In responding to Anita Toal’s letter, Andrew Livesey (Free Press, February 28) shows himself to be not much concerned with facts.
He asserts that the recent Supreme Court case had nothing to do with holding the government to account and was brought by a publicity-seeking business woman. Is he a mind-reader? The lady concerned has explained herself publicly with apparent sincerity. There was a justifiable case to be made, and the courts accepted that. Contrary to Mr Livesey’s statement, the decision to leave had not ‘already been made’. A small majority of the voters had expressed their wish to leave, a strong indication to parliament, but not in itself a decision.
As for the Supreme Court, it is not a new function, it merely replaces the function previously carried out by the Law Lords, a select group of members of the House of Lords. The government of the time judged that it was better to have the job done out in the open rather than have it buried in the House of Lords.
Mrs May had sought to go ahead with Brexit without the consent of Parliament. That was a threat to the constitution, and we should celebrate the fact that it was challenged. Take a small lesson from history: In 1933, Hitler took power after a general election in Germany. One of his first moves was to ensure that his government was free to act without the consent of parliament. His decrees soon brought many institutions, including the courts, under political control.
There were outcries against the courts over the Brexit-related decision, some even suggesting political control. It is striking and a matter of public record, that the newspaper that called the judges ‘Enemies of the People’ was itself a committed supporter of the Nazis throughout the 1930s.
Be careful what you wish for. We have enjoyed the protection of our constitution, including the independence of the courts, for some centuries now. In return, we need to protect the constitution.