Friday, January 27, 2017


The Law Lords decision that the British Government must seek the approval of Parliament before acting to trigger Article 50 (proving for exit from the EU) is interesting and provides a precedent that could well impact on all Parliaments wedded to the Westminster system of Government.

On balance I think the decision is to be applauded as it confirms the primacy of Parliament.   That is fundamental to our system of democracy.

As far as the UK is concerned and I'm not sure too much will change.   The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was presented to Parliament yesterday when it had its First Reading.   In the 650 member House there is a small bloc of 64 members (54 Scottish National Party, 9 Liberal Democrats and 1 Green) committed to opposing withdrawal tooth and nail.   I suspect they will be joined by a rump of Europhile MPs from both the Conservative and Labour Parties who will cross the floor to vote against the Bill.   It is perhaps instructive that Jeremy Corbyn has said that Labour respects the Referendum result and will not vote against the Bill.   Whether that means he will go so far as to impose a three-line Whip is moot.     Whatever, the Bill will pass into Law.

The decision has potential ramifications for New Zealand.   Here the Conservatives and, to a lessor extent, Winston First have campaigned for the introduction of binding Citizen's Referenda.    The Law Lords decision effectively challenges the legality of that and while their decision does not bind New Zealand it provides a basis for challenge were this country to proceed down that pathway.

I am against binding referenda.    Not against CIR per se  and Parliament should not disregard lightly the result from a CIR where there is a high turnout and where the decision is clear-cut.  But in the final analysis I support the primacy of Parliament to make (hopefully) informed decisions.   I think the Law Lords have done democracy a favour.

Updated 11.25 ... It is confirmed that Corbyn has imposed a three-line Whip on his own MPs which has led to the resignation of Tulip Siddiq, one of his shadow ministers.

Updated #2 ... Another shadow minister has quit.   This time Jo Stevens, Shadow Welsh Secretary.   UK Labour is in a mess.



Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I agree with you. However I think it is a pity NZ had foisted upon it, against the express wishes of a clear majority, the appalling anti-smacking legislation.

David said...

What's so "appalling" about reducing violence meted out to children?

In what way, if any, has this law impacted upon you as you are domiciled in Australia?

Governments often make laws that go against majority opinion, that is what governing is.

Psycho Milt said...

The decision has potential ramifications for New Zealand. Here the Conservatives and, to a lessor extent, Winston First have campaigned for the introduction of binding Citizen's Referenda.

Both of those parties' members lack the intellectual horsepower to realise they'd need to change NZ's constitution (not an easy task, given that it's not written down in one convenient location) if they want to override parliamentary sovereignty. Although, if they did realise it, they'd probably also lack the intellectual horsepower to figure out why that's a bad idea.

Paulus said...

Wish we could have another referendum on MMP.

Nick K said...

What's so "appalling" about reducing violence meted out to children?

Adolf referred to smacking, not violence.

I'm sure we are all against violence towards children.

David said...

At what point does a smack then, become an act of violence? Is it the force with which it is made, or is it the age of the smackee?

If it is the force, then what would be a reasonable measure of force?

If it is age, why should an act of violence that would be a crime when committed against an adult be any less of a crime because the victim is a child?

If you are unable to parent without violence then you are unfit to be a parent.

Psycho Milt said...

If you are unable to parent without violence then you are unfit to be a parent.

Well, that's pretty much every parent during my childhood ruled unfit. Me and most of my fellow parents of a couple of decades back, too. And yet, here we all are...

Noel said...

Appalling anti smacking legislation.

"The Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 (formerly the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill) is an amendment to New Zealand's Crimes Act 1961 which removed the legal defence of "reasonable force" for parents prosecuted for assault on their children."

Best thing that ever happened.
Took the canes away from the over the top teachers.

In the first five years of the law (June 2007 – June 2012) there were eight prosecutions.

Shows that most people adjusted their discipline without needing the heavy force of yesteryear.

Anonymous said...

Small error Veteran..... The UK referendum on Brexit, as all referendums are in the UK, was non-binding. Parliament did not have to act upon it if it decided it was not in the public interest.

Corbyn is showing a lack of leadership on this subject and he should be going into the the current bye elections promising a second referendum as the mood of the country has definitely changed, the are more informed of the consequences now. Banks are already moving people and departments out of the city. Airbus has warned that without freedom of movement the Bristol Wing fabrication plant is unviable, Ford motor company has said the same thing 20 minutes ago. The EU has the highest food standards in the world and we now have the unedifying sight of an Eton educated Tory MP Rees-Mogg telling the public that is OK to import meat loaded with growth hormones from the US and we will by American cars......hands up all those would rather drive a US car than a German car.....Don't mention Jeep, they are built in Austria for the EU at a far higher standard than the US product. Its a multi faceted cock up.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

MiLord ... I never said the Brexit referendum was binding. Your Government took the view that they didn't need Parliamentary approval in order to implement Article 51. The Law lords disagreed. Their decision is to be applauded. The primacy of Parliament in the Westminster system has been reinforced.

My comment about binding referenda was directed at the two parties in NZL who are advocating this. The Law Lords decision provides a powerful precedent (one that would have to be tested in the NZL Courts) for anyone challenging the legitimacy of binding referenda.

paul scott said...

Poor old egg on his face. It must be awful. Liberal losers with identity crises and guilty nom de plumes.
I had to look up a three line whip.
And the whip idea does come from whiping dogs into action.
It would be good if we had a referendum so everyone could then could whip guilt ridden liberals.

The Veteran said...

Paul Scott .... so in your lexicon unbridled flagellation is good for the soul ... Dominatrices of the world unite for your have nothing to loose but your chains and whips and things (with apologies to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels).