back to front - against the law
WORKERS, FEBRUARY 2004 ISSUE
The moves to introduce a new EU constitution are being worked in tandem with the proposed domestic changes that Blair is trying to push through the British legal system.
It is not coincidence that Blair tries to play on negative populism by depicting the judiciary as men in tights sitting on a woolsack at the same time as the EU press for primacy over the laws of member states.
The British mixture of the law of statute and common law has become a barrier to the EU legislative onslaught. In particular Blair sees common law, with its basis of evolving legal precedent through the courts via plaintiff and defendant, as being far too independent.
The history and development of common law i.e. equity, tort, contract and trust are unique to Britain and throughout they have acted as a dynamic. This is in contrast to other countries that have placed greater emphasis on statute law via parliamentary legislature.
The evolution of common law over the centuries has rested on the principle of the separation of powers as advocated by among others Edmund Burke in the 18th century. This separation means that powers are streamed between parliament, government and the judiciary, with the monarchy seen as a figurehead. The theory behind the separation of powers is that tyranny is avoided because power is not concentrated in one single body, i.e. the Divine Right of Kings would never again be on the agenda.
All of this is anathema to corporatist Blair, hence his desire to scrap the position of Lord Chancellor and the Law Lords who constitute the highest Court of Appeal bound by precedent, along with the Queen's Councillors (QCs).
But the corporatist is becoming bogged down in his attack on independence. The position of Lord Chancellor as recently taken by the compliant Falconer was intended to be scrapped earlier this year. Falconer was to declare the position closed and himself redundant. However, it was found that such power is not vested with the Lord Chancellor and any attempts by him to scrap the position would have been deemed ultra vires. The attackers now have to re-group.
Our country and its constitution are under threat. Rather than be distracted by Blair's mock concern about elitism, in this case the judiciary, we should see his attacks for what they are - the acts of a quisling.