Wisconsin & Defending the Enemies of the People

The vote to leave the EU is currently subject to a judicial review. Or so the Mail and others would have you believe. Votes are to be recounted in Wisconsin to deny Trump the presidency. Or so Twitter would have you believe.

No, the method in which the UK triggering Article 50 is currently under review. Is the case being brought by people with a desire to prevent us ever leaving the EU? Yes. Will the case prevent us leaving the EU? No. Will the protest by the SNP prevent the UK leaving the EU? No. Is it right that the case is brought? Probably. Is it right that the case is able to be brought? Absolutely.

The UK is a representative democracy, not a pure democracy. In this case, our MPs delegated the responsibility for the decision to the people. The people instructed the Government to arrange for us to leave the EU. The manner and end arrangements are up for discussion. The Government has to institute the decision to vote to leave the EU in a legal manner. That means allowing the judicial system and legislative system to work. If laws need to be changed to enable us to leave the EU, that’s a minor stepping stone. It won’t make a difference. The government has a mandate from the people to bring the UK out of the EU (whatever that means in practice).

In the same way, the petition to recount votes in Wisconsin is right. Should it have been brought by Jill Stein? Well, I don’t enjoy the idea of denying anyone – no matter how abhorrent or anti-scientific their views are – access to the legal system. But where there are concerns about the votes, it is right that there should be a recount. It is not likely that this will change the outcome, but it doesn’t matter. Faith in the system is paramount. Even if people disagree with the system, it is vital that the legislative, judicial, and executive branches are all able to operate within the law without undue interference from one another.

I voted to leave the EU. But I am happy to see a case brought against the way the government will trigger A50. If the appeal fails, the government should be happy to push a bill through parliament. If the SNP want to frustrate the efforts of Westminster to withdraw the UK from the EU, Westminster can pass a law making explicit that Holyrood has no competency in this area. Powers that Westminster has devolved, Westminster can un-devolve.

This isn’t complicated. It’s how the system works. Governments should be frustrated by their legislative and judicial systems. Anything else is tyranny.

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