Democracy is just a four letter word


I wonder what role the Queen had. Basically the Queen rejecting the PM’s ask for prorogation would seem to be a ceremonial monarchy taking inappropriate control. On the other hand, the prorogation itself is basically inappropriate. I wonder if Johnson had wanted to prorogue from now until Nov 1 and not sit a day before Brexit and the Queen turned that down. We will never know.

Since the speaker of the house has said this is an affront to democracy, I think anyone who wants to legislate against a hard Brexit will have their chance to move the bill forward.

Still, I really wonder what options they have. Basically it’s crash out, take the deal on the table (which no one wants except Theresa May), or cancel the whole thing. I think if the UK asks for another extension on article 50 they are going to be turned down flat. Macron was pissed enough about the last one, and the logic behind the October 31 date was that is Juncker’s exit date and no one in the EU wanted to see it carry over into what they are hoping will be a kind of fresh start.

Honestly, either the queen shot down Johnson’s proposal to prorogue until Brexit or Johnson is trying to force MPs to cancel article 50 so that Johnson can go back to being a cheerleader for something that won’t happen (the role that made Johnson popular), instead of being in charge of the mess.


Exactly zero. The Queen always approves any bill presented by her ministers. To do otherwise would precipitate an immediate constitutional crisis. (As opposed to the one that’s unfolding in slow motion.)

(That’s in the UK itself. There’s precedent for the Governor-General Sir John Kerr of Australia dismissing the government of Gough Whitlam and appointing Malcolm Fraser as caretaker PM, after the Australian parliament was unable to agree on a supply bill. The Fraser government and its allies were able to pass a supply bill, vote for dissolution of both houses of parliament, and carry the subsequent general election by a landslide. How much the Queen had to do with it is still very much a matter of speculation. There’s documentary evidence that both the Prince of Wales and the Queen’s private secretary corresponded with Kerr regarding the matter.)


Yeah. Despite the legal fictions here, the Queen is a rubber stamp for the Prime Minister. Blaming her for the situation is pointless; the fault lies on BoJo on other side, and the anti-No Deal MPs for failing to come up with any kind of an alternative to the default No Deal crash-out Brexit.


It has indeed.

And what a right fecking mess it’s made.

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There’s been a lack of compromise. There’s a lot of people who are still trying to avoid Brexit at all - a position I can sympathise with - and this group’s split further into factions who mostly hate each other. On the other end of the axis are the Hard Brexit types who come up with a new objection every time progress towards a deal seems to be being made, until you end up with Farage and his ghastly ilk coming out with “No Deal is the only acceptable Brexit” - which is the position they’ve held all along, but they didn’t feel it politic to come out with it.


The extended Westminster crisis has shown exactly how flawed and limited democracy in the current UK setup is.

The Westminster system has no effective checks and balances, with an over-mighty executive able to wield near absolute power through the powers that the PM wields on behalf of the crown, and the control that the government is allowed over parliament’s schedule and order of business. Judicial review is also limited, as there is no written constitution to appeal to, and rulings can effectively just be ignored.

It will sound familiar to many, but a system that depended heavily on precedent and convention has been wrecked by people who are prepared to do anything to get what they want.


But, like I said, I wonder if their Majesty actually did have an effect on the outcome. I mean, ultimately he structure of the democracy requires the Crown perform their ceremonial duty, but Elizabeth II may very well have made Johnson feel too uncomfortable to ask for prorogation from August 30 to November 1.

I think this is a really interesting situation. Being from Canada I was stunned there was a judicial review at all. The PM asks the Crown to prorogue parliament, it happens, the courts have no power over that. But the tone of the UK articles I read about it didn’t seem to agree. Everyone seems to think the courts might actually do something. And the thing I realized is that the courts can’t tell the queen what to do, but they sure can tell prime minister what to do.

And it made me realize that I’ve understood something wrong my entire life. We’ve put so much power in the hands of the prime minister that we forget that parliamentary supremacy is not prime ministerial supremacy. Having no written constitution in the UK actually means the courts can order the prime minister to do something, because the entire notion of an executive is kind of a fiction - the executive is just executing the will of parliament, they have no authority of their own.

Johnson may just ignore the courts, and there isn’t much they can do about it. But that’s a problem that has come up in the US as well - there have been occasions where the president basically just said, “I’m not going to do what the courts want, what are they going to do about it?” The president has an army, the courts do not.

But then we are back to the queen. Say the courts say that the prorogation is unconstitutional and demand Johnson go to the Queen to give different advice. Then Johnson says, “Up yours.” Then MPs meet anyway and hold parliament anyway and everyone except Johnson and Johnsons’ strongest backers are there. Without them this parliament will easily pass a no confidence motion and a motion to bar a no-deal Brexit. Then the person they say is prime minister takes that bill to the Queen for royal assent.

The courts have said the prorogation was improper, parliament is saying they passed a bill. Now the Queen has to decide whether the ceremonial duty of the crown is to parliament or to Boris Johnson. I don’t think the Queen likes Boris Johnson.


On the grounds I usually agree entirely with what you say, I’m hoping that comes true.

I wouldn’t have even been able to dream of this scenario if there weren’t already MPs talking about forming an “alternative parliament”. When I first read that phrase I couldn’t even imagine what it could mean or how it would be legal. But apparently they are dead serious.

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This is getting into territory where either action or inaction by the queen could be seen to be political, or taking sides. This is exactly the scenario which she has tried to avoid ever since coming to the throne, because it absolutely would break the UK political system, and could end the monarchy itself.

I expect that words to this effect have been (or will soon be) communicated to Boris. Whether he listens or not is anyone’s guess.

Not quite though. The grubby little brexiteers certainly want this outcome now but it wasn’t always so, not only have they broken electoral law and funnelled unknown sources of money through shell companies but, unsurprisingly, they are pathological liars as well. Rotten to the core, the lot of them.

A hard crash out of the EU resulting in a collapsed economy and a slide into a beige dictatorship has to have some perks i suppose.


I think the people behind the grubby little people did want a no deal crash-out. They wouldn’t want any deal where their money would be tracked.


Some related history:


Well sure, they probably wanted a hard crash out of the EU so the UK would turn into a deregulated tax haven for their filthy cash and maybe they always wanted that and sold the electorate a pack of lies in order to achieve it. People like fromage are scum and would not think twice about throwing the vulnerable, social services, NHS under a big red bus that said “suckers” on the side just to line their pockets.

That’s a good video by the way, i’ve seen it before but worth a watch.


I believe it’s spelled frottage.

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