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What is so bad about Russian “interference” with UK referendums anyway?

“49% of voters believe Kremlin interfered in Brexit referendum”, reports the Guardian.

Almost half the British public believes the Russian government interfered in the EU referendum and last year’s general election, according to a poll. The latest Opinium poll for the Observer found that 49% of voters think there was Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, with 23% disagreeing. Some 47% believed Russia interfered in the December general election.

The poll findings come after the long-awaited publication of the report into Russian interference by parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee last week. It found that the government had not attempted to investigate potential Russian interference in the referendum. It said the UK had “badly underestimated” the Russian threat.

I am busy and must be brief. Vladimir Putin belongs at the end of a rope for his crimes: crimes like murdering his political opponents, sponsoring terrorism and waging aggressive war against neighbouring countries. But most of the events described in this hyped up list are technical crimes of a sort that should not be a crime at all. Most rules on election spending and use of data to target potential voters are nothing but political protectionism. We call it “interference” when the Russian government tries to influence the political opinions of British people and “outreach” when the British government or the European Union tries to influence the political opinions of Russian people. You hear the words “interference in elections” and are meant to think of stolen ballot boxes and forged votes. But Russians posting anonymous, dishonest and obnoxious opinions on Twitter and Reddit for money – who cares? They are lost in the crowd of Brits doing the same for free.

48 comments to What is so bad about Russian “interference” with UK referendums anyway?

  • Itellyounothing

    Putin has done more to protect his people than western leaders.

    Do I like him, no.
    Do I support him, nope.
    Do I like Russia’s game of thrones bloody power politics, nope.
    Putin is clearly a terrifying human being.

    He shines a big shiny light of embarrassment on all the corrupted Western leaders who treat their people as something to be SJW’d out of existence.
    I looked into his amendments to the Russian constitution. One tenth of the changes are to protect Putin and his minions, 9 tenths protect Russians and their families. There is little for wider special interests.

    Would that Bojo cared about the UK people that much.

  • Mr Ecks

    Half of the British people? Half of the remainiac morons who read the Gladrag more like.

  • Mr Ecks

    ITell etc is correct.

    Putin may be scum but–while robbing, lording etc –he also cares about the people of Russia. Not enough to stop thieving, lording etc. But far more than a pack of focus-groupie fools like BlueLabour let alone human sewage like Jizza Corbyn and gang.

  • bobby b

    I came around a curve on a gravel road on my motorcycle yesterday and there was a big deep rut across the road, and I almost went down.

    Fucking Russians.

  • Lee Moore

    It’s hardly as if the US and the EU didn’t interfere in the EU referendum. If the Russkies did interfere, their crime was to interfere on the “wrong” side.

    Of course the EU’s most glorious role was to deliver the moderate Brexit vote by refusing to give Cameron even a tiny fig leaf for his “renegotiation.”

    Swivel-Eyed Brexiteers – the EU is cabal of our enemies determined to order us about as if we were a conquered nation

    Cameron – don’t be ridiculous, they’re perfectly reasonable people with whom we try to get things done at the European level. I’ll prove it by asking them to slighly amend the deal, getting them to give a few inches on these three modest points

    EU – no Mr Cameron, not a centimetre, not a millimetre. And we’re fining you 10 billion Euros for using the word “inch.”

  • Stonyground

    The UK government interfered in the EU referendum as I recall. I received government leaflets that explained all about the referendum and also instructed me about which way I should vote.

  • Mr Ecks

    PdeH’s “be nice” policies or not you are scum Gazza. That you are on here whining about your half-baked fantasies while being up the arse of the death cult of socialism with 150 million murdered human beings on its charge sheet is truly sickening. And shows that you are that which has fallen out the backend of a bull.

  • staghounds

    What percentage of people in Britain believe that the position of the planets at the moment of one’s birth controls one’s destiny?

  • Flubber

    What is fascinating is why the narcissistic Trump submissively sucks the cocks of fascists like the Islamist Erdogan and the Kremlin Statist Putin.

    Well because he wanted their co-operation to end ISIS.

    But feel free to quote Guardianista bollocks if you want.

  • mickc

    Flubber
    The USA did not want to end ISIS. It supported ISIS via its ally Saudi Arabia.
    Strange to relate, but 40 tons of ammunition don’t get dropped in the “wrong” place by mistake.

  • Chester Draws

    What is fascinating is why the narcissistic Trump submissively sucks the cocks of fascists like the Islamist Erdogan and the Kremlin Statist Putin.

    Yeah, driving gas prices into the ground by freeing up fracking was exactly what Putin wanted.

    Meanwhile, I’m really struggling to see how Trump has done anything much to his NATO ally, Turkey. Yeah Erdogan is a scrote, but Obama didn’t end any relationship with him either. Or with worse regimes — Saudi Arabia being the most blatant.

    Trump has tended to pull back from engagements in wars that can’t be won. Letting Turkey and Russia bleed themselves dry over wars that can’t be won is a great strategy and should the subject of praise. You’d think that after Vietnam, Afghanistan and Gulf War II that the US would not want to fight such wars, but apparently many of them don’t learn fast.

    The “fascist” Trump is a lot more peaceful than his “peaceful” opponents.

  • John

    The BBC world service has been merrily interfering with and attempting to influence the outcome of elections across the globe since its inception but that must be the right sort of interference.

    Our governments spendthrift DiD gives away money we don’t have for purposes which are hard to justify. However the likelihood is that rather than influence elections they merely bolster the bloated self-esteem of Cameron, May and now Johnson and increase the overseas bank balances of various individuals every bit as putrid as Putin but with far less love of their own countries. Easy money from mug punters.

  • Jacob

    I heard that hackers and bloggers and commenters and twitters from China, Hungary, Ukraine, Iran, and even one from Nigeria and another one from Estonia also interfered in the election and referendum, not to mention your good friends from France, Germany and even Luxemburg. Why can’t people mind their own business?

  • APL

    On July 27, 2020 at 5:55 am “What is fascinating is why the narcissistic Trump submissively sucks the cocks of fascists like the Islamist Erdogan and the Kremlin Statist Putin.”

    That didn’t sound like Chester Draws, looking up thread, not really Flubber’s style either. Up thread a little more, Bingo, it’s the narcissistic fascist Gary, projecting his favorite fantasies.

  • Penseivat

    “49% of voters believe….”.
    That should really read “49% of voters asked believe…” but then, when did the MSM, especially the Grundiad, stop being selective in their comments?
    Were you asked? I certainly wasn’t, nor anyone I know will admit to being asked. Anyway, the only fact you can obtain from a poll is that someone gave an answer.
    If they want a similar poll, they should come down my pub where more than 70% believe Elvis Presley is alive and well and stacking trolleys for Asda.

  • Stonyground

    I don’t know the answer to that one. I do remember reading that the vast majority think that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Not believing it, I did a quick poll around the people that I worked with and was pretty appalled to find that most of them either had it wrong or didn’t know.

  • I suspect this was a Sir-Humphrey-Appleby-style poll. If you tell people a report has been issued on Russian interference and then ask them if there was any, very few people reply, “No, high-minded Mr Putin would never dream of stooping so low as to add even a drop of misinformation to that produced by our local talent.” Indeed I would argue that the minorities who replied ‘no’ must have been replying to the implied question – to the implicit “interfered to a degree that mattered” rather than the literal one, to which the only sane answer is surely, “Yes (but the outcome was unaffected)”.

    One thing surprises me. The poll says that far more LibDem and Labour voters than Tory believe the Russians interfered with the 2019 elections (though more Tories believe they did than they did not – and subject to “not much and not that it made any difference”, I agree). Whom do these LibDem and Labour types imagine Putin interfered on behalf of? Whose victory do they think Putin wanted? A genuinely interesting poll would be one that got party affiliation, then asked about Russian interference, then asked “Whom for?”, and then asked about Russian interference again? 🙂

  • John

    Obama said that leaving the EU would result in the UK going to the back of the queue for negotiating a trade deal.

    I don’t recall the guardian being concerned about this blatant foreign interference in the referendum unlike a large number of the electorate who didn’t take it at all well.

    Did anyone else smile at the fact that he said back of the queue rather than back of the line (as 99% of Americans would have). It suggests that someone over here had helped the teleprompter reader in chief.

  • Fred Z

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty is still around, still funded by the USA so the Americans are still interfering in foreign politics. And nobody cares, least of all me.

    https://www.rferl.org/

  • Jacob

    “And nobody cares, least of all me.”
    Well, as Antifa&BLM take control of the US you will start to care…

  • Stonyground

    Didn’t he then do an immediate about face as soon as the leave vote was carried?

  • MadRocketSci

    So what did Russia actually do (if anything) to suddenly become the western-leftist-ruling overculture’s prime boogeyman? I mean what did they *actually* do that *actually* pissed off the left? None of these people give a shit about Syria. They’ve clearly demonstrated hostility to life, liberty, and the American way of life, so it isn’t anything like that. Did Russia expel Soros’s organizations like Hungary did? Did they resist some bit of cultural or financial subversion when it was attempted?

    I wonder what actual non-imaginary Russians think about the ludicrous foaming hostility boiling out of our media? Apparently we’re not allowed to talk to them, because their most offhand comment-section shitpost can subvert our tiny impressionable minds (eyeroll).

  • What percentage of people in Britain believe that the position of the planets at the moment of one’s birth controls one’s destiny?

    @Staghounds – Roughly 50% and (not to assume anyone’s gender), but most of them have XX chromosomes.

    Our governments spendthrift DiD gives away money we don’t have for purposes which are hard to justify. However the likelihood is that rather than influence elections they merely bolster the bloated self-esteem of Cameron, May and now Johnson and increase the overseas bank balances of various individuals every bit as putrid as Putin but with far less love of their own countries. Easy money from mug punters.

    The old adage is that foreign aid is merely the transfer of wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in rich countries. Nigeria, India and China being a case in point. The current 0.7% of GDP guaranteed by the UK government is an offence in point for which Cameron is responsible, but May and BloJo (by neglect) remain culpable.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    The Remain Blob seems to assume that any Russian intervention was aimed at a ‘leave’ victory in the Brexit vote.

    But… why would Russia want to rescue the UK from the spider’s web of the EU in which it was gradually being enmeshed and suffocated, in order to pivot instead to the more militarily-significant countries of what’s been called the ‘Anglosphere’ – particularly when the EU is ultimately on the way to becoming a Russian asset anyway thanks to the insane decision by its dominant power, Germany, to give up on their nuclear power infrastructure after Fukushima (despite their geology being a lot less seismically unstable than Japan) and instead become more dependent on Russian energy supplies via the Nordstream pipelines.

    Thanks to that it won’t be too many years before Moscow says ‘jump’ and Berlin tells Brussels to ask ‘how high? – so why would Russia want to diminish its influence over an EU-constrained UK by encouraging it to take its neck out of that noose?

    Imagine a scenario like this:

    Moscow: ‘Hello, Berlin, how are things? There’s a little thing we’d like from you; it’s nothing much, just formal recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics as independent countries, and no longer as part of Ukraine.’

    Berlin: ‘We can’t do that. It would violate any number of international treaties on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. How would you have reacted if the West had recognized breakaway Chechnya’s secession from Russia back in the Nineties?’

    Moscow: ‘We understand. It’s difficult for you. Maybe we can help you in another way; by helping you meet your climate change and carbon emission targets by reducing our supply of gas to you by 80% during the months of November, December, January and February? I’m sure your older citizens won’t mind wearing heavy coats indoors and closing off all but one room of their house during the winter so that their grandchildren can have a future, would they?’

    Berlin: ‘Er, not so fast. Maybe we could look at it, take some soundings around the other 26, see how they feel about it.’

    Moscow: ‘Sure, have a think. But not too long, eh? Or we might ask for recognition for Abkhazia and Transnistria as well.’ (Puts phone down).

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Quick check-I believe that Russia deployed a nerve agent, novichok, in Salisbury in 2018. If I’m right, this is not a minor thing @MadRocketSci.

  • MadRocketSci

    I’m not saying the Russians are our friends, or that their interests are always our interests.

    I remember watching Hillary beating the war drums over Syria in a bit of horror. Russia is a country that actually exists outside of the imaginations of western courtiers. It has very dangerous weapons, and the engineering expertise to field them. If we went to war with Russia, it would be an existential conflict that could wreck our civilization. I want to be sure that if we ever do so, we do so because we don’t have a choice, we’re doing so for a serious reason, and that we are being lead by serious people. Not because of court-intrigue and political hallucination among people who imagine they’ll just be sending other people off to fight. Not by a bunch of assholes that declare anyone they don’t like to be a “Russian agent”.

    Also, observing the sheer anemic bureaucratic ruin of our defense acquisitions process, and our shallow magazine, I’m not entirely sure we’d be able to sustain that level of warfare with a peer-competitor anymore. We have to fix a lot of things before we aspire to doing more than one-sided attacks against small-arms irregulars in the Middle east.

  • MadRocketSci

    The 20xx US picking a fight with Russia reminds me of the lead-up to the Franco-Prussian war: An insular political aristocracy drunk on arrogance launching an entirely unprovoked attack on a dangerous neighbor so that they could relive the glory-days of their empire. A nonsense-move made for internal-court-intrigue non-reasons. It didn’t end well. Nothing the French did since their revolution ended well, but …

  • Paul Marks

    The government that interfered with the Independence Referendum of 2016 was the government of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. On the “Remain” side.

    That the Obama Administration failed does not alter the fact that their interference in our affairs was an outrage.

    The Obama Administration also interfered in the 2016 Presidential election in the United States itself.

    Under America law the American government is allowed to meddle in the elections of other nations – but NOT in the elections of the United States itself.

    What Barack Obama and Joseph Biden did in 2016 was a CRIME -indeed a whole series of CRIMES. “But it did not work Paul – Donald Trump was elected anyway”- that is not a legal defence.

    Former President Obama and former Vice President Biden should be arrested and put on trial.

    If they were REPUBLICANS – they would be.

  • Paul Marks

    As for Mr Putin – he supports the alliance of socialist parties that rule Syria (they do not really rule, but then neither does Assad – the Russians and Iranians rule Syria) and is fully behind Social Justice Islamic Republic of Iran it is struggle with the less Social Justice Saudi Arabia. And he supports Progressive regimes all over the world – such as Venezuela.

    Mr Putin has also imposed strict Covid 19 Lockdowns (unlike next door Belarus) and he has driven out “capitalist casinos” (they have gone to Belarus as well – in spite of t being a semi Soviet dictatorship).

    So the Guardian newspaper should LOVE Mr Putin – he pushes “Progressive” policies at home and abroad, and he hates America (just as the Guardian does).

    It now turns out that the LIES the Obama Administration pushed in 2016 came from RUSSIA.

    So there was “Russian interference” in the 2016 American Presidential election – but it was on the side of the DEMOCRATS.

    President Trump has rebuilt the United States armed forces and deregulated American oil and gas (in competition with Russia) – the exact opposite of what Mr Putin wanted.

  • bobby b

    “Former President Obama and former Vice President Biden should be arrested and put on trial.”

    Amen.

    And look at how much money Obama spent trying to defeat Netanyahu. Most scoff at that – “well, that was Israel” – while screaming about Russia. Of course Russia tried to affect elections. All countries do, and it would be silly not to. It’s cheaper and safer than war.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    “Former President Obama and former Vice President Biden should be arrested and put on trial.”

    They would be if there were such a thing as “rule of law”.

    But, for better or worse, societies across all time and across all place have only ever been governed by the rule of men (and sometimes women).

    Rule of law does not exist. It never has and never will.

  • bobby b

    “Rule of law does not exist. It never has and never will.”

    Neither does “good.”

    But it helps us to have aspirations. It’s a goal. The closer we get to it, the better.

  • Jacob

    “Nothing the French did since their revolution ended well, but …”
    Correct.
    Not sure about the things they did before the revolution.

  • Jacob

    Mr Marks:
    Calling Assad’s regime in Syria “socialist” or the Iranian regime SJW – is absurd. They care only for the ruling clique, like all regimes in the World.
    Putin befriends the regimes that need him and his support. He doesn’t have very many candidates that want to befriend him – he doesn’t have many choices.
    Putin wasn’t originally anti-West or anti_American – it was Europe and America that imposed sanctions on him over his little and insignificant adventures in the Crimea and East Ukraine. That was, in my opinion, not a wise move on the part of the West.
    Putin is a dictator and a thug – like the great majority of leaders. There were, and are, worse thugs ruling many nations (China for example).

  • Calling Assad’s regime in Syria “socialist” … is absurd. (Jacob, July 28, 2020 at 12:07 pm)

    I appreciate I am being a bit pedantic here. 🙂

    Assad’s regime is officially ba’athist and ba’athism is usually understood as meaning Arab Socialism.

    They care only for the ruling clique

    This statement does not strike me as an argument against its being socialist, as the word is used in the real world. 🙂

    As in other such cases, some western intellectuals hailed it as admirably socialist when it started, but eventually decided that it wasn’t real socialism.

  • Rule of law does not exist. It never has and never will.

    Wrong as usual, and the extent to which it prevails somewhere is a reasonably good indication of long term prosperity & stability as well.

  • Jacob

    Rule of law does not exist.
    Rule of law is an idealization.
    Judges always rule according to their gut feelings – in the best of cases. That is how they “interpret” the laws.
    It cannot be otherwise.

  • Rule of law is an idealization.

    Well it is a concept, indeed a very fundamental one, with a spectrum of how well the concept is implemented.

    Judges always rule according to their gut feelings

    No not really, there is all that pesky law stuff that often supersedes views based on what they had from breakfast.

  • Martin

    I read a recent book by Mary Graber that critiques the work of the left wing historian Howard Zinn. In the book she mentions that the Russian translation of Zinn’s People’s History of the United States was sponsored and disseminated by the US embassy. So whereas in the Cold war the Soviets spread Marxist propaganda in the US, nowadays the US government spreads Marxist propaganda in Russia. Funny in a morbid way.

  • +1 to Perry’s point (Perry de Havilland (London), July 28, 2020 at 3:52 pm et seq). Rule of law may never be perfect but there are clear (and educational) historical examples of countries with more of it and countries with less of it.

    One example is Scotland before and after its 1707 union with England. Adam Smith was well aware of the change. Sir Walter Scott describes how surprised leading Scots of the time were to discover that cases were being decided on the law, not on the balance of political forces, because “they had no idea of the high character of legal proceedings south of the border.” England in 1707 was no paradise but it made quite a contrast with Scotland – and Scotland itself made a contrast with a great many countries in the world.

    Don’t mock ‘rule of law’ just because “there is a radical imperfection in all things human” (Edmund Burke). There are other ideas for making life on earth perfect that are far less robust against that radical imperfection than the idea of the rule of law, far more worthy of disbelief and contempt.

  • Jacob

    In the attempt to avoid authoritarian, unlimited and arbitrary power in the hand of the ruler – the ruling machine was divided into 3 layers: executive, legislative and judiciary. It kinda works, as long as none of the three gets too powerful or too corrupt. A good measure of infighting between the three is required.
    The judiciary power (the judges) is not immune to abuse of power and injustice and harm any more than the other branches.

  • Lee Moore

    There are many long and difficult reforms required to bring the judiciary to heel, after decades of EU legal pollution, long waves of American purposivism crashing on our shores, and the startling metamorphosis of Lord Denning from mischievous much (and rightly) overruled rascal, to over-cautious hidebound traditionalist.

    I have nothing to offer, today, on how to float the wreck of the English judiciary off the rocks.

    But on the ancient question of quis custodiet ipsos custodes, I do have a modest proposal, along the lines of divide and conquer, as has been attempted variously with the legislative branch. And it is this.

    1. We should keep that horrible new contraption called the Supreme Court
    2. And it should continue to be the final court of appeal in legal disputes
    3. However, we should reconstitute the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords
    4. Which should be selected solely by the hereditary peers
    5. A party who has lost in the Supreme Court, or the Government, or the Opposition, should be allowed to appeal a SC decision to the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords
    6. The JC could hear or refuse to hear an appeal as it sees fit. But if it hears the appeal and disagrees with the Supreme Court, although the case itself remains as decided by the SC, the precedent for future cases is what the Judicial Committee decides

    The reason for having the JC selected by the hereditaries is that on average this will be a moderately small c conservative electorate*, balancing the fairly lefty SC. So it will deter the SC from going too moonbatty. The JC will then of course inherit from the SC the power to make up law out of its own rear end. But I would expect them to do it nervously and cautiously, since their political power is microscopic – a small divided minority in a nearly powerless legislative chamber. I would hope that the SC and the JC would mostly stare angrily at each other, and find it most convenient to play safe down the middle of the fairway.

    * I am willing to entertain other proposed selectorates, such as ME MYSELF I, but there may be other suggestions

  • bobby b

    Lee Moore, if the legislative body remains free to draft altered prospective law in reaction to disliked SC rulings, how does that differ from the core of your approach beyond your bypassing of the greater legislative body?

  • Lee Moore

    The legislature has very little parliamentary time, and it prefers to spend that time a’bloviatin’. Consequently it is a big fuss to correct the Supreme Court’s errors and impertinences. Actual legislation has to be drafted, and herded through Parliament. Whereas a higher court can just rule and set a precedent. Easy as pie. The evil I perceive is the Supreme Court making up new law, and particularly changing settled law, from their ample rear passages. The JC just saying “no we’ll leave things as they were” is pretty easy and quick work. As quick as the SC can make it up, the JC can unmake it.

    You are of course correct that if the legislature as a whole seriously dislikes what the SC under the current system, or the JC under my system, has wrought, then it can get up off the sofa and change it. No difference there between my system and the old one.

    But I would expect the benefit to be behavioural. The SC having a bigger dog over it to look at its work is less likely to reach far up its behind, knowing that it can be reversed far more easily than now. Meanwhile my restored JC will be selected by the hereditaries – wee cowring timrous beasties, who have spent over a hundred years now terrified that if they put a toenail out of line, they’re toast. They’re culturally attuned to minimalism. But if their selected judges do decide the SC needs correcting, it’s not a case of heriditary peers overruling the elected House of Commons. It’s one bench of judges overruling another. Neither bench has any democratic legitimacy.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Whereas a higher court can just rule and set a precedent. Easy as pie.”

    And what happens when your enemies take over this higher court?

    Making it hard to gather the necessary consensus in Parliament is the point.

  • Lee Moore

    And what happens when your enemies take over this higher court?

    They already have.

    Making it hard to gather the necessary consensus in Parliament is the point.

    Sure, but while it remains hard for Parliament to change the law* it is already easy for the Supreme Court to change the law. That is precisely why judicial inventions are in practice hard to reverse. The ratchet works for activist judges because their law making tools do not require so many handles to be cranked and knobs to be turned. The harder it is for Parliament to act, the easier it is for judges to usurp Parliament’s law making power. Elementary game theory, Watson.

    *As I have mentioned before – on other threads – the key (and unobtainable) reform is to ratchet the legislature’s structure in favor of certain types of law, and against other types. In particular, making it hard to pass laws that restrict liberty, and easy to pass laws that restore liberty. Some folk mistakenly believe that making repeals easy and other law hard is the way to go, but this doesn’t work as a repeal may be libery destructive and a new law liberty restoring. And a particularly good example is judge made law. If the judges invent a liberty destructive law there’s nothing to repeal. You have to “repeal” it with a fresh law. This notion of discriminating in the legislative process between laws that are hard or easy to pass, according to their effect, is hardly novel. The US Bill of Rights is based on the same notion.

  • Lee Moore (July 29, 2020 at 10:58 pm), the UK Supreme Court has existed for only a decade and was created by Blair precisely to replace law with politics of a PC kind. It has acquired recent bad karma with the government. If we cannot kill the UKSC in such circumstances, then the message to both sides will be that the PC ratchet is alive and in very rude health. Killing it in this parliamentary term should be a major goal (was rumoured to be before the virus swept other news away).

    The other half of your proposal concerns the other side of the ratchet – getting back something like what we used to have. I suspect getting back exactly what we used to have by simply reverting some old Blair-era votes as the way of ending the UKSC would be politically easier than almost any reform that would have to be argued for in itself.

    Your idea of a review body being able to treat a court ruling as not a precedent is interesting but meets the point that bobby b (July 29, 2020 at 7:38 pm) raised. Parliament today can clarify the law – and should resent judges ‘clarifying’ it to mean something other than parliament intended. (That is how separation of powers is supposed to work – that each body is jealous of its power.) The problem is political; an elected body can contain people loyal to their ideology, not their voters or the law – people who dare not openly vote for something they wish, so are pleased, not resentful, when judges make the law for them. (Other MPs may be intimidated by pressure groups.)

    It may therefore be safest to place any power to vote a court ruling as “not a precedent” with parliament under some explicit procedure which obliges MPs to be more visible, even in the act of abstaining.

    The next question is how easy one makes it to vote through such a thing.

    – It is perfectly possible today for MPs to vote a new law or a new clause to an existing law, phrased to debar the odd ruling; it just takes the time (and the allocation of parliamentary time) that all legislation takes, so there are many opportunities for judges to get away with insolence.

    – I think it is also possible even now for parliament to pass a vote of censure or of clarification (a much faster procedure); this would not be compulsive in formal law but would declare MPs’ opinion of their legislation’s meaning, towards which future judges could not pretend ignorance.

    If the problem is less one of a rogue judiciary that executive and legislature truly cannot control, and more one of a complicit judiciary helping MPs who wish things to happen but them not to be seen to vote for them, or to abstain from voting against them, then it may be the swift visibility of a non-compulsive “motion of censure, dissent and clarification to judicial ruling X’ would be more appropriate, putting even the abstainers on record.

    [And then you have to think about how a power that can reign in rogue judges could be abused by another set of rogue elitists. One day, an honest judge will decide the law correctly, to the annoyance of a mob of MPs in parliament (and/or of some mob outside who can pressure them).]

  • Jacob

    “an honest judge will decide the law correctly…” what is “correctly”?
    The law is not a sacred rule passed down straight from heaven.
    Given the nature of current legislators and their laws we might wish sometimes to have Judges interpreting the laws “incorrectly” – that is rendering them void.

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