Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

  • A
  • Atom
  • Manhatten
  • News
  • Thames

Please click on the article's title to share or comment on an item

Pin It

 

There are very excitable views everywhere across the political stage and amongst the public.  Everyone has an opinion, everyone thinks they are right and all others are wrong.  Everyone believes they are informed, knowledgable and on the right track with their views.  In some respects it is good that there is a wide expression of feeling and viewpoint - that is the very essence of freedom of speech, a freedom that we have as a nation long fought to uphold and protect.  Yet it also signifies how unclear the issues under debate are, how polar extremes have become the focus of our social dialogue and, as illustrated by the recent Supreme Court ruling, how confused the boundaries of constitutional involvement in our overall governance matters have become.  This is not entirely new....

Such political upsets have occurred throughout our evolutionary history, particularly over the last three centuries or so, and each of those has resulted in some significant political reform, enfranchisement or shift in the balance of power.  And that is what is happening in Britain now.  The fact that Brexit is the focus of all the wrangling is, in part, coincidental, but what we are really witnessing is a groundswell of public fervour for political and governmental change.  That change is not merely an election that foists another new set of existing politicians upon us and perpetuates the same old system, it is change that demands a major re-think about how our parliamentary system works now and what it should look like for at least the century ahead.  It is in part about how our parliamentary representatives get into the House of Commons, selection procedures, the % of votes that they need to acquire the position, whether they belong to specific political party’s or not, whether MP’s should be allowed to cross the floor and vote according to the constitutional mandate they hold rather than the Party Whip enforced procedures we now have.  And the list can go on and on.  It is a very complex matter to bring about meaningful reform and it needs serious and broadly minded people to be involved in that reckoning.  And hanging like the Sword of Damocles above all is the law - not just the law of the land as we see on a daily basis, but the constitutional law that sits - in theory - above the political strata and independent of it and guides the complex interpretations of practise and convention.  In this area, what the BBC has dubbed the ‘triangle of power’ that notionally joins the executive in Downing Street, the legislature in Westminster and the judiciary in the form of the Supreme Court is somewhat peculiar insofar as this triangle - if it really exists - draws the courts into the political arena on matters of constitutional interpretation.  Quite apart from their recent judgement upon the lawfulness of the government proroguing parliament, their inclusion in the determination process of what a government can and cannot do for political purposes distinctly involves them in partisan politics, and by extension this injects bias into their legal judgements.  

Now in a dynamic of political reform, it may well be that a reform of the judicial structures might also need to occur - the Supreme Court, for example, is not an historical institution and has only existed for a handful of years - and the decision as to whether the judiciary at this highest level of appeal should remain politically embraced or not would need to be made.  Historically, of course, the judiciary has remained outside of the political sphere, so the Supreme Court has found itself to be in the peculiar position of having wilfully stepped into that arena - and as far as Bristling Brock is concerned that has set a dangerous precedent.  Britain is facing a period of political upheaval and shifting sands.  Reform will not come in a singular thrust, it will take a decade, perhaps more, to take incremental steps toward a better, more representative and more effective system of governance and parliamentary oversight, but during that time it is important for public fervour to be sustained, for the evidence of societal demand to be ever visible to government and the judiciary.  Brexit has provided a touch-paper to ignite passions - from all viewpoint positions - so we should not waste this once in a lifetime opportunity to take the opportunity to re-shape and reform our nation state.  After all, we’ve been doing that endlessly for a thousand years already...