Category Archives: United Kingdom

brexit

The UK High Court’s Invalidation of Brexit Is a Constitutional Crisis in the Making

The UK High Court has struck down Brexit. Such a repudiation of the national will, and of legislation already approved by parliament, has the potential to permanently warp Great Britain’s rule of law. Indeed, it may already have.

This controversy, at the core, highlights a battle over democracy and parliamentary sovereignty. An indispensable feature of both is that there must be a warranty that once a fully rendered decision is arrived at and approved through proper means, that decision must hold.

Once such a warranty no longer exists, people will lose faith in their government. This loss of confidence may require a new government, which is normally the case in smaller, less threatening crises. Prime Minister David Cameron himself resigned after campaigning to keep Britain in the European Union and failing to do so.

Big crises, constitutional crises, happen when a sovereign power is meant to or guarantees to abide by the results of a decision by the people and then reneges on that promise. And that is precisely what happened when three judges from the UK High Court ruled that Britain can’t leave the EU without having a parliamentary vote to do so. Yet that parliamentary vote already happened with the European Referendum Act of 2015.

Great Britain has contended with crises of serious proportions before, involving existential questions about nationhood. And although British rule of law survived, the resolution required a wholesale reconfiguration of the constitutional monarchy.

Continue reading at Townhall.

brexit

Lessons on democracy from Brexit

It took British youth just hours to go to the barricades once it became clear that the decisive votes for Brexit stemmed from the country’s elderly. How could those who might not live to experience the full consequences of a Brexit be allowed to decide on it? As much as I sympathize with this sentiment of betrayal and loss, I cannot help seeing the irony in their behaviour: a generation that sees the state as the solution for nearly everything is shocked by how democracy can work against certain groups.

Democracy has brought great benefits to our societies. At the same time, democratic decision-making, whether through parliament or direct referenda, has always been about favouring a majority opinion over a minority. Taking away the rights of one group on behalf of another is not the antidote of democracy; it is endogenous. Contrary to popular narrative, democracy never meant freedom from being ruled; it just changed the rules of who is allowed to infringe and curtail on your freedoms. By handing these powers to a government that people could to a certain extent codecide on, it further legitimized this behaviour, styling it as self-rule, and thus as just.

It amazes me that people are now demanding an end to public referenda after their loss, or advocate the withdrawal of voting rights for the elderly. It makes me wonder where their sense of entitlement comes from. Maybe they would do good to reflect on the virtues and vices of democracy as a whole. A reflection might help them understand that the vices are not old people, but rather the general mindset that (electoral) majorities can dictate how others live their lives and infringe on their rights.

Continue reading at CapX.

obama-air-force-1-1-1400x788

Obama is wrong to discourage Brexit

London Mayor Boris Johnson has accused President Obama of “naked hypocrisy” for his opposition to UK independence from the EU—noting that the US refuses to even “sign up to the international convention on the law of the seas.”

Obama has previously warned Britons that a British exit from the EU, known colloquially as ‘Brexit’, would harm their “special relationship” with the United States—a position he is expected to reiterate in a London town hall meeting during his visit to the UK.

Boris Johnson, a US citizen by birth, is right to call out hypocrisy. But the biggest problem with Obama’s view is that it’s wrong; American interests would benefit from an independent UK.

Read the rest on CapX, here.

earth_aerial

Advocate John Slater interviewed about Earth Hour on The Shilling Show

Young Voices Advocate John Slater was interviewed on The Shilling Show, about his recent, The dangerous Narcissism of Earth Hour:

“I don’t like this idea—which Earth Hour teaches us—of celebrating backwardness, when what we really need if we want to solve the world’s problems is more progress.”

You can listen to the interview below (interview begins at 19 minutes), and read John’s article at Spiked-Online.

 

 

Paint

Heroic Troll Forces Censors to Watch Paint Dry

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) was forced to watch paint dry thanks to one filmmaker and nearly 700 backers on Kickstarter.

Charlie Lyne, a filmmaker and critic based in London, started a Kickstarter project in November to finance his movie Paint Drying, which is exactly what it sounds like. The BBFC requires filmmakers to pay per minute for films to be watched and then classified, so the more money Lyne raised, the more paint-drying footage he could make the censors watch. Some 686 backers and 5,936 pounds ($8,666.56) later, the final film is 607 minutes long.

The BBFC classifies movies for different age groups, allegedly to protect children from harmful content and empower consumers, much like the Motion Picture Association of America. Unlike in the U.S., it is illegal in the U.K. to screen movies with no rating or sell them on DVD.

Read the rest on Reason, here.