By Paul Craig Roberts
When the British people voted to exit the European Union (EU) I said in many interviews and also in written columns that I doubted it would ever happen. It has been three years, and it has not.
Some hosts wondered why I doubted the British government’s willingness to comply with a majority vote, but it was obvious to me that pressures from special interests inside and outside the UK, especially the pressure from Washington, would prove to be more influential with the British government than a majority vote of the British people.
Washington expressed its view to the UK government that it was not in Washington’s interest for the UK to exit the EU. Various special interest groups, including pro-immigrant organizations, began the propaganda campaign that the UK would end up a backwater excluded from European trade. The same predictions of doom used when populations of countries rejected joining the EU were resurrected. Instead of obeying the vote, the populations were subjected to propaganda that staying out of the EU is a death sentence.
In other words, the elites prevailed over democracy. This has been going on for three years in the UK while former Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated an exit. The deal was a disaster. It required the British to pay 60 billion pounds sterling to buy its way out, to continue to accept Third World immigrants, and to continue to accept the supremacy of EU law over UK law. In other words, it was exit in name only.
To me, it looked like a deal designed to block an exit and to create a situation in which means could be employed to overturn Brexit. That has now happened. Eleven judges on the British Supreme Court have stepped in and blocked the temporary suspension of Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Queen, a legal procedure used for centuries that the court ruled “unlawful.”
In other words, the court made a political intervention in favor of the opponents of Brexit.
The minority opposed to the UK exiting the EU is trying to use the court’s decision to force Johnson to resign. Opponents are trying to conflate the court’s ruling that the five-week suspension of Parliament is unlawful with the argument that Brexit itself is unlawful.
The British political website “Spiked-Online” see s the ruling this way:
Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a vile assault on the democratic order. In finding that Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament was unlawful, and that parliament is not prorogued, the 11 justices have made an explicitly political decision in favor of the “remainer” elite. They have taken sides. Ignore the utterly unconvincing pleas of the “remainer” fanatics who brought this case, all of whom robotically insist that this is not a political decision, just a legal, constitutional one. No one is buying that. This was a decisively political act by 11 unelected judges, who have taken sides against the government of the day, and this opens up a new, dark era in British political life.
This judgment is a disaster for law and for politics. It’s bad for law because it will convince many more people that the law has become a political instrument, wielded by the wealthy to achieve openly political ends that they failed to achieve in the public, democratic sphere. And it is bad for politics because it points to the formation of a new politicized but untouchable elite which has power over the entire nation and everyone in it. That should terrify anyone who believes in real democracy. When The Daily Mail accused judges of behaving like enemies of the people, the “remainer” elites went into meltdown. Our message to them today is clear: If you don’t want to be called an enemy of the people, stop behaving like one.
Legal authorities will disagree as to whether the court saved democracy or destroyed it.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and was associate editor and columnist at The Wall Street Journal. He has been a professor of economics in six universities and is the author of numerous books available at the American Free Press bookstore.