s Speech. The Labour and Liberal parties, having presided over a shambles of a Conference have now refused the Tory request to allow ours to continue as normal. Good democracy there, eh? The Supreme Court ruling means that there can be no certainty about a Queen’s Speech, making this the longest ever Parliament, and removing the Government’s right to legislate and run the country. The Judges may be legally correct; but their judgement will have very real consequences for our constitution and for future governments’ ability to govern.
In the meantime, Mr Speaker Bercow has allowed the whole principle of Parliamentary democracy to be undermined by one seemingly harmless or obscure change to Parliamentary procedure - namely allowing Standing Order 24 debates to have Executive authority. That has allowed backbenchers to take control of the Government. They did so in July and passed a law requiring the PM to write to the EU requesting an extension to Article 50. The PM is so far refusing to do so, although I suspect that the lawyers are preparing for another field day over it.
All of this is being discussed in an atmosphere of discord and acrimony of a kind I have never seen, and which does our Parliamentary reputation no favours. Its like a very bad-tempered football match – teams support Rangers or Celtic, and never the twain shall meet. It’s a binary choice - Remain or Leave - with often very little sane and balanced discussion entering into it. Only a General Election will lance the boil which is at the heart of our political discourse. Yet Labour and the Lib Dems will not allow us to call one. Is that because they are afraid that they would lose? Or is it because many parts of the Labour Party are terrified of the thought of their own Leader in No 10?
There is no way out of this impasse without a General Election. We have no majority; we are being hamstrung in our efforts to carry out the will of the people so clearly expressed in the Referendum; we cannot prorogue; and the Labour and Liberal parties are trying to prevent us going to the people in a General Election.
They would frustrate the will of the people. And apparently they do not think twice about doing so by scrapping so much that is good and essential about our laws and constitution and Parliamentary tradition. The only truth is that the people voted to leave the EU. That is what we must now do.