The President of the Supreme Court says 'politicians' not protecting rule of law (and we know who he means)
The rule of law is something we take for granted in this country. We shouldn't: it's infinitely precious, as a look at Turkey or Russia or Poland or even the USA should show us, never mind the rest of the world . It is a more fundamental requirement for a decent, liberal society even than democracy itself. For the rule of law came first. And without it, democracy can be oppressive, and can consume itself, as we are beginning to see in the USA.
So when the President of our Supreme Court says that the rule of law right here, in Britain, is being threatened, and that politicans aren't protecting it, it's time to wake up.
He's talking of the hate campaign orchestrated by Mail and some Tory politicians against the Supreme Court for doing its job: upholding the law - over the need for Parliamentary approval for withdrawal from the EU. (That the Mail can think it wicked to say Parliament should have a say shows how utterly without principle mad Brexiters have become.) Tha Mail complained that the highest judges in the land were 'unaccountable' - showing how little store it sets by the independence of the judiciary - and the highly personal attacks not only on their judges, but also on their spouses and children, were disgusting. It is no exaggeration to say it recalled how the Nazis (old friends of the Mail, of course!) undermined the courts in Germany prior to their take over. (To be clear, I am not saying that the situation is the same, that would be utterly ludicrous: only that there are some similarities in the mindset).
When Neuberger says that 'politicians' weren't quick enough, or clear enough, to defend the rule of law, it is very clear who he means: he means the very person whose constitutional role in it is to defend the rule of law: the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, who was much criticised for not responding quickly enough to the Mail's attack, and then when she was finally shamed into doing so, mounting only the limpest of rebukes.
Some people worried when she was appointed that she might not have the standing and clout for a job which must sometime mean standing against what the media or politicians, even your own side, say or demand. I thought at the time that was mere sexism. Now it's clear: she just isn't up to it, she either doesn't understand the job or lacks the gumption to do it when it matters. If, God forbid, the passing of time shows the rule of law in this country is on a downward path, we will know where the rot started: with an inadequate Lord Chancellor who, faced with a choice between defending the judiciary and the rule of law, or keeping in with the hate-mongers of the Mail, opted for the latter.
I was formerly Finance Director of the Prison Service and then Director of the National Offender Management Service responsible for competition. I also worked in the NHS and an IT company. I later worked for two outsourcing companies.
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