THREAD. In a case in which I am a petitioner, Scotland’s Highest Court earlier today agreed to refer to the Court of Justice the question whether the United Kingdom can remain in the EU on its present terms. /1
It rejected the Government’s argument that the question is hypothetical. “It seems neither academic nor premature to ask whether it is legally competent to revoke the notification and thus to remain in the EU.” /2
Whatever the outcome of the reference it is very likely we can decide to remain. Indications from the other 27 member states are that they would allow us to withdraw the notification. /3
So here's an interesting thing. I am told that Theresa May has put her name to a document promising that there will be no second vote on leaving the EU *within this Parliament*. /1
Why would you feel the need to add those words? Is the plan that if Chequers fails Theresa May will go for a General Election and seek to win Remain votes by offering a referendum? /2
That would be quite a cute strategy - not least because (1) it would be a pretty effective stick with which to chivvy ERG types into supporting Chequers but also (2) if they did call her bluff she'd win *lots and lots* of Remain votes from Labour in a GE. /3
Schools and the NHS to be opened up to 'competition' (ie privatised) if Labour and the Tories succeed in dragging us out of the EU. theguardian.com/politics/2018/…
Whatever United Kingdom Labour wants after any Brexit - obviously a different country to that the Tory right wants - it is *logically impossible* to deny that leaving the EU removes (and is intended to remove) legal safeguards against the Tory right remaking the UK in its image.
It is staggeringly naive - at best - for ideologues on the Left to assume that only they are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of recasting our country in their ideological image.
The Vote Leave team are (falsely) arguing this renders the Electoral Commission finding that they worked together with Darren Grimes redundant. But it quite clearly doesn't. Here is the advice Matthew Elliott relied on (note highlighted phrase). 1/3
And here the High Court makes it clear that the Decision means the donations to Darren Grimes were referendum expenses "irrespective of whether" they were also common plan expenses. 2/3
In an action brought by @GoodLawProject and funded by you via @Crowdjustice the HC has just found that the Electoral Commission erred in law. I will publish a full analysis shortly – link to follow – but the headlines are these. THREAD
First, the Electoral Commission unlawfully gave permission to Vote Leave to spend more than Parliament had allowed. It gave that permission to VL but there is no suggestion it gave it to Stronger In. The body in charge of ensuring the Referendum was fair ensured it was unfair. /1
Second, Vote Leave broke the law twice over. It broke the law – as the EC has already found – by ‘working together’ with Darren Grimes. The EC never permitted working together. But it also broke the law by acting on the basis of the Electoral Commission’s unlawful advice. /2
Our eldest has just started ‘Big School’ and Year 7s are going on an Outward Bound trip. The cost is £550 for the week but has been subsidised down to £300 – still a huge amount of money for many families. /1
The subsidy is universal – it goes to all kids, irrespective of family need. And I completely get why schools don’t want to get into the business of second guessing which families need the subsidy. /2
But I wonder whether schools might ask parents whether they need the subsidy? If you have the chance to turn it down the school could reallocate it to another family which might enable another child (for whom £300 is too much) to go. /3
This 'the idea was right but the implementation is flawed' excuse is convenient to 'respectable' Leavers but also fundamentally misplaced. /1 bbc.com/news/business-…
It's flawed because the Leave campaign baked in to their pitch to voters contradictory promises: (in summary) take back control and be better off. And they baked them in deliberately because they knew it was the only way to get Brexit over the line. /2
But don't take my word for it, read what Dominic Cummings, the 'Mastermind' of the Leave vote said (dominiccummings.com/2015/06/23/on-…). And who's to blame when the unicorn can't be found? Those who promised it or those who can't find it? /3
If you're a fascist it suits you to lie to the people about the undeliverable rewards of Brexit. It feeds the betrayal narrative that delivers power to you. But your wrongdoing is a sunk political cost. Because fascists are gonna fascist, right? 1/3
The *unforgivable* wrong done to the people, especially those who will suffer from Brexit is done by the 'responsible' political players. Those who pretend the lies delivered a valid mandate; or who amplified them; or who were happy to leave them unchallenged. 2/3
That class, from whom we expected better, delivered Brexit. It enabled the betrayal narrative. It renders fascism, shamefully, possible in our land. It failed and fails its duty to protect the people. And it included and includes leading MPs from Government and Opposition. 3/3
Short thread on The Times' front page story on tax avoidance and honours. THREAD.
Getting an Honour isn't a prize for not breaking the law. We set a higher bar than that. So the question whether your tax dodging was 'lawful' seems to me entirely beside the point. /1
Dodging your taxes means there's less money available to support the priorities of a Government democratically elected by the people. That seems to me both profoundly immoral and inimical to the interests of society. /2
This is rather silly, self-serving, stuff from Owen Jones. Labour and the Conservatives will both be threatened by a new Party - but only if they don't speak to those who feel disenfranchised. That is, and should be, how democracy works.
If Labour chooses to be led by the divisive Corbyn, a man who can't muster the support of a quarter of voters, even in a head to head with Theresa May, it is vulnerable. That's not assertion, it's just maths.
It's not rocket science: FPTP demands pluralism. So why not reflect on why Labour is vulnerable? Instead Owen (again) pours anger and ridicule on the unbelievers. And he generates the very division that makes a new Party likely. And he becomes a cause of that he seeks to prevent.
I'm getting huge amounts of abuse from the Jeremy Corbyn faithful for my criticisms of his (at best) poor judgment in promoting an obscure magazine called "The Word", which recently published a revolting anti-semitic front page. /1
Lots of that abuse suggests bad faith on my part - that I am dishonest or part of some conspiracy or paid by the Conservatives. However, the truth is rather simpler. I simply think Corbyn (again) exercised (at best) poor judgment. /2
It's absolutely true to say I have never liked Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Indeed, it was his leadership that caused me, having once advised it on tax policy, to leave Labour. But if you want to say I am motivated by bad faith you need to engage with the evidence. /3
Would be tax dodgers sue the company that devised the tax wheeze. Surely it is not beyond the ingenuity of the law for both sides to lose? bloomberg.com/amp/news/artic…
I am reminded of a similar case in which the judge observed (at paragraph 1,437 of his judgment): "Although the Claimants were... aggrieved to lose their cash contributions and receive back only limited tax relief, there are obvious risks in going into aggressive tax schemes."
The lawyers are the cheerful carrion crows. Not for us to protect plump humanity from the consequences of its moral weakness although, God knows, we often try.
His supporters need to engage with whether they prioritise Corbyn above their social vision - because he is hugely divisive. And his detractors need to work out why they can't or won't offer an alternative. Because these proxy wars deliver nothing but a destructive stasis.
And when Corbyn was elected leader my friends who sit in his part of the political spectrum were obviously pleased to have captured the leadership but dismayed it was Corbyn - a "paperweight" - rather than McDonnell.
For what little it's worth I'd hope and expect to be able to work with John McDonnell as leader of the Labour Party. And I have intermittently worked with his team on tax stuff. I can't imagine working with Corbyn.
Looking at the matter through @CrowdJustice's eyes, its regulatory framework (I think) is more advanced than its competitors. And (imo) it should not take an 'editorial' decision about what cases it hosts. /1
As to would be donors, for myself I would be amazed if his appeal succeeded. But the law exists for everyone, he has a right of appeal, he's entitled to use that right and people are perfectly entitled to differ from my view of his prospects and fund the appeal. /2
More generally, I have called here and elsewhere for a bespoke regulatory regime for crowdfunding but there isn't one. And in the meantime we do what we can. /ENDS waitingfortax.com/2017/11/17/the…
Some people have expressed concern that if Jeremy were to sue Margaret for defamation for calling him anti-semitic she could claim the benefit of Parliamentary Privilege. It doesn't seem to me she can: see paras 51 and following. bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/…