PATRICK BRIGHAM LIVE – The Prerogative of Brexit

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Gina Miller takes them all on – marvelous!

Once upon a time, Law Lords often slept in the House of Lords; Britain’s upper chamber within the Houses of Parliament. These days, modern day law lords may occasionally snooze in the House of Lords, but for the last ten years, they have had to appear in smart suits at the Inns of Court.

Now called the Supreme Court, they sit in sublime authority over the realm, in order to determine the finer issues of British law. Their rulings not only become case law, but with considerable authority, their rulings are forever bound into the British constitution. Although not cast in stone, these rulings remain in force, until an Act of Parliament legally repeals them, and casts them back into history. Brexit was not just a matter of a national referendum to stay or leave the EU – with its over simplistic assertions, and ridiculous political pronouncements – it was also a matter of British law.

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What a jolly lot of Law Lords

The UK does not have a written constitution, so it is made up of great swaths of historical rulings, all of which keep constitutional lawyers in business, and politicians on their toes. British governments always have to turn to lawyers, before putting their bills before parliament, and any Act’s which they wish to enable or or repeal. So, what will happen to Brexit?

Well, we don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the noble law lords will tell the present  British Government, and Prime Minister Theresa May in particular, that it cannot repeal the 1972 Act of EU Accession, without the consent of a majority of the Members in the House of Commons – the lower house in Parliament – nor enable the now famous EU Article 50, unless the MP’s agree on an open vote. Oh dear, am I talking about democracy again? How boring.

The prerogative which the total shower that is the current conservative government is proposing, is a Royal Prerogative. Once the deadly weapon of tyrannical kings and queens of England, it describes how a government can bypass the House of Commons, and all the Member’s of Parliament therein, who have been legally elected by their constituents. Oh dear, not more democratic clap trap! Sorry.

What Prime Minister May thinks she can do, is to trundle over to Buckingham Palace in her Jaguar, tell Her Majesty to sign a document, and then – with a patronizing smirk – wend her way back to 10 Downing Street, for tea and toast! If that is the case, since the House of Commons is largely falling to bits, and in need of total renovation, she might as well tell all democratically elected  British MPs, to go home, and to stay there whist the plumbers are in.

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Eleven Law Lords – the full house

Even a US president, with all his prerogative powers, could not pull this one off, because the American constitution wouldn’t allow it – a pre Trump assertion on my part, I know – but as we see with Obama, he has very little wriggle room, when it comes to such prerogative powers. So, why did Theresa May think that it could be done? And, why did the last Prime Minister David Cameron, not take steps to allow a smooth Brexit, by making it possible by law? Well, I expect he never thought that it would go against him, and that the referendum never could end with an EU exit!

We rarely think of Judges as fair minded people, mainly because their work is generally of a criminal nature. ‘For stealing a loaf of bread, your sentence is ten years hard labour, now take him down; you are lucky I didn’t have you hanged!’ How often have we seen or read about these events in the books of Dickens, or in a period TV drama, ‘Cor, how lucky can I be, I am not going to be hanged, but sent to Australia instead!’

During this four day trial, everyone has seemed to be so affable – with great elegant speeches and friendly admonishments – and with smiles and due deference, I am quite sure that this case will be found for Gina Miller and her cohorts. ‘The law, must be seen to be done, but what about justice,’ you may surely ask? Well, this is not about justice, it’s about democracy; it’s about English Law and the Law of The Land; it’s about how a British Government promotes itself in public, and finally, it is about Brexit. Because, no one has suggested that the result of the referendum will change, although now, it will go ahead legally and democratically, and what’s wrong with that?

By Patrick Brigham Live

Pompous Public Figures & Satirical Magazines

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The Satyr has lived amongst us journalists and writers for many years. Our way of debunking pompous political asses – those prone to mutual admiration, or self aggrandizement – seemed to gather strength during the 19th Century, when the very first satirical magazines appeared on the newsstands in middle Europe, and  Great Britain.

Regarded as thoroughly sacrilegious, during the reign of Queen Victoria, Punch gave birth to a tradition of political lampooning and humour, which had previously been demonised by the great and good.

These days there are TV cameras in parliament – in whichever country you may choose to live– but in Victorian times, speeches were exclusively recorded by The Times, court circulars, and of course in Hansard. Whatever the great unwashed and exploited working classes may have believed in at the time, was another thing, but in those days their opinions were rarely sought and generally ignored. Punch Magazine brought much of the political theatre onto the British breakfast table, and for many years – apart from comic books – it was the only readable satirical magazine readily available. However, in the nineteen sixties came Private Eye, Richard Ingrams, William Rushton, and the inimitable Peter Cook.

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Their way of debunking the political elite and the self proclaimed guru’s of the day, was to laugh at them. If people threatened to sue them for their troubles, they would simply give them a cartoon name, and continue to mercilessly lampoon them. That is until the editors of Private Eye found themselves standing in the dock in the High Court, and on their way to prison. But as the political strictures of the time began to wane, we started to see very rich people prepared to pay the fines imposed by the courts, and very posh lawyers, to defend their activities. In fact very few people were safe from Private Eye, or from Punch Magazine, including Margaret Thatcher and even Ronald Reagan!

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When Richard Ingram became too old for Private Eye, he handed the editorial mantle over to Ian Hislop – who is still at the helm – and started the magazine which many of us older readers enjoy, The Oldie Magazine.

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Here, paedophile Jimmy Savile is portrayed as The Pied Piper of Hamlin.

A much more sophisticated monthly magazine, it has over the years attracted most of the top British writers and journalists into its ranks, many of whom are regarded as national treasures.

And then came Charlie Hebdo. Famous for attracting the attention of ISIS and the unfortunate results, this has now become Europe’s number one satirical magazine, and the scourge of nationalism and bigotry everywhere.

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In the new German edition of this magazine, Angela Merkel is depicted as a somewhat tired and complacent politico – in need of a few repairs and political reinvention – who represents a Germany in need of change.

However, the change may well be within the ranks of Charlie Hebdo itself, and its many anarchic writers and cartoonists. Because, whatever it was once famous for may have been lost in the clouds of debris and dust – caused by an attack on its Paris premises – by a certain dwindling caliphate.

To see the strength and purpose, of a heroic magazine like Charlie Hebdo, turning into mainstream satire, is for me at least, a step in the wrong direction, and maybe the first sign of a general change in EU thinking.

From social inclusion, to apparent nationalism, I can now smell the unpleasant odour of the upcoming French and German elections. But, what is happening in Europe, and has it stopped being funny?

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The two French gnomes – Nicolas Sarkozy and Francoir Hollande – look like history to me, and short of a miracle, I don’t quite see Maree Le Pen as the new French President, which leaves Francoir Fillon. Likewise, it is hard to see any up and coming contenders for the post of German Chancellor, able to dislodge Angela Merkel, and so it might be more of the same. So, where does that leave the satirists, humourists and the cartoonists of yore?

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I think that politics has become so grey and insipid – lost and inward looking – that, they must have found it all a bit depressing and practically given up.  But wait a moment; I think I might have a bright idea, and something to cheer you all up for Christmas! Its called The Balkan News Magazine.

By The Editor