Every so often a politician speaks of 'enshrining' a thing in law, and another will talk of placing 'locks' into legislation

Both are ugly phrases but they are significant

Laws are laws and statutes are statutes

They have the same effect regardless of whether they are about 'enshrined' things and 'locks'

They can be amended and repealed (and 'fudged')

And so even when words like 'enshrine' and 'lock' are used, nothing special is happening to the law

It is a rhetorical not a legal device - a misdirection


What those phrases do tell you is about the political debasement of statutory law generally

To convey that something should be placed on a legal basis, these super-duper phrases are deployed


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More from @davidallengreen

29 Sep
Chapter, not article

This 'security' power was given to 25 barons, not to the people

But that power was removed a year later, in 1216

Only three provisions of Magna Carta are still in force: legislation.gov.uk/aep/Edw1cc1929…

Oh, and there is no 'the' before Magna Carta

That is all
Wait until these patriots discover that Magna Carta was not even written in English
To the extent anyone cares, here is the @britishlibrary's English translation of chapter 61 of Magna Carta 1215


Compare it with the paraphrase in the original tweet Image
Read 5 tweets
27 Sep
The realities of politics and the judiciary

My new @FT article on the artificial divide between law and politics - of course there is an overlap and is naïve to affect otherwise

Also in print edition tomorrow

ft.com/content/b8a549… Image
@FT I also have fun with the Attorney General's Panel and the role of Treasury Counsel - two taboos that will irk many at the Bar that they are questioned or even mentioned
"There may be obvious faults with US system of appointing Supreme Court judges and federal judges generally, but main difference between that and the English approach to the politics of the judiciary is that the Americans are open about the relationship, and the English are not."
Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
Just imagine if anyone had suggested in 2016 we would end up with legal recognition for Kent border, with police powers of coercion to enforce it in respect of trade, Brexiters would have *howled*

But on a rainy Wednesday afternoon that is what the government has just announced
Until the transition period ends, it will be easier administratively for a UK company to trade with a EU country, than it will be after 1 January to send a truck across the county border with Kent

What a mess
Who would have guessed that the immediate effect of 'taking back control of our borders' was for the UK...

...to impose administrative and trade borders in the north Irish sea and around the county of Kent
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
The Green Party former leader @natalieben has written to the @FT to criticise my post on the constitution: ft.com/content/27e55f…

Her criticism, and my response
@natalieben @FT The insistence by many that every discussion about the UK constitution has to become a debate about the merits of a codified constitution is a problem and a distraction

Governments gets away with so much because people prefer this stale academic debate to practical solutions
@natalieben @FT There is a book or an essay to be written by someone entitled "Why I will no longer discuss the merits of a written constitution"

As the discussion itself is a problem and a distraction: a legal-political rabbit hole we keep diving into
Read 4 tweets
19 Sep
The UK’s constitution is not working

When there is no proper accountability and transparency, government policymaking becomes sloppy

New by me, at @FT

@FT "The UK constitution is drifting into the arena of the unwell..."

Many thanks to my lovely editors at @FT for allowing that allusion to a certain film.
@FT I am on favour of a working constitution, codified or not

A codified constitution, in principle, is neither good nor bad - and in practice can be quite bad

My view is that the 'codified' debate is a distraction from seeing how things can be improved without codification
Read 7 tweets
16 Sep
We are all simply watching Her Majesty's Government punching itself in its face, just because it can

There is no wider purpose to this political and constitutional drama

"Look what I can do!"
"Look, I bet you don't think I can punch myself in the face even harder"

- Please don't punch yourself in the face, there really is no need, and think about the needless lasting damage

"You doubt me? I have taken back control. Just watch!"

"Now, watch what I can do to myself with this hammer"

- Look, there is no need for any of this, and you are damaging yourself now and in the future

"You question my resolve? This puts the pressure on you, not me!"

Read 4 tweets

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