We all knew this was coming because the Conservatives announced their plan to attack the so-called separation of powers that prevents our country from slipping into dictatorship back in 2019.
It was in their manifesto, which means everybody who voted for Boris Johnson and his Conservatives deliberately and knowingly supported it.
For those who have had their heads in the sand for the last two years, or have only become politically aware since the election, I’ll explain:
The separation of powers is the division of any state’s government into different branches, each with its own powers and responsibilities.
The intention is to prevent the concentration of power under any leader that would lead to a dictatorship, by providing checks and balances: each branch has power to limit or check the other two, induces them to prevent either of the other branches from becoming supreme, thereby securing political liberty.
The typical separation of powers is into three parts: a legislature (Parliament), an executive (government) and a judiciary (courts). That is what we have in the United Kingdom.
Each branch must have legitimate means to defend their own legitimate powers from those of the other branches.
But Boris Johnson’s plan – as laid out in his 2019 manifesto – is to strip the courts of their power to act as a check and balance against his government, allowing himself to enact laws that would be illegal otherwise.
Currently the courts have a mechanism known as judicial review, which allows them to decide whether decisions by government ministers or public bodies are against the law.
As it stands now, it works very well.
The courts cannot overturn Acts of Parliament; they can only rule that decisions made in the name of particular laws were wrong because either a minister did not have the power to make them, or the process leading to them was unfair or irrational – or does not conform with the Human Rights Act.
Most appeals for judicial review do not reach the courts: in 2018, 3,597 were lodged and only 218 saw the inside of a courtroom. The government went on to win half of them.
But Johnson was upset by two court decisions – on the government’s management of Brexit, and on his aborted prorogation of Parliament.
He says that the decisions of the judges meant they were acting politically, considering the merits of his government’s political decisions rather than the way those decisions were made. This is not true.
The claim that the current system allows judges to retake decisions on how a policy should operate is wrong. They don’t. They have stepped in to clarify the law after the government failed to do so – probably in an attempt to push through offences against democracy under a fuzzily-worded law – but that is not the same thing. The courts have merely acted in accordance with their power to rule whether the government acted within the bounds of its own laws or not.
So now, Johnson intends to ensuring that, when his government breaks the law in the future, the courts will not have the power either to reveal the illegality or to prevent it.
It is part of the three pillars of his manifesto that drag us into dictatorship – the other two being removal of our right to protest (in the Police Bill currently going through Parliament) and imposition of indefinite government (by repealing the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, which has not yet happened).
All were on page 48 of the Tories 2019 manifesto.
I stated in an article a week before the 2019 election:
While the manifesto states: “We will get rid of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act – it has led to paralysis at a time the country needed decisive action,” it means: We will impose an indefinite Conservative government.
While it states: “We will ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays,” it means: We will impose a Conservative dictatorship that the courts cannot stop from acting illegally.
And while it states: “We will update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government,” it means: We will remove your right to protest against our dictatorship and if you try to stop us, we will use the police and the armed forces to PUT YOU DOWN.
If you vote Conservative on December 12, that is what you are demanding.
And they did demand it. More than 13 million people voted for a dictatorship – less than one-quarter of the UK’s population – but that was enough to give Johnson a mandate to end democracy here.
A vote for the Conservatives is a vote to end the rule of law.
And I was right. But my words were read only by those who already knew the truth of what I was saying.
Now we’re all going to experience it, and it will be very ugly indeed.
But if you ever see a Tory complaining about the hardships that are to come, feel free to remind them:
You voted for it. You wanted it. And you got what you wanted.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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