Dicey misquote

Have you come across this quote or this meme?

The House can in accordance with the constitution be deprived of power [when] there is fair reason to suppose that the opinion of the House is not the opinion of the electors.

It’s a blatant and deliberately misleading misquote. It’s from Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, A. C. Dicey, and if you search the text for “deprived of power” you will find the original of the quotation in Chapter XIV:

But the reason why the House can in accordance with the constitution be deprived of power and of existence is that an occasion has arisen on which there is fair reason to suppose that the opinion of the House is not the opinion of the electors. A dissolution is in its essence an appeal from the legal to the political sovereign. A dissolution is allowable, or necessary, whenever the wishes of the legislature are, or may fairly be presumed to be, different from the wishes of the nation.

So this passage is specifically about the DISSOLUTION of Parliament. The omission of the words “and of existence” from the quote make it sound like a circumstance may arise when it is acceptable to strip Parliament of its power, ie prorogue it. But in fact this section relates to when it is acceptable to dissolve Parliament, and return to the nation for a general election.

When people are deliberately misquoting books to support their point, you know that they know they’re in the wrong!

Don’t understand or care what’s going on in politics right now? Read this.

You need to read this. Even if you think you don’t understand politics or you hate all politicians – if you care about our welfare state or our NHS you need to pay attention, just for five minutes.

This isn’t about Brexit. Boris Johnson doesn’t actually care whether we’re in or out of the EU – rich people like him are OK either way. From the beginning he has used Brexit to further his own career, not because he believes in it, and that’s what he’s still doing now. Brexit is a red herring. Whether you’re a Leaver, a Remainer, or don’t have an opinion and wish the whole thing would go away, you should still be worried about what’s happening right now.

Continue reading Don’t understand or care what’s going on in politics right now? Read this.

It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every parliamentary democracy, and it is a big deal

I’m hearing people say “he’s only proroguing for a few days, it’s not a big deal”. No, it is a big deal, and this is why.

Johnson is not just “slightly extending the recess for conference”, as I have heard many of his supporters disingenuously say.

First, it was likely that Parliament would have voted not to go to conference at this important time. Now they will lose the option to do that, and five weeks will be lost.

But more importantly, proroguing is the end of the parliamentary session; it is not a recess. All bills in progress will be cut off. Parliamentary business cannot simply pick up when Parliament reconvenes, unlike when the MPs break for conference. Even if Johnson only prorogued for one day, it would put a spanner in the works.

Continue reading It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every parliamentary democracy, and it is a big deal