THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Of Judges, Politicians, Crown Prerogative and Article 50
Is Trump's win a cause for celebration?

Brexit: it's just not about the law

 A lot of time is being wasted on discussion of the decision this week in the Queens Bench division of the High Court. I have reviewed some of my learned friends' arguments as to why the decision was wrong and they may have a point. I remain supremely indifferent. I am not waiting with bated breath for the decision of the Supreme Court and neither should you, dear reader.

Breathe. Relax. All will be well.

Here is the simple political fact of the matter. Whatever his or her personal views, every Conservative Member of Parliament was elected on the following manifesto pledge:

It will be a fundamental principle of a future Conservative Government that membership of the European Union depends on the consent of the British people – and in recent years that consent has worn wafer-thin. That’s why, after the election, we will negotiate a new settlement for Britain in Europe, and then ask the British people whether they want to stay in the EU on this reformed basis or leave. David Cameron has committed that he will only lead a government that offers an in-out referendum. We will hold that in-out referendum before the end of 2017 and respect the outcome.

The resulting Conservative government has honoured that pledge, except for the last three words. Sadly David Cameron failed to honour his own personal pledge to remain in office, serve Article 50 notice the next day and deliver the chosen outcome. The irritation which unites for the first time the British people and the EU leadership is his fault.

Theresa May has a clear mandate and is entitled to call any vote she needs on a three line whip. She has the Parliamentary majority to do it. Most Conservative MPs who supported Remain are indicating that they will honour the People's choice. I believe most Labour MPs whose constituents voted Leave will also. It would be political suicide else.

The Liberal Democrats seem intent upon political suicide. So be it. That Party's continued dishonest existence besmirches the name of liberalism and the memory of the fine men and women who voted for it (as I would have done) when it was a true liberal party.  They have threatened to block Brexit in the House of Lords. Excellent! That will lead inevitably to the demise of that (now it has been messed up by Blair's "reforms") vile and corrupt institution.

When I gave up political blogging, I was on the verge of despair. The hostile-to-economic-reality views of the ruling statist élite seemed to be beyond all challenge. We were locked into an ever tightening treaty relationship with states even more inclined to authoritarianism than our own.  The unbearable arrogance of the European élite was symbolised by the regular sneering use of the word "populism". Brexit gave me back my optimism and my belief in the institution of Parliamentary government in my country. 

I know that not all my fellow citizens are classical liberals. I know that many are wrongly hostile to economic globalisation.  Some sadly are even a little bigoted and reluctant to import the best talent as well as the best goods and services. Saddest of all many of them —  despite all the historical lessons of the last century that was almost entirely given over to worldwide experimenting with its ideas — are still mired in the intellectual bogs of the historical backwaters of socialism.  This, despite clear evidence that humanity has never had a greater enemy than Karl Marx.

Britain will no more be a paradise after Brexit than it ever was before.  But the fellow citizens who disagree with me will be within reach of my arguments. They will share the same language, culture and historical background. Sometimes they will win when they should not and bad things will happen. I will sigh and accept that so long as I have belief that our democracy works and therefore hope that their errors may be peacefully corrected. 

I am a Hayekian liberal and no Tory. I joined the Conservative Party when Margaret Thatcher led it and as a student politician was one of the first people to call himself a Thatcherite. I left that Party the day it betrayed her and have never missed the company of the snobs, fogies, and economic illiterates who make up the bulk of its members. I have now however rejoined it with the specific intention of doing what I can to hold it to its pledges.

I anticipate no difficulty. Theresa May is an unpleasant authoritarian, but she is no fool politically. She will deliver a good, hard Brexit as long as we are all vigilant. Better yet all the anti democratic sneering of the Remainers in the process will laser the political cataracts from the eyes of the essentially sensible British people. They have been led in the dark for too long by the leftist establishment and its toadies in the Guardian and BBC. A new age dawns, if we keep our heads when all around are losing theirs and blaming us.

Bring it on!


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Thanks! Happy triggering!!


Bloody Hell Tom... You've still "got it" boy!! :-)

I'm tempted to pinch a fair proportion of it to bung on my FaceBook page - your words are a far more eloquent way to piss off my socialist acquaintances than my meagre efforts.


I see you are playing it enthusiastically already James! If you have any UKIP friends please try to persuade them to stop making idiotic attacks on the independent judiciary. Anyone who doesn't grasp the importance of the separation of powers should not be in democratic politics. Those, like you and me, who have lived in a country where judges take orders from the executive know to what horrors that leads.


[blushes] Thank you.


Rumour has it the one clause A50 bill is in preparation. We shall see. Even the most pro-Remain Tories would vote for it. I share everyone's suspicions but remain confident. It's very easy to email your MP now. I suggest everyone who fears betrayal does so and politely makes clear the strength of their feelings in their own words. They bin mass emailings but can be teased into correspondence with even hostile constituents who are polite and articulate. Enjoy Hayek!


Good stuff with which I entirely agree.

barnacle bill

James if we really want to break free of the chains binding us to that Hydra across the Channel it will have to be a war.

It's a game they are playing with us, like a cat with a cornered mouse.

We have been allowed our referendum, as they didn't get the result they wanted Plan B has been brought into play. They are just going to wear us down by attrition - time. May is not going to call an early general election she is going to let the clock run out all the way to 2020.

By which time they will have worn us down to the point where we don't care anymore.

If May had meant what she said, "Brexit means Brexit", she would have spiked any legal challenge by preparing a simple bill to lay before Parliament to give her the authority to invoke Article 50.

Instead she's off on a jolly to India.

In reply to Mr Paine; I have never believed the words coming out of a politicians mouth. Nor any promises written in a party manifesto. I have as much faith in either as I have that I can spit 6 foot facing into a force 8 gale.

Like you Mr Paine I have joined my local political party, in this case the Labour Party, although by inclination I'm a small "c" conservative. It's just that it's a pig with a red rosette constituency. So I'm hoping to do a SOE an set Europe alight!

Thanks for introducing me to Friedrich August Hayek, I can see some interesting Winter reading coming up.

James Higham

Indeed, let the game commence.

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