The Brexit revolution needs to find its friends where it can.
Personally, I don’t think that the Daily Mail went far enough in its denunciation of the judges. I have read the history of the French Revolution, and I know what comes next. I want to keep my head fixed to its shoulders, and so I am siding early with the Jacobins in their struggle to ensure the purity of Brexit.
My low membership number will protect me.
The Daily Mail was right to denounce the lord chief justice as the ‘judge who is a founder member of (a) euro law club’, ‘a club of lawyers and academics aiming to ‘improve’ EU law’. I have been to the headquarters of the European Law Institute (ELI), the club in question, and worked with its members.
This was under the ancien regime, you understand, when such contacts were acceptable. It was considered a most distinguished organisation, conducting research, making recommendations and providing practical guidance for European legal development. It aims to be the European counterpart to another distinguished body, the American Law Institute.
If you look at the ELI’s most recent newsletter, you will see that it is running various complex legal projects, such as with Unidroit on rules of European civil procedure, or on the prevention and settlement of conflicts of exercise of jurisdiction in criminal law.
It is about to undertake further projects on regulatory structures for online intermediary platforms, and on whether research and development incentives in Europe should be harmonised and coordinated. The speakers at its most recent conference were of the highest quality: the president of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the president of the Italian Constitutional Court, together with various leading judges and professors from across Europe.
It is to the shame of our LCJ that he associates himself with this carnival of the enemies of the British people. These clubs, like the Girondins, must be crushed. I have bought my wool and learned to knit, and I will be in the front row when he and other British speakers at the ELI annual conference meet their just deserts.
I shall name them so that no one can accuse me in the future of impeding the revolution: Sir Geoffrey Vos (recently appointed Chancellor of the High Court), Christopher Hodges (professor of justice systems at the University of Oxford), Hugh Beale (professor, University of Warwick), Richard Frimston (partner and head of Russell-Cooke’s private client group), and of course the president of the ELI itself, Diana Wallis (former MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament). I have bought a lot of wool, don’t worry.
I notice that the ex-attorney general, Dominic Grieve, said about the Mail’s, and other freedom-loving newspapers’, coverage of the Brexit court decision that it ‘started to make one think that one was living in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe’. That is probably because, among other articles, Zimbabwe’s Herald published an article this summer headed ‘Whither Zimbabwe’s Judiciary?’.
The context was different to our Brexit judgement, concerning their High Court’s decision to allow a demonstration to go ahead, which did not please the government or the newspaper.
What kind of a judiciary appears to revel in anarchy? In Shakespearean language, ‘something is rotten in the state of Zimbabwe.’ These and other phrases appeared in an article attacking the judiciary, followed apparently by a warning some days later from Robert Mugabe that judges who sanction such demonstrations are ‘negligent and reckless’, highlighting that the judges ‘dare not be negligent.’ The Law Society of Zimbabwe subsequently issued a strong statement supporting the independence of the judiciary.
The Brexit revolution needs to find its friends where it can in this time of danger. It is true that the sovereignty of the UK parliament was a necessary prop before the decision to leave the EU was taken. But now that it is filled with enemies of the people (the Remainers club), the Daily Mail and others are right to insist that it has no further role to play. Similarly, there may be examples to be followed in Zimbabwe, even though we used to scorn that country as a violent dictatorship.
(If the Daily Mail is playing the role of ‘L’Ami du Peuple’, the newspaper of Marat, then I advise its editor not to take any baths for the time being, unless he wants to end up forever in a beautiful painting.)
In the French Revolution, it was safe to choose the most extreme purist and follow him until just before his fall. Therefore, I am taking the precaution of sending this article to Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dominic Raab, our Robespierre and Saint-Just, encouraging them to go even further in their efforts to preserve the safety of the people.
After all, as Robespierre said: ‘Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.’